Catching up with Chet Johnson and Jake Finlay
When saddle bronc riders Chet Johnson and Jake Finlay joined Janie Johnson and Amy Wilson in studio, the talked about everything from favorite horses and the future of rodeo to what they’ve learned as traveling partners and how Chet keeps Jake in line on the road.
On a more serious note, they also discuss what the is unanticipated off time due to the coronavirus is affecting rodeo athletes.
“We’re just kind of in that, we don’t know. Day to day it changes, and this thing is so fluid and evolving as we wait,” Chet says. “And that’s all we can do it wait — keep a good attitude. I know a lot of the other world’s really hurting too. So, you want to be selfish and be like, ‘Oh, yeah, we can’t rodeo,’ but you know, there’s people really hurting out there, and we’re just not getting to do what we’re passion about. But hopefully it’s soon. Hopefully there’ll be a light at the end of the tunnel and we’ll be back to business.”
And the saddle bronc riders pay homage to their shared idol Billy Etbauer.
“He’s a winner and has that attitude,” says Chet, who got to travel with Billy a little toward the end of his ProRodeo career, “but also so humble, yah know. He’s a guy who’s just loved by fans, loved by everybody.
Jake, who trained with the Etbauers as he was transitioning from college to professional rodeo, echoes the sentiment.“Besides the bronc riding is, if I could be half the man that Billy is, I’d be doing really well. He’s a great man to talk to. Always willing to lend a hand. Always willing to give you his opinion, whether you want to hear it or not. He won’t back down, that’s for sure.”
“They sculpted me in my bronc riding. … Those Etbauers definitely make sure you’re ready to go to ProRodeos. They won’t let you go to a ProRodeo if you’re not ready. They’ll tell you to stay home.”
Finally, the foursome wraps up their conversation grilling Chet about retirement and why he’s chosen to stay in the game for nearly two decades now. While at first he jokingly suggests it’s because “he’s scared of work,” Chet goes on it’s more explains that it's really more about his love of the game.
“It’s the people, it’s the competition, and I don’t feel like I’ve rode as good as I can yet,” he says. “… to me, it’s the competition still. I don’t think I’m there yet. I haven’t achieved all my goals yet, and I’m physically finally healthy. I’ve had some banged up years. I think that’s a lot of it, you know. I physically feel good and just excited about it still. And I think once I lose that fire, then it’s time to be done. But it’s still there.”