Meet the Member Joe Stoddard
story by Lillian Landreth Many a high school rodeo athlete has been shaped by Joe Stoddard’s contributions to the sport, from his blood relations to […]
story by Lily Weinacht
Jon Peterson from Belle Fourche, South Dakota, placed second in the tie-down roping at state finals last summer, sending him to the NHSFR for the first time. Nationals in Gillette, Wyoming, was the final destination out of four major rodeos for the 18 year old, who started his summer run at the Best of the Best in Gallup, New Mexico, followed by the NLBFR in Guthrie, Oklahoma. He and his team roping partner, Sam Huffman, finished eighth in the world at the NLBFR, and Jon went on to compete at the IFYR in Shawnee, Oklahoma, before turning his truck northwest for the NHSFR. “We went home after Best of the Best and swapped horses before going to Oklahoma, and then we went home for a day to switch out horses again before Nationals since we live close to Gillette,” Jon explains. “My drive to rodeo is making my family proud, and showing everyone that you don’t have to start rodeoing when you are little to be successful in it.”
Jon picked up a rope as a seventh grader, learning the basics alongside his neighbors. “My family has a ranch and horses have always been a big part of what we do, but we had never really rodeoed until I started,” he explains. “My parents do a lot for me and are supportive, and my dad has helped me the most with my confidence.” Jon also attributes several ropers with helping him take his competition to the next level, including Guy Howell, Bobby Harris, and Shorty Engesser.
While he additionally competes in cutting in the SDHSRA, Jon names roping, specifically team roping, as his favorite. “I’ve done better in team roping, and I follow it more than tie-down,” he says. He’s roped with Jace Engesser the past two years in high school, while Jon also competes in the NRCA, SDRA, NLBRA, Wrangler Team Roping Championships, and All Amateur National Team Ropings.
When he’s not entering a roping, Jon helps his parents, Scott and Susan Peterson, run cattle near their home outside of Belle Fourche, as well as their buffalo ranch in Buffalo, South Dakota. “My sister, Jayme, and I own beef cows, which we’re raising to help pay for college, and we help with working and checking cows and buffalo.” Jon explains that the Petersons bring the buffalo in just once a year to wean calves and give shots, moving them with trucks and four wheelers rather than on horseback. “The calves are sold to the meat company, and we’ve started selling breeding bulls and replacement heifers as well.”
Jon and Jayme, who started competing in the SDHSRA as a freshman this fall, practice together often. “My neighbor and I own the land between our families’ houses, so we put an arena there to practice,” says Jon. “We go to indoor barns often during the winter, and rodeos or ropings on the weekends we don’t have basketball.” Jon and Jayme play basketball during the winter, Jon for his high school’s basketball team, the Belle Fourche Broncs. A senior, he particularly enjoys his government class, where they’ve been studying the Constitution. Jon uses any extra time to go hunting with his dad, or rope. His newest calf horse is Voodoo, a gelding he got from three-time WNFR qualifier Bill Parker, who passed away last summer. Jon rode his buckskin, TC, for most of the bigger rodeos this summer while his other head horse recovered from an injury.
“My goal in rodeo this year is to make the NHSFR in two events,” Jon finishes, “and then I plan on going to college and hopefully making it to the CNFR.”
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