Published in Arkansas Cowboys Association (ACA) Hannah Church has a wonderful life. She has a job she loves, she gets to rodeo, and she even bought […]
Southern Rodeo Association (SRA) saddle bronc rider, Justin Pendry, may be a man of few words, but he lets his actions do the talking. After closing out with a first place 77-point ride in the first-round and grabbing second in the average at the SFR-40 to finish sixth in the year-end standings, he has already come out guns-a-blazin’ to rank in the top three in the 2014 standings. “My goal is to win the year-end,” he declared.
While riding in his fifth year, Justin’s roots reach far beyond his own competition within the organization as his dad (Kelly) is an alumni SRA member, where he competed in the bareback riding and dabbled in the steer wrestling for approximately 15 years. “It’s a good association that carries on the cowboy tradition from generation to generation. I know everyone, because of my dad,” he said. Although, his mom (Cheyrl Michalec) has never competed and is not fond of him riding rough stock, Justin says that she wants him to do the best he can.
Justin and his younger brother (Dillon) have followed in their dad’s footsteps through their own competitiveness.
While Dillon climbs on a different style of buckin’ horses in the bareback riding and finished the 2013 season ranked in the top ten of the SRA standings, Justin got his start in the bull riding at about 18 years old and rode for approximately seven years. “The injuries caught up with me, and because I always rode horses and colts, it made the most sense to go to an event that was more natural to me,” he said of the switch. But the 29-year old does not cling to just one event as he also plays in the tie down and bareback riding. His associations also include the Professional Armed Forces Rodeo Association, where he competed for about three years while serving as a E4 Corporal in the United States Army. Last year, he expanded his recent competition to the International Professional Rodeo Association. “I can’t explain it. It’s just something that I do that I love,” he said of why he likes to rodeo.
The father of two has already begun to pass along the family tradition to his six-year old daughter (Alaina) and his two-year old son (Dayton). While Alaina likes to ride horses and enjoys her daddy’s sport, Dayton has started riding in the mutton bustin. “It’s a small step, but it’s how everyone gets their start,” said Justin of his youngsters.
When he is not rodeoing, the Smith Mountain Lake, Va., resident works as a cowboy jack-of-all-trades – shoeing horses, helping his dad and picking up day work when he can. But his busy schedule is worked around his own education as he has recently finished his first semester at Virginia Western Community College in Roanoke, Va., where he is working toward a major in Early Childhood Education. “I just want to make a living and survive,” he said.
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