Jaspur Brower doesn’t have much time to collect himself before he’s back in the chute and giving the nod.
The 15-year-old opened last week’s July 4 Jackson Hole Rodeo with a 69 in bareback atop a bucking horse called Kmart Special. Give or take 15 minutes later, he was tossed from the back of a saddle bronc horse named Nash. He came out of the arena floor, dusted himself off and — 15 minutes later — he was on the back of a bull named Dominos.
“He was pretty good. I kind of got over the front end too much and that’s kind of how I got launched over,” he said of his trip on Dominos.
He pocketed a cool $223.20 for his victory in bareback. But, quite like his short breaks between roughstock events at the rodeo, he didn’t have much time to enjoy his earnings. He was planning to come back the following night to get on another two horses and another bull.
“I just need some all-around points,” he said. “And it’s fun.”
It’s not often anyone gets into the chutes for all three roughstock events, but that’s the Big Piney cowboy’s plan until summer comes to a close.
It’s unique because before Thursday, Brower hadn’t been on the back of a bull since his time riding mini-bulls as a kid. As a high school rodeoer he’s a bareback rider, but with the freedom of summer he decided to take a charge at winning the year-end all-around title in Jackson.
“I thought since I was doing a roughstock event, I might as well do two,” he said. “Then I got to thinking even more, I can win the all-around if I do all three roughstock events.”
Rodeo operator Phil Wilson said Brower stays with his son, Buskin, for stretches during the summer because Jackson gives him the opportunity to get on broncs and bulls three times each week. At the rodeo headquarters the upstairs has been converted into a weight room with a bucking machine, rowing machine and weights. Wilson doesn’t have a problem with the young cowboy taking on all three events, as long as he’s fit to do so.
“The whole question for him will be staying healthy,” Wilson said. “It’s tough going to three different events and staying healthy and keeping your body in shape.
“They learn that if they’re going to be athletes, they have to keep themselves in shape with exercise, practices, and then getting to ride three days a week.”
Jackson Hole Rodeo is the perfect spot for Brower to develop as a cowboy. With the Wilsons tailoring their roughstock to meet the abilities of whichever cowboy climbs into the chute, he’s got a full summer to chase those 8 seconds over and over again.
“I just like how the Jackson Hole Rodeo staff takes care of the kids,” Brower said. “They know what horses and bulls to put us on.”
Thursday night’s performance was a packed house, with spectators lining the gates to take in the action of Cowboy Christmas. It’s the first time in a couple of years the company has put on four nights of rodeo over the holiday weekend, and it paid off with some of the highest turnout Jackson’s rodeo has seen.
Take, for example, the slack numbers. Wilson said a normal rodeo runs some 100 people through timed events in slack during the summer. Last week, he said, there were about 150 people a night taking to the fairgrounds for slack runs before the performance even began.
While the Jackson rodeo isn’t as big as some of the other rodeos around the state, it offers those who come the opportunity to set up shop for all four days instead of having to bounce around the West looking for jackpots in the busiest — and most lucrative — week of rodeo.
“They could stay here all four days,” Wilson said. “Other rodeos, they’re up one day, and that’s usually it. This one here they can enter all four days, and a lot of them just kind of stuck with it.”
Elsewhere in the arena on Thursday, Buskin Wilson won $731 for his 79 scored atop War Bull to take the bull riding win. Logan Nunn notched a 72 for $501 on Salty Sally for the saddle bronc win. Year-end barrel racing leader Kodee Williams and horse Rosie earned $114.66 for finishing second on Thursday night. Mylie Edwards edged Williams for the win by .03 seconds for $152.88.
Full results from last week’s rodeos were not available by press time.