Story by Riata Cummings Grayce Baxter is a rodeo athlete and senior at Lehi High School. She enjoys “all things medical” and is currently taking […]
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Meet the Members: Bull Riders
By Ruth Nicolaus
Bull riding took a hold of JorDee Nielsen and never let go.
The 17-year-old cowboy, a member of the Utah High School Rodeo Association, began riding bulls when he was 13, after his friends, who all rodeoed, encouraged him to try it. His mom didn’t mind; she just didn’t want him to get hurt, and she didn’t want him to ride bronc horses.
A senior at Uintah High School in Vernal, JorDee loves weekends rather than school, but science classes are bearable. He used to play football and baseball and wrestle, but he quit those sports to rodeo.
He has suffered a few injuries due to his bull riding. He tore his ACL his freshman year, and the same year, he broke all the ribs on his right side after getting hung up on a bull and tossed into the air.
For fun, he hunts and loves to rope. He ropes about three nights a week, and also rides colts.
After high school, he will college rodeo, possibly in Oklahoma or Texas, or even Kansas. He may get his degree as an electrician. And he plans on getting his pro rodeo card this month when he turns 18.
JorDee has five sisters (Brittanee, ManDee, Shelbie, Natalee, and Kirbee), a brother (BrayDee), and sixteen nieces and nephews.
He qualified for state finals his sophomore and junior years. He is the son of Kim and Alayna Nielsen.
Keaton Pentz is a hard worker.
The 17-year-old bull rider, a member of the Utah High School Rodeo Association, spent the summer framing houses, and during the school year, trains and exercises horses.
And his earnings? They go to pay entry fees so he can get on bulls.
Keaton, who lives in Ogden, Utah, has been riding since he was three. He started with sheep, graduated to calves, then steers, and now bulls. He is in his first year of high school competition.
He is a senior at Fremont High School in Ogden, where the best part of the day is when school gets out. He enjoys studying American history, especially the settlement of the West and its outlaws. His favorite outlaw to study is Johnny Ringo. His least favorite subject is English.
After high school, he wants to rodeo professionally in both the PRCA and the PBR. Keaton attended Gary Leffew’s bull riding school last March, where he said he learned a lot. In addition to high school rodeo, Keaton competes in open bull ridings and plans on beginning Rocky Mountain Pro Rodeo Association rodeos as well.
He has an older brother, Teylor, who is twenty. He is the son of Cameron and Jody Pentz.
Justin LaRue rides bulls in the Utah High School Rodeo Association.
The 17-year-old cowboy, who lives in Warren, Utah, got his start when his older brother began riding. At the age of three, Justin was mutton busting, which progressed to calves, then steers, mini bulls, junior bulls, and now the real thing.
Justin is a senior at Fremont High School in Plain City, where his favorite class is welding. He’s very involved in his school’s FFA chapter, as vice-president and with the chapter’s many service projects, including Adopt A Highway, where students help keep the roadways clean, and Cash for Kids, where FFA members take kids from disadvantaged homes at Christmas time to shop for food, clothing and presents. He’s also on his chapter’s agricultural mechanics team, and his school’s high honor roll.
In addition to high school rodeo, Justin competes in the Rocky Mountain Pro Rodeo Association, and the best ride he’s ever made was on a bull named Diamond’s Edge at an RMPRA rodeo last year. He scored 81 points and won the rodeo.
After high school graduation, he will serve on a two year mission trip for his church, and then possibly attend a trade school. He’d like to continue his bull riding career.
Justin has qualified for state finals in the bull riding his sophomore and junior years and in the trap shooting and light rifle competition his freshman, sophomore and junior years.
He has two brothers, two sisters, and two beautiful nieces.
He is the son of Ross and Janae LaRue.