Meet the Member Jenna Pruitt
story by Hope Raley 2022 Colorado Pro Rodeo Association Year End Champion Barrel Racer Jenna Pruitt took a 5-year hiatus from running barrels, and if […]
story by Kyle Eustice
“I’m living the dream!” says Jonny Perez, the 2016 CPRA Bull Riding Champion. The 23-year-old, lately of Denver, rode 90% of the CPRA season with a cast on his free arm after injuring it in February, and if he had any misgivings about riding with a cast, he quickly overcame them. “With a cast on, I couldn’t do my other job shoeing horses, so my drive was earning an income,” says Jonny, who’s also won checks riding several bareback horses. “I just blocked it all out of my head and went on with my business.” Though he’s competed with the CPRA since 2015, this was Jonny’s first trip to the CPRA finals, and he also won the year-end in the bull riding during the Wyoming Rodeo Association finals in August. “I was definitely feeling confident – I knew I was jumping up in the CPRA standings. Coming back from a three week break to have surgery on my free arm, my goal was to ride everything, and I definitely accomplished that.”
No stranger to the adrenaline inducing side of life, Jonny was racing dirt bikes in his hometown of Madera, California, when a friend he competed with took him to a practice pen to get on a few bulls. Jonny, 18 at the time, enlisted in the U.S. Army soon after. “You can’t rodeo as hard with the Army – you have to be there when they need you – so I was really looking forward to that when I got out. Once I started getting more confident in my riding, I found that all I wanted to do was travel and ride bulls, so my drive is doing something I never thought I’d get to do!”
Though he doesn’t come from a rodeo family, Jonny has their wholehearted support, and looks up to many people in the rodeo world. “A lot of people have helped me out and tuned me up, and Cody Tesch, the CPRA bull riding director, is my mentor. He’s given me the attitude I needed to add to my ability,” Jonny explains. “I get full support from my mom, Ana Perez, in rodeo, and all my family is back in California, but if I’m competing on the West Coast, they make it a priority to watch me. My little brother, Nate Perez, is 16, and he’s fighting bulls incredibly well. It’s always great to have him in the arena when I’m riding.”
Jonny has made his home in Colorado the last four years, but he’s moving to Texas in the next month to be closer to PBR and CBR events. “I’ve been competing in the PBR for two years, and moving to Texas centralizes me to those circuits. I’m a horse shoer by trade, but I’m trying not to do much of that anymore. If I’m not riding bulls, I’m definitely thinking about it and how to better myself. I go to the gym and ride my bike, but I also like fishing and motor sports. I have a buddy I’ve rodeoed with, and we’ve always been motorheads, so we’ve been working on making my rodeo car a race car.
“I’m going to buy my CPRA card again and compete with them when I’m passing through,” he finishes. “The PBR World Finals is definitely where I want to be next year, and I’d like to thank everybody that’s helped me along the way. I’ve been up and down the last few years with bull riding, but I think we’ve got it together!”
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