Meet the Member Andee Jo Haden
story by Lindsay King If Andee Jo Haden has anything to be proud of, it’s the barrel horse she’s made out of her gelding Superman. […]
story by Lindsay King
Growing up Drew Johnson was attached to his dad’s hip. If Benny went to feed horses, so did Drew. Following in his dad’s bronc riding footsteps was more than just a sport for this Alpena, Arkansas, cowboy. “My dad passed away when I was young and I wanted to do something in memory of him. He used to ride bareback horses, so I decided to get into ranch bronc riding,” Drew said of a decision made when he was only 13. “This past year I decided to also ride saddle bronc horses and it has really started to click for me.” It was May of 2012 when Drew really started riding competitively. Since then he’s mounted roughly 600 ranch broncs and at least 200 saddle broncs in his short roughstock career.
The first bronc Drew bucked out at a rodeo was in Kingston, Arkansas. “The pickup man ran me over because I fell off right when he was coming to get me. I stood and was smiling; he said he knew right then that I would stick with it.” And stick with it he has, through thick and thin. A bronc riding school last November proved pivotal in taking Drew’s career to the next level. “I was getting bucked off things I should’ve have; two seconds in I would be hitting the dirt. It’s a phenomenal school put on by Darin Lively.” In El Paso, Arkansas, Drew found himself beating the horse to the ground on each jump. It was during this ride that Drew knew he was finally headed in the right direction with this sport.
It was in the early summer months of 2018 when Drew found himself at the Rock Bottom Chuckwagon Races. “I covered my first horse on Saturday and was sitting first after scoring a 71. I had a pretty good horse on the second day.” After a great ride, Drew’s horse didn’t appreciate the pickup men riding next to them. “My horse kind of stopped and turned, he slingshot me under him and he stepped on my leg.” After sustaining a broken leg, Drew didn’t walk out of the arena on his own but he still managed to win the pasture bronc riding that day. The day after Drew was cleared to ride again he was at a rodeo again. He took second at that September rodeo.
Last January Drew found himself at a rodeo crossroads. “I was getting to the point where I was covering most of the horses I was getting on. A friend told me that the ACRA was having ranch bronc riding. I figured it was the perfect opportunity for me to compete in both events.” Heading into the fall Drew was leading the pack in the ranch bronc riding. “I’m in a comfortable seat going into finals, but if I get bucked off it’s pretty easy for the second-place guy to move up. I just have to keep hustling like the next guy is only a penny away from me.”
Everything Drew does is to fulfill his aspirations for rodeo. Through the winter months he works on the pipeline and welds. “I try to rodeo full time, so I work a lot through the winter so I can save up for the summer months.” The friends Drew has made in his seven years of rodeo also help keep him occupied when there isn’t a rodeo to get to or something to weld. “Rodeo to me is about making memories with friends and creating a family. It’s not about going out there and competing, it’s about everything else. It makes you appreciate everything you work for. It has made me the person I am today.”
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