Roper Review: Tanner Ward
Having just celebrated his 21st birthday, Tanner Ward has overcome some large obstacles in his young life. At just three years old, Tanner was diagnosed […]
At thirteen Jay Hodge was introduced to roping by a neighbor. From there, his dad bought a head horse and built a dummy for Jay to practice on. The next step was live cattle and Jay progressed with no formal training to the #7 header he is today at 37 years old.
Jay’s growing passion for team roping earned him a spot at the Louisiana State High School Finals all four years of high school. He has been a constant competitor at the LRCA Finals for the last twelve years and enjoys competing at amateur and circuit rodeos, along with jackpots. The win that stands out to Jay is the PRCA rodeo in Winnsboro, LA several years ago. “All my friends had won that rodeo,” explains Hodge. “Plus, they give away a really nice set of trophy spurs that I really wanted.”
Jay is a welder at Pulp Mill Services, Inc. and has been married to his wife Ashley since 2001. Their daughter Taylor Elizabeth was born last year.
“Between working full-time and raising a family, I’ve taken a step back and now go to more jackpots. We’ve been going to some circuit rodeos and locally produced timed-event rodeos where I’ve done pretty well.”
“My wife has always been my number one supporter,” says Jay. “Ashley has turned out countless steers for me. She keeps track of times and videos my runs. I absolutely could not do it without her.”
Though Jay has never been to a formal roping clinic, he credits local roper Rance Gantt with helping him improve. When not working or roping the Hodges enjoy spending time at their deer camp in Arkansas.
How much do you practice?
Two or three times a week. I rope the dummy every day.
Do you make your own horses?
The one I’m riding now, yes. He knew the basics but we’ve been through a lot in the last year. Right now you couldn’t afford to buy him.
Who were your roping heroes?
Jake Barnes. He can still head with the top ten in the world.
Who do you respect most in the world?
Jesus. My dad. My dad has always supported me in whatever I wanted to do.
Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
My dad. He has taught me to do what’s right, always do what you say you will, and to support your family.
If you had a day off what would you like to do?
I usually rope when I’m off. I enjoy spending time with my wife and daughter.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Positive, goal-oriented, trustworthy.
What makes you happy?
Spending time with my family.
What makes you angry?
When things don’t go well or someone tries to do me wrong.
If you were given 1 million dollars, how would you spend it?
I would give 25% to my church, 25% to St. Jude, and with the other 50% I would take care of my family.
What is your worst quality – your best?
My worst quality is impatience. My best quality is being very loyal.
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