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Meet the Member: Joe Baker
story courtesy of PAFRA
Joe Baker joined the Missouri Army National Guard in November 2005 and is currently serving today. Joe has been deployed twice, the first which was in 2008 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as a 31B and again in 2010 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in the horn of Africa as a 11b stationed in Camp Lemonier Djibouti. He is also a 2013 graduate of Drury University Law Enforcement Academy, and currently serves as a reserve police officer for the city of Fordland Missouri.
While stationed in Arizona in 2006 Joe started to follow his childhood dream of bull riding. Joe talked to as many people as he could find and went to as many practice pens as possilble, finding out fast that bull riding wasn’t as easy as it looked. But with hard work and a lot of buck-offs and bruises he finally covered his first bull for a score of 68 points. Soon after Joe got married and took a short break that turned into eight years.
In October 2013 he broke his right femur in a car accident and was told he would never walk the same again. But through perseverance and hard work Joe was back walking unassisted and limp free in just three months. In January of 2015 Joe went through a rough divorce and sank into a deep depression. It took a good friend sitting him down and helping him through it and showed Joe that all hope was not lost. Joe stood up and decided it was time to end the long break and start riding again. It has not been easy and he admits to being bucked off more then he can count, but continues to get on and give it his all. He says about riding bulls, “I couldn’t be happier.”
“God gave us all the ability to be great at whatever we choose to do, but its up to us to dig down deep inside of ourselves and find it. If you focus on the positives in life and not the negatives and don’t give up there is nothing you can’t accomplish,” Joe says.