Jess Pope: In and Out of the Arena

Currently sitting at No. 2 in the World Standings, Jess Pope embodies the meaning of a true cowboy, inside and outside of the arena.

Growing up, Jess learned the meaning of hard work as he helped members of his community by riding colts and working in the sale barn.

“As long as you’re doing what you love, you’re not working a job”.

Jess says he makes a living by riding bucking horses, but when he is out of the arena and on the ranch, it feels like a vacation due to the love he has for the work. “I take great pride in what I get to do because its an art of a dying breed”.

In 2019, Jess got his PRCA Rookie Card and was winning the Rookie of the Year Title Race until mid-August, when he pulled his hamstring. He was on his way to his first NFR when the injury took place, and his career was put on pause. Garrett Shadbolt would go on to win Rookie of the Year in 2019, with Jess sitting not far behind in the standings.

After being cleared to continue riding, Jess was more motivated than ever in 2020. He had a great winter run and was headed to his first NFR when COVID put a halt to the majority of rodeos left for the year. Jess was able to use this time in quarantine to prepare for the National Finals Rodeo and was grateful for the time off. Jess went on to win the average for the 2020 NFR that took place in Arlington, Texas.

Jess continued to climb the standings in 2021, until he was injured once again, this time, with a severe concussion. During the time of this injury, Jess continued to work cattle, as well as fill time being a pickup man in his college and hometown rodeos.

Jess qualified for the Finals in 2021 despite his time off and was very successful at his first NFR in The Thomas & Mack Center, winning the average once again.

Jess looks forward to the 2022 NFR and has his sights set on a gold buckle.

“At the end of the day when I’m done . . . I want them to be able to think back and say ‘that guy was a hell of a cowboy’.”

This video is courtesy of Resistol.


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