Meet the Member AJae Griffin
story by Michele Toberer Anna Jae Griffin goes by AJae, and the Mississippi native has been a cowgirl for a lifetime, and a Southeastern Professional […]
story by Michele Toberer
“I give all the glory for my accomplishments to my Lord and savior, Jesus Christ. I have no doubt that he’s placed people in my life the past two years that have changed my life for the better,” says Tuscaloosa, Alabama cowboy, Jordan Brown. In these two years, Jordan has been a member of the Southeastern Professional Rodeo Association and is experiencing the fulfillment of his lifelong dream of becoming a bareback rider, thanks to the help of some other SPRA cowboys.
The 23-year-old graduated from Alexandria High School in 2014 and spent his high school years as a bull rider. He was the 2012 North Alabama Youth Rodeo Association Champion Bull Rider, and his parents, Jeana Hughes, and Chris Brown were supportive of the cowboy following in his grandfather, Ronnie Epperson’s, footsteps. “My mom’s dad rode bareback horses and worked as a pickup man and always had stories to tell about his rodeo days. As a kid, you can only imagine what it was like, but I knew I wanted to live that life.” Jordan also had second cousins that were bull riders, and although they were past their rodeo days, they and Jordan’s grandpa were happy to help the young cowboy get started in a rodeo career. “I rode bulls until I was 18, then I had a car accident and had to stay off of bulls for almost two years while I recovered.”
During the time he was getting his physical health back, Jordan obtained his EMT certificate and license and worked on an ambulance for three years. In 2017, once he felt physically ready to get back to rodeo, his life took a turn towards the future he now looks forward to. “I was at an SPRA rodeo in Tuscaloosa, and although I was there to ride bulls, I’d always been intrigued with bareback riding. I saw Trey Moore getting ready to ride, and started a conversation with him, and he told me about an SPRA rough stock clinic that was coming up. I got on my first bareback horse at that clinic and knew that’s what I wanted to do. I had my bull rope sold within a week and have been bareback riding ever since. I’m so thankful to Trey, Blake Arp, and Lance Etheridge, who were helping at the clinic. I believe it was a God thing that I was there, and Trey and I have been as close as brothers since that day. He’s helped me in more ways than I can tell you.”
Jordan finished his first season as a bareback rider as the 2018 SPRA Champion Rookie Bareback Rider. “I love living the rodeo life and enjoy being at the rodeos around the other cowboys and being a part of something.” This season has had a rocky start for Jordan, “I couldn’t really find my groove at the beginning of the year, and with bareback riding you have to be mentally tough, it was taking a toll on me mentally and physically. By spring I started riding better and my confidence started building; and now I ‘ve had a pretty good summer.” To help stay mentally strong, Jordan enjoys reading motivational and positive-thinking books. “I encourage everyone to pick up some sort of positive thinking book at least once, it opens your eyes to ways of thinking about life.”
Jordan is taking online college classes at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, and is busy as a leather smith, making custom belts and wallets. “I’m blessed with so many leather orders I can barely keep up; that’s a good thing, but it can be hard juggling rodeo and school.” Jordan is grateful for the opportunity to college rodeo next year and will be attending SWOSU on a rodeo scholarship while studying in the wildland firefighting program. “I’m only eligible for one more year of college rodeo, and this is something I’ve dreamed about and honestly never thought would come my way. I’m going to try to take in this rodeo experience as much as possible.”
Jordan is thankful to his mom, and all that have been supporters of his rodeo endeavors over the years.
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