Doug Clark will receive the coveted Ben Johnson Award at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum’s annual Rodeo Historical Society’s Hall of Fame Gala […]
On the Trail with Zack Jongbloed
Written by: Siri Stevens< Back to Articles
Zack Jongbloed started riding when he was in diapers. His mom, Karen Jongbloed, came from a rodeo family and rodeoed in high school and college. Zack is fortunate to have two uncles, Jeff Corbello and Joey Roberts, that are multiple NRF steer wrestling qualifiers to serve as his coaches. His dad, Mike, didn’t come from a rodeo family, but started roping in high school. “That’s what my parents and my family did, so that’s what I grew up around,” said the 16-year-old quarterback from Iowa, Louis. He also played baseball when he was younger, but finds that football and rodeo keep him plenty busy. He credits his family as being his biggest supporters. “They are always out there tending to my animals while I’m at football practice. My family is always doing something to make it easier for me. I find myself running short of time with all the events that I work, maintaining my school work, and football practice.”
Zack is partial to rodeo, even over football. “I like that its family oriented – we do everything together as a family and I like the people that we are around.” Zack is a sophomore at Iowa High School, a school of more than 600 students, where he maintains a 4.0 GPA. He heads to school at 7:15, and after school he goes to football practice, where he is the varsity quarterback, until around 6. “Football helps me with rodeo in many different ways – it keeps me in shape and strong,” he said. After football is over, Zack heads to the arena to practice his events. He will usually concentrate on one event each evening. He competes in steer wrestling, tie down roping, team roping, cutting, and the new high school event, reined cow horse. “I’m still learning the reined cow horse, but I like it. It teaches me better horsemanship. In both the cutting and the reined event, the horse has to do a lot of the work.”
His favorite event is bulldogging. “I have two uncles who made the NFR, they are always willing to take the time to come up and help me. I would not be where I am today in this event if it were not for them. I like how it’s always full blast, there’s no safety up, its just reaction.” When Zack practices that event, he’ll jump 10 or 15 steers a night, while working on a young horse as well as riding his seasoned horse. Tie down roping is a close second favorite event, where he won all four major junior ropings this year and was the Louisiana Rodeo Cowboys Association Rookie of the year. “I am very fortunate to have family friend Jade Conner, an accomplished roper as my tie down coach which contributes to my success.” Then comes team roping, where he is a heeler for Riley Fontenot, his partner for the past two years. He works all his events using his pen of eight horses. “I have three calf horses, a couple practice horses, a bull dogging horse, a haze horse and a team roping horse.” Zack likes his calf horse the best. I’ve been riding him for quite a few years and we’re starting to fit together. I feel confident on him and feel like he gives me a chance to win. We’ve begun to figure each other out and I’ve learned how to ride him better.”
Full story available in our June 1, 2015 issue. Read online!