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Jobe Johns continues legacy at Josiah Johns Memorial Rodeo

BRIGHTON — To say the Johns family likes the rodeo is like saying the Ford family likes cars. The latest rodeo enthusiast in the family, 13-year-old Jobe Johns, is galloping to the top of the field.

Jobe recently competed against his peers and adults in the Josiah Johns Memorial Rodeo held at the Fred Smith Arena in Brighton. During the junior rodeo on Aug. 17, he won five events, and although he didn’t fare as well during the adult rodeo on Aug. 18, he managed to hold his own.

“He’s bad to the bone and is doing a good job against these men,” said Tara Johns, Jobe’s mother. “But he’s still only 13, so I have to help him get ready.”

His wins in the junior rodeo qualified Jobe to compete in the Indian National Finals Rodeo (INFR) in Las Vegas on Nov. 6. This was the last Eastern Indian Rodeo Association (EIRA) event of the season, so his first-place finishes in chute dogging, steer riding and breakaway calf roping qualified him for the INFR event and won him the EIRA youth all-around cowboy award for the third consecutive year.

Jobe began rodeo riding at 4 years old, and he would like to make a career in the rodeo. He already has sponsors, including Cinch National Rodeo Team and Phoenix LLC.

“I love the adrenaline and winning,” said Jobe, a ninth-grader in Troy, Ala. “Competing against grown men doesn’t bother me at all.”

It has been a busy and fruitful year for Jobe, who won third place as the all-round cowboy at the National High School Rodeo Association’s 2012 National Junior High Finals Rodeo in Gallup, N.M. and won the following events at the Alabama Junior High School Rodeo Association 2011-2012: first place all-round cowboy; first place tie down calf roping; second place team roping; first place chute dogging; first place ribbon roping; first place goat tying; first place bull riding.

“I practice every day at home,” Jobe said. “I love being here; there is nothing about the rodeo I don’t like.”

A well-rounded kid, Jobe also enjoys hunting for deer and turkey and socializing with his peers. Billy Joe Johns, originally from Brighton, is proud of his son’s accomplishments.

“He’s been working pretty hard to get to this point,” said Billy Joe, a former rodeo cowboy. “He could have a career if he wants one.”
The Johns’ Alabama ranch contains a ring, and rodeo cowboys often bring Jobe good horses to ride for training. Joe Beaver, an eight-time world champion and family friend, works with Jobe during his visits.

As a member of the extended Johns family, rodeo runs in Jobe’s blood. The Josiah Johns Memorial Rodeo, an annual event held for more than 10 years, is named for the all-round cowboy and cattleman who had a successful rodeo career before passing away in an automobile accident in the early ‘80s. His son Marty Johns produces the rodeo through his company Marki Rodeo. His daughters, sister, aunts, uncles and cousins all compete in the rodeo as well.

“It’s a family affair,” said Marty, also the general manager at the Brighton Casino. “The memory of my father gives me all the power in the world.”

Marty likes the consistency of events at rodeos, but knowing everything can go wrong keeps him on his game. His company owns the animals in the rodeo, with the exception of the participants’ personal horses.

“We take care of our animals,” he said. “They eat before we do.”

Marty is also a partner with Paul Bowers Jr., and together they own the Five Star Rodeo Company, which produces Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association events.

In addition to Jobe, cowboys and cowgirls from all over the country competed in this year’s Josiah Johns Memorial Rodeo.

The bucking horses, steer, calves and nimble-footed horses with their cowboys and cowgirls put on quite a show at the arena. For those just starting a rodeo career or those well into it, Brighton is clearly the place to be with your boots on.

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Beverly Bidney
Beverly Bidney has been a reporter and photographer for The Seminole Tribune since 2012. During her career, she has worked at various newspapers around the country including the Muskogee Phoenix in Oklahoma, Miami Herald, Associated Press, USA Today and other publications nationwide. A NAJA award winning journalist, she has covered just about everything over the years and is an advocate for a strong press. Contact her at beverlybidney@semtribe.com.

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