courtesy of SWTJC Rodeo Alumni As Southwest Texas Junior College in Uvalde, Texas celebrates their 60th Anniversary as a National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) team, […]
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Meet the Member Roping, Riding & Real Estate with JJ Hampton
story by Christi Braudrick, Southeastern Oklahoma State University rodeo coach
If you want to spend a day hanging out with JJ Hampton, a 48 year old- 17 time world champion roper get ready for it to be a long day.
JJ is a mom to Cason her 10 year old son, a wife to Ricky Prince and owns her own business, a real estate company- JJ Hampton Realty in Stephenville, Texas.
A typical day starts at 5 am where she greets the morning with her coffee while reading her daily devotionals. After feeding her horses and getting ready for work, she typically gets to work by 8 am spending all day working in her real estate business, showing, listing or working on real estate property. The days end sometimes comes around 5 pm, but often later. JJ enjoys the afternoons into the nights roping and practicing with her son Cason in the practice arena often arriving back to her house by 10 or 11 pm at night only to start her day over again much the same way.
JJ grew up competing in junior rodeos in barrel racing, goat tying and breakaway roping. JJ dropped barrel racing by the time she was in the 5th or 6th grades and concentrated on goat tying and breakaway roping throughout her college years. JJ competed in high school rodeo and would often win at the high school rodeos but reflecting back feels she was not as consistent catching and winning as compared to today. JJ soon found herself enrolled at Howard Junior College in Big Spring, Texas. After one semester with her grandfather getting sick, JJ felt the need to return home to Stephenville, Texas and was soon enrolled in Tarleton State University.
JJ’s rodeo coach in college was Randy Majors and she was blessed to be on a team with Schelli Creacy, Randy was a member of the 1968 NIRA Men’s Champion Team. JJ qualified for the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) in 1991 and has fond memories of Shelly Creasy as a strong teammate that year. JJ still wears a buckle she won during her collegiate rodeo years when her grandfather was alive that is extra special to her.
Some of her fondest memories in college is having that feeling of everyone pulling for each other and rooting each other on for the team. “Making great lifetime friends and meeting all the people I know is my greatest treasure of college rodeo,” stated JJ.
While attending Tarleton JJ had aspirations of eventually going to Law School. She graduated Tarleton with honors in criminal justice. Her first attempt at taking the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) was unsuccessful. So after graduation, JJ decided to hit the road competing in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) rodeos. Her events included: breakaway roping, team roping, and tie down roping.
JJ feels that “God Had A Plan” Consequently, if she would have passed the first LSAT try she would have been in law school and all her 17X world championships, years of fond memories, and friends made in the WPRA would have never happened.
JJ is a proud alumnus and sponsor of Tarleton State University. The Tarleton Rodeo Team helps JJ to put on a memorial roping in her dad’s memory called the Johnny Wayne Hampton Memorial Roping. This year the roping will take place on September 15, 2019 and will add $20,000 in prize money. Proceeds from the roping rewards scholarships to TSU students.
Reflecting about breakaway roping over the decades JJ feels the difference between 20 years ago as compared to today is, “We used to be happy to get 9 to 10 entries in the breakaway roping as opposed to today where there will be an excess of 100 entries at an event or rodeo.”
The opportunities were very limited and now high school age ropers can compete not only in high school rodeo competition but in a lot of amateur rodeos and ropings that can prepare one for the big stages.
She explained, “I feel women’s breakaway roping has provided businesses a revenue stream for their products and in return they are now putting big money back into the event.”
“I’m not your mainstream cowgirl. Some of my biggest rodeo idols growing up were Roy and Bill Duvall and Betty Gayle Cooper,” explained the former collegiate cowgirl.
“This last year has been a year where I have enjoyed many great opportunities such as qualifying to the The American, the first World Champions Rodeo Alliance (WCRA) in Chicago, my biggest win the breakaway roping was in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where I won $25,000, and the Days of 47 Rodeo.”
“I can’t thank my family enough for being my backbone all these years where I could compete and do what I do. I would like to thank my mom and dad, Johnny and Barbara Hampton, my grandparents Johnny and Helen Hampton and my brother Row Hampton and sister Angie Hampton. Row and Angie practiced with me every day and we pushed each other to get better each practice growing up.”
JJ gives this advise, “To any young girl out there wanting to grow up and be a breakaway roper I encourage you not to listen to the NaySayers! Do not let anybody ever tell you that you can’t do anything. Never give up and practice and work for it and you will reach your goals!”