Jobe Johns made sure he made the most out of the final 8.92 seconds of his high school rodeo career. That blistering figure is all it took for Jobe to tie down the calf in his last event as a high schooler July 23.
Even though he was on his backup horse, Jobe managed to post a time nobody matched. The son of Tara and Billy Joe Johns couldn’t have picked a better stage to exit.
In front of the crowd at the National High School Finals Rodeo in Gillette, Wyoming, Jobe won the short go and finished as the reserve champion. He came within a whisker of winning the overall tie-down calf roping competition, but the top honor went to Wyatt Williams of Idaho, whose total of 29.79 was a fraction faster than Jobe’s 30.84.
“I’m real happy. I did the best I could,” said Jobe, who entered the short go in seventh place after times of 10.75 and 11.17.
Jobe’s 8.92 in the short go was the second fastest in the entire event out of 375 times; only Oklahoma’s Justin Payne had a faster time (8.84), which came in the first go-round.
As a veteran of the NHSFR, Jobe entered this year’s event with a different approach than his previous trips.
“I was more relaxed,” he said.
But his calmness was tested early when his No. 1 horse Delilah was injured soon after Jobe arrived. With Delilah on the sidelines, Jobe was forced to use his back-up horse named Booty, a five-year-old with far less experience at shows.
“That was a big adjustment,” Jobe said.
But the pair worked well together and produced the results that helped Jobe depart as the reserve champion.
“It means a lot,” Jobe said.
After the 6,000-mile round trip, Jobe returned to Lake Placid for less than two weeks before he was back on the road with his horses, this time headed to Texas where he started his freshman year at Ranger College in early August.
Jobe, who was home-schooled in high school, will have at least one familiar face on campus. His team roping partner Blevyns Jumper, son of Andrea and Josh Jumper, is also a freshman at Ranger, about 115 miles west of Dallas. Jobe and Blevyns both plan to be part of Ranger’s rodeo team, which competes in the Southwest Division of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association.
Last year Ranger sent five members to the College National Finals Rodeo in Wyoming.
Blevyns, a 2016 graduate of American Heritage in Plantation, competed at NHSFR in steer wrestling. His time of 11.46 was the 10th fastest of 15 in the morning performance July 19. He didn’t reach the short go.
Logan Hyatt, who lived with the Johns family during high school, improved his times in each of his three steer wrestling performances. He started with 8.90, then 5.64 before finishing with 4.85, the fifth fastest time in the short go which boosted him to a 10th place overall finish.
Jobe, Blevyns and Logan earned their spots in their last NHSFR by qualifying through the Florida High School Rodeo Association.