Back When They Bucked with Donald Dorrell
Donald Dorrell was born February 8, 1926, “right up Beaver Creek in a log cabin across from where we live now. It was my grandmother’s […]
story by Holly Wilson
Jordan Driver is the product of seven generations of cattle ranching and rodeo heritage. Jordan is involved in basketball, track, cross country, hunting, fishing, competitive light rifle shooting, and 4-H. However, the majority of her time is split between ranching, rodeo, and school.
“It gets hectic sometimes but it is really how we live. There are busy times like branding season that we don’t get to practice as much and I have to do my school work late at night,” Jordan said. “Sometimes we have to drive all night to get to a rodeo and drive all night to get back to school. It all kinda equals out, we do what needs to be done.”
Her parents, Dane and Jennifer Driver, both come from ranching backgrounds and continue the family traditions. “The Driver Ranch was homesteaded in 1878 in West Texas, so Jordan’s dad is a sixth generation rancher on his families working cattle ranch,” Jennifer said. “My family’s cattle ranch in located in Central Texas, where I am the fourth generation. So to say that the western way of life is what we know would be a very true statement.”
“This ranch has been in the family for close to 140 years,” Dane said. The Driver Ranch runs around 1000 head of cattle, depending on the yearly rainfall. Jennifer and Dane pass down their family history and tradition to Jordan, in the hopes that she will continue the western lifestyle.
“Hard work, dedication, and responsibility is something that is learned and cherished in living the western lifestyle,” Jennifer said, “Having Jordan learn and appreciate her family’s history and hoping she will continue to carry on the traditions is something that her father and I truly hope she will want to do.”
This deep appreciation also comes with a set of responsibilities, which Jordan does with pride. “Some of my responsibilities on the ranch or at the barn include getting home from school every day and riding all of my competition horses,” Jordan said. “I make sure everything has blankets, feed, and that [they are] sound before I head to the house.”
Jordan, who started rodeoing at just five years old, is a member of the American Junior Rodeo Association, and the Texas Junior High Rodeo Association Region 2.
This year she won the All-Around Cowgirl title in both associations as well as then taking home that coveted title at the Texas Junior High Rodeo Association State Finals where she qualified in six events; barrel racing, pole bending, breakaway roping, ribbon roping, goat tying and team roping. Jordan took home the World Champion Barrel racing title at the 2016 American Quarter Horse Youth World Show on Honors Past Due, then came back in 2017 and defended that title on her horse Ever SoZippy (aka. Sergio). She also qualified two horses last year for the 2017 American Semifinals and has already qualified one so far for the 2018 American Semifinals. Competing in The American as an eighth grader can be a daunting task, “It was overwhelming,” Jordan said of last year’s semi finals. “It wasn’t the best runs I’ve made but I was proud of my horses and myself at the end.”
She qualified with her best friend, Karsyn Daniels, last year and this year as well. Jordan and Karsyn met through barrel racing, and became friends while competing. “Since we live a long ways apart we don’t get to see each other unless we are at a rodeo,” Jordan said. “But sometimes Karsyn gets to come out to our ranch, and we hang out and go hunting.”
Jordan attributes a lot of her success to her biggest supporters, her parents.
“My parents have listened to me and know what I like to ride, and they found me some of the toughest rodeo horses,” Jordan said. “I appreciate them taking me to all of my rodeos and helping me succeed more and more as I grow as a competitor.”
Jordan and her family train some of their own horses, although they find most of their horses through other rodeo contestants.These tough horses include; Ever So Zippy “Sergio”, TK Judges Easy Money aka “Price”, VF The Final Design “Final”, and May B Noble “Missy”.
“Finding the right horse is hard. Trying horses is exciting and makes me nervous. My parents know a lot of people because they rodeoed as well, [so] we look for horses all over,” Jordan said. “My mom found Sergio and got to know Billie Ann Harmon, she was showing him for a friend of hers. Angela and Jackie Ganter have helped us find some of our horses and Price was the latest they help us find.”
It takes a team to keep Jordan’s horses ready for competition, but she’s got plenty of help. “I am lucky to get to spend some time with some barrel racing greats Talmadge Green and Dena Kirkpatrick,” Jordan said. Talmadge also helped the Drivers find Final, who is one of Jordan’s barrel horses.
Jennifer and Dane both come from rodeo backgrounds, and rodeoed for Tarleton State University. “Dane qualified for the College National Finals Rodeo five times and was the Student Director for the Southwest Region; he roped calves, team roped, and bulldogged,” Jennifer said. “I went to the College National Finals Rodeo all four years and was the 1999 CNFR Champion Barrel Racer and the 1999 CNFR All-Around Cowgirl.”
Jennifer was also inducted into the Tarleton State University Hall of Fame in 2015, and continues to show horses. However, she also enjoys helping Jordan prepare for her competitions, and cheering her on.
“We have a daily schedule for all the horses, as far as what they need, how they need to be worked and when they need to be practiced on. But in addition to the horses, her dad and I split duties in helping Jordan practice,” Jennifer said. “I try to be her number one supporter on and off the road. Keeping everything on track and on schedule helps keep Jordan focused on her event and allows her to be a kid.”
“It has been a true blessing to watch her grow and become the competitor and horseman she is,” Jennifer said. “With her dad and I both being from ranching and rodeo backgrounds, having her to continue the family heritage is a dream come true.”
Jordan and her horses have big goals for the coming years, and she has faith that they will accomplish great things together. “I completed one of my goals this year – competing at the national level in my last year of junior high.” She not only competed, she and her ribbon roping partner, Jacob Walters, won the National title. “Texas is expected to do good – and the second round was a muddy mess – it was a mental game.” They duct taped their boots on so they wouldn’t come off.
Later in her career, she wants to rodeo in college and hopefully pursue her goal of winning the rookie of the year in the WPRA, and then also making a trip to compete in Las Vegas at the WNFR.
Along with all of her rodeo dreams, Jordan also plans to stay involved with the family cattle ranch. “I love it! Being a seventh generation Driver is definitely in my blood,” Jordan said.
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