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Meet the Member Rowdy Jones
story by Lindsay King
“Rodeo is one of the most humbling sports there is; you can be on top of the world one day and be falling off your horse the next. It always keeps you humble,” said Rowdy Jones from Tupelo, Oklahoma. In 2016 Rowdy won the number 11 USTRC shootout and pocketed $50,000. The very next day he couldn’t catch a steer if his life depended on it. “I just kept missing the ones that counted that next day. When that happens, I go back to my buddies and they start making fun of me for missing and we all start laughing. They help me get over it.” The 17-year-old makes his run for the points in the heading, but also serves as a heeler whenever someone needs him to. “My dad (Brock) always roped before I was born, so I just grew up roping.”
The son of a talented roper gave Rowdy extra incentive to perfect his head loop. “I have always wanted to out rope him, so it gave me a bit more drive to do better. I can definitely out head him, but heeling is still questionable.” Rowdy has been team roping competitively since he was six. “I had a buddy named Jesson James who went to a bunch of rodeos. We started roping together and that’s how I got started in rodeo.” In junior high Rowdy picked up breakaway roping and made his first trip to nationals in it. “I was always pretty good at the event and it treated me well, so I figured I would just keep at it while I could.”
This past July Rowdy qualified for his first NHSFR in the team roping. Rowdy and his partner, Braydon Johnson, won a check in three rounds and took second in the average. Rowdy said “it went pretty dang well” about state finals. He took home the state title and fully intends to defend it in his senior year of high school rodeo. “Nationals didn’t go as planned, I missed the first steer and Braydon roped a leg on the second one.” Despite the setback, the duo took second in the that round. “The rodeo didn’t go so well, but the jackpots were alright for us.” Proving he isn’t just lucky, Rowdy split $28,000 as a heeler in the number 11 All-Star shootout in August. The buckles are nice and the checks are even better, but Rowdy gets his satisfaction from a different facet of rodeo. “When that little kid walking around swinging his rope tells you that he wants to be just like you when he grows up, that’s my proudest moment in rodeo.”
Heading into his third year of homeschooling through Epic Charter Schools, Rowdy likes his freedom when it comes to scheduling his day. “The biggest reason I wanted to homeschool was so I could stay home so I could practice and ride my horses more. I like that I can still haul to a roping whenever I want to.” Rowdy’s mom, Holli, teaches at Tupelo Public Schools where 13-year-old Raylee attends. His sister is a fierce softball player.
Rowdy has plans to attend Pontotoc Technology Center in Ada, Oklahoma, so he can become a licensed electrician. “I’d like to be able to work for myself and set my own hours so I can go practice and rope all the time. I find electrical systems interesting and it would be a good trade to be involved in.” Through the winter months Rowdy can be found hog hunting every night of the week, while during the summer months the same is true for roping. “We keep it pretty simple around here.” Thankful for his skills and the opportunities he’s been given, Rowdy wouldn’t be where he is without his parents’ or his grandparents’ support. “Whenever I come back from roping, my great grandpa Earl asks me how I did. Sometimes he gets onto me when I miss, but we always get it straightened out.”