Meet the Member Jace James
story by Lindsay Humphrey At just 11 years old, Jace James has his sights set on redemption at the upcoming AJRA finals. He finished as […]
story by Lily Weinacht
Rayme Jones of Lemesa, Texas, topped off her 2018 rookie season in the AJRA by winning the World Champion Barrel Racer title in the girls 16–19 age division. The 17-year-old, who also competes in goat tying and team roping as a header, accomplished the feat even after an ankle injury kept her out of all the fall rodeos. “I ended up winning about seven of the ten spring rodeos and came into the finals second. I knew I needed to make clean, consistent runs, and I had just come back from (High School) Nationals, so I was hoping my horse wasn’t too road weary. I ended up winning second in the average and first in the year end,” says Rayme. “I like the locations of all the rodeos, but my horse Hondo likes the smaller pens like Abilene and Sweetwater. I’ve met a lot of great people and great friends, and they keep really great calves and steers and goats.”
Before she joined the AJRA, which she heard about through her rodeo friends, Rayme started her rodeo career in the Region 2 TJHRA as a sixth-grader, and now competes in the THSRA. Her parents, Kirk and Kembra Jones, both grew up around horses, and Kirk team roped for Howard College. Rayme’s older brother, Hunter, tie-down and team ropes for Vernon College, and Rayme qualified for the NHSRA for the first time last summer in the barrel racing, her favorite event. “I love to compete in all the events, but I’ve always enjoyed barrel racing. You have to be dedicated to it and be out there every day and get a connection with your horse. When your hard work pays off, it’s a great feeling.
“Since I got started pretty late competing in rodeo, I’ve never been embarrassed to ask for help,” Rayme adds. “Bristan and Brandi Kennedy have helped me a ton in barrel racing and I’m really grateful for them and all my family—my parents and grandparents and aunts doing everything from opening chutes and feeding while we’re gone. It’s just a great family experience and I love that it brings all of us so close.”
Also part of Rayme’s family are her horses. Hondo, her barrel horse, is a 15-year-old gelding by Potter Ranch’s PC Frenchmans Hayday. “I’ve had him for about five years, and I was off of him for a whole year due to an injury, but he’s qualified me for state in junior high and high school every year I’ve owned him. My goat horse is Grande. He’s 19, but he gets the job done and he’s an amazing goat horse, and I rope off my dad’s horse Creed. He’s always protected me and I just love heading off of him.” Rayme is also training a 4-year-old, PYC Paint Your Wagon “Warden,” whom she plans to run barrels on in college. Her Jack Russell, Spur, travels with her as well.
A senior at Borden County High School, Rayme enjoys her college algebra class, and participates in basketball, cheerleading, softball, track, and cross country. “My dad is a big factor in all that. I go to school 30 miles away from my house, so right after whatever practice is over, I head straight home and he has my horses saddled and I get one to two hours of practice. My mom helps me a lot with goat tying—I sometimes have to tie in the dark and she’s out there timing me.”
Rayme is interested in studying physical therapy at Tarleton State University and college rodeoing, but hopes for the opportunity win another saddle in the AJRA and even the NHSRA beforehand. She’s also running at The American Semi-Finals in February after qualifying through her AJRA title. “I’m very thankful to Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior for blessing me with an opportunity like this (rodeo), and I wouldn’t be able to do anything without Him.” She also extends her thanks to her sponsors: Lyssy and Eckel Feed, T Money Feed and Supply, Equine Omega Gold, Dr. Marty Tanner at Tanner Equine, and Dr. Michelle Bessire at Brock Vet Clinic.
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