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Meet the Member JW Ery
story by Lindsay Whelchel
Rodeo started it all for JW Ery. His parents – Mike a bareback rider and then steer wrestler, and Linda a barrel racer, met rodeoing.
JW got his start in the sport in junior rodeo associations and went to the Junior High National Finals in his 7th and 8th grade years. As a steer wrestler, he then went on to break records in high school rodeo as the first four-time state champion in his home of Tennessee. After high school he joined the college rodeo team at Levelland, Texas and made it to the College National Finals.
Now, JW, who turns 23 this December, is in his rookie year in the International Professional Rodeo Association and is well on his way to the International Finals Rodeo with a strong shot at a world championship.
“It’s living the dream basically. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do since I was a little kid,” JW says and adds, “thanks to my parents for giving me such a great start. They helped me out so much to get me where I am, and they’re still helping me out today.”
That rodeo family bond helped JW get his start in his IPRA rookie year too as he traveled with his parents a lot of the time, being able to count on his dad as being a great hazer. And though he’s now traveling more with fellow contestants, JW always knows he can call his dad anytime he needs a strong partner in the arena. All of this is definitely paying off as JW currently sits no. 2 in the IPRA world standings with less than $500 between him and the leader at the time of this writing.
In addition to family support, JW would like to thank his sponsors, Owens Steel Fabrication and Middle Tennessee Horse Spa.
Being involved in rodeo has taught JW valuable lessons.
“One of the main things it’s helped me with is my mental game, not just rodeo, but life in general. Being outside of rodeo you’ve got to keep a level head and keep your mind in the right place, because it doesn’t matter if you’re rodeoing, or if you’re riding bicycles or just out in life, if you let your mind beat you up you’re never going to be anything anyway.”
Rodeo has taught JW about preparation as well, as he’s faced each obstacle on his way to success and even more obstacles.
“What rodeo really taught me is that whenever you have a hurdle in front of you, don’t just focus on what’s in front of you, focus on what’s in the future.”
And that future is looking bright as the focus shifts to the IFR in January.