story by Ruth Nicolaus If Jolene Rhyne loves something, she’s all in for it. And the Colorado Junior High School Rodeo Association member is all […]
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Meet the Member Joe Autry
story by Lily Weinacht
Joe Autry of Branson, Colorado, led the team roping with heeler Colby Runner all season, and the friends held on to their momentum through state finals to win the year end. The 14-year-old rookie joined the CJHSRA last year with his sister, Aspen, who is a sixth-grader, and the brother and sister qualified for Nationals together in the ribbon roping. Joe also finished second in the breakaway roping and fourth in the chute dogging, sending him to Huron, South Dakota, in four events. “Team roping is my favorite,” says Joe. “It’s a lot more fun, and you just go out there and do your job.”
The siblings are the fourth generation of their family to rodeo, and Aspen made her mark at state finals as well, winning the year-end in barrel racing and finishing second in pole bending.
Along with the CJHSRA, Joe competes in the CJRA, and in 2018, he was the NLBRA Reserve World Champion Flag Racer. He also went out to The Patriot in Fort Worth this winter for the first time. “I went down there and entered the side pots, and I entered some jackpots with my dad. I also did calf roping and breakaway roping. The dummy roping was really fun, because you can take your mind off the competition and hang out with friends and have a good time,” says Joe. “Once you win, all that hard work pays off. It’s just that feeling of happiness that all that hard work paid off in the end, but you just have to keep working hard to strive for that end goal. My mom and dad (JJ and Crystal Autry) have really pushed me to do the best that I can, and another person is my great-grandpa, Bud Autry. He was in the PRCA. There’s a lot of people who have helped me, and everybody helps everybody.”
While Joe takes a short break from rodeo to focus on basketball season in the winter, he rides and practices as often as possible throughout the year. “My gray head horse is Azol. He had West Nile when he was pretty young and my grandpa helped him along and got him healthy again. I started riding him and roping off of him, and now he’s 18. We’re borrowing a horse right now, Tucson, and I ride him in breakaway and the ribbon roping. Tom Guardamondo is letting me use him,” says Joe.
He finished eighth grade at Kim Middle School, where he and his sister, Aspen, are two of several students who rodeo. Joe enjoys his health class and is an avid athlete, playing football and basketball, and running track. His football team only lost one game this season, and his basketball team won their tournament. He also enjoys playing golf when he’s not rodeoing. “Sometimes it’s nice to sit there and relax and play a little golf. I do that with my family and we have bragging rights about who’s better. It’s probably my dad, but I come in a close second.”
Joe anticipates high school rodeoing this fall, but first he’s working hard to win the national team roping title at the NJHFR, and plans to spend his summer break going to rodeos and ropings. “In school, I want to graduate and get a good job. I want to run a fish hatchery when I get older, so school is a pretty big priority. In sports, I’m going in to high school next year knowing I’ve got to get better, and stronger and faster.”