Meet the Member: Denim Wilson
Story by Riata Cummings Denim Wilson is the 13-year-old daughter of Dave and Tracina Wilson of Tabiona, Utah. She has a younger brother, Ryker, and […]
stories by Magie Downare-Nevius
A first year competitor with the UJHSRA, Korbon Johnson expands his list of events from the bull riding, to chute doggin and bareback riding. While the eighth grader is working on a future in the team roping competition as a high school freshman, his favorite event stems back to the roughstock end of the arena. “I really like that the kids get experience at a young age, while following their idols. The early start allows them to undergo some of the same things, as those they admire, once did,” mom, Lynsi Stone, said.
Onset in the bull riding began only last year through the initial introduction from his step dad (Blue Stone). In the decades since Don Gay won back to back world bull riding titles in 1980 and 1981, Blue was the next PRCA World Champion Bull Rider from 2001 and 2002. “Korbon wanted to try and Blue has been there to help him every step of the way. Korbon liked it from the get go and has kept going with it,” Lynsi said.
In addition to his own participation, Korbon shares the rodeo rig with his stepbrother (Rowdy), who is a team roper within the UHSRA. The pair are joined by two other brothers and a sister.
While the 13-year-old cowboy is getting to know the people and environment of the UJHSRA, he has set his goals for qualifying for state and Nationals this year. “I feel that Korbon is getting great experience and is working hard to better himself in every event,” Lynsi said.
In his first year with the UJHSRA, Bridger Crittenden takes to the arena focusing solely on bull riding. “I love it. It is a well put together association and gives me the opportunity to do
what I love, which is riding bulls,” Bridger said. While the Francis, Utah, resident is aiming the 2015 season at qualifying for the state finals and, eventually, Nationals, he has additional plans of expanding his list of events to team roping next year. “I’m thinking about partnering with my buddy, Dillon Butterfield, next year and heeling,” he said.
Even though the 14-year-old cowboy rides under rookie status, he is not a newcomer to his event, having started about three years ago under high caliber influences of two-time PRCA World Champion, Blue Stone and Bridger’s cousin, NFR qualifier, Ty Wallace. “I want to thank Blue for getting me into it and helping me out, and a thank you to Ty for motivating me,” Bridger said. In addition, Bridger was introduced to the sport through his uncle and stock contractor (Bill Crittenden), his grandpa (Dan Skinner, who team roped all of his life) and his uncle (Scott, who partnered with his dad and team roped for many years). “Bridger comes from an extensive rodeo background on both sides of the family. He has had many inspirations to make rodeo his way of life,” his mom said. Progressing eight-seconds at a time, Bridger has rode in the Evanston Rodeo Series, practice pens and various open rodeos. “I’ve grown up on a farm and I just wanted to try it all out,“ Bridger said. While his parents (Shane and Melanie) did not compete themselves, Bridger says that it is their backing that enables him to continue. “My parents are so supportive. They drive me everywhere and I couldn’t thank them enough for their support,” Bridger said.
The South Summit Middle School eighth grader extends his extracurricular activities beyond the arena and hit’s the field as a middle linebacker and tight end for his football team. “It is a lot of fun and it keeps me in-shape for rodeo. I’d like it if our team could make state,” Bridger said.
Holding the surname Frost, 13-year-old Jate is following the family heritage of turning in strong competition, in championship style. A third year UJHSRA member, Jate is currently leading the boys all-around with sturdy standing positions in the bull riding, bareback riding, breakaway roping, goat tying, chute dogging and saddle bronc riding. “Jate has made a huge catch up this year and his ultimate goals are to qualify for Nationals and win the state all-around title,” his dad said.
With family ties of his dad (Shane, a former PRCA bull rider), older brothers (Joe, 22, and Josh,19, PRCA bull riders) and legendary cousin (Lane), Jate’s hard work is creating an identity of its own. “Jate was born into a rodeo family. When my boys decided that they wanted to compete, I built an arena at the house and, although, our practice schedule happens when we can, he knows that there is no goofing around and puts his mind to business,” Shane said. Jate inherited the all-around gene from Shane, who competed in all of the events offered (except saddle bronc riding) through college. Both of his older brothers are former UHSRA all-around cowboys as well.
Hopping in the rig with him, his younger sister (Jacelyn, 10) is an up and coming all-around cowgirl working within the Fifth and under division. “That is what makes UHSRA such a family affair. It is deeply grounded with family orientation, having generations competing against each other, and then returning, to watch their kids compete,” Shane said. “Utah has some of the best competitors around and it [UJHSRA] is a great stepping stone to the next level.” While his mom (Lisa) did not grow up around rodeo, she has adapted to its surroundings. “She was a city girl and is now the kids’ greatest cheerleader,” Shane said.
Outside of the arena, Jate extends his extracurricular activities to wrestling. “It’s what we do during the winter,” Shane said. The eighth grader has recently returned home with his second Utah State Junior High School champion wrestling title in the 1, 2 and 3A divisions.
Gaining his work ethic by helping Shane on the family ranch in Randlett, Jate and his siblings help every step of the way in running 375 head of cattle, and all that goes with it.
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