As the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association fall season rolls along, two Monte Vista, Colo., natives have proved to be integral members of the Fort Hays State University Rodeo Team.
In fact, these two have combined to earn all the points for the FHSU men’s team, which currently sits 11th in the NIRA Central Plains Region standings.
Freshman Blair Jones and senior Cody Pratt, roommates and traveling partners, compete in both the team roping and the steer wrestling. Although they have yet to make the short round in the team roping, steer wrestling proves to be a different story.
At the Southeastern Oklahoma State University Rodeo in Coleman, Jones had a run of 4.8 seconds in the steer wrestling, putting him in sixth going into the short-go. Not only did Jones have the fastest time of the short-go with a 3.5, but the two times together also won him the average.
Jones was glad to have the weekend fall together so well.
“I felt like everything really came together this weekend. I had my head on straight, everything started clicking right and it ended up in my favor,” Jones said.
After winning the Southeastern Oklahoma rodeo, Jones now leads the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Central Plains Region in the steer wrestling with 175 points.
He kept it simple when describing what it feels like to lead an entire region as a freshman.
“It feels good,” he said.
Nevertheless, Jones knows that it will take a lot of work to stay up there until the end of the 2009-2010 rodeo season.
“There are a lot more rodeos to go, and I’ll have to keep going at it and doing my best.”
At the season’s previous rodeo at Pratt Community College, Jones also made the short-go in the steer wrestling, along with Pratt.
Jones nearly won the long round with a 4.6 but came up short by one tenth of a second. Pratt was a 5.1 in the long-go, putting him in seventh going into the finals.
In the short round, Jones had a run of 5.8 while Pratt improved his time with a 4.5. Jones ended up seventh in the average. Pratt finished fifth.
“I would have liked to have placed better, but I was happy with how it turned out,” Pratt said.
Jones was glad to place at his second college rodeo; however, he knew that he was capable of more -- as he proved in Coleman.
“I feel like I did good at Pratt,” Jones said. “I could have done better, but as a freshman, I feel like I have started my year off alright. I could have gotten a better start in the short round. That’s the only thing that hurt me.”
The two bulldogging powerhouses didn’t just meet this year. They say they’ve known each other forever.
“We used to kick it together when we were in diapers,” Pratt said with a grin.
Jones and Pratt really became good friends when they started roping together. Pratt, Jones says, is really the one who got him started in rodeo.
“I knew he wanted to rope and be a cowboy, and I was fortunate enough to grow up around it, so I figured he should get the same opportunity,” Pratt said.
Jones knew from the start that Pratt was the kind of guy from whom he wanted to learn.
“Cody is one of those guys that has a very good head on his shoulders and has done a lot with his life already,” Jones said. “By doing that, he shows me the right path to go down. He has been a really good influence on me. He has done a lot for me and has helped me out a lot with stuff in life -- not just in the arena but outside, too.”
Pratt thinks just as highly of Jones.
“He is a great kid. He has a lot of ability and things going for him. I love him like a brother and would do anything for him,” Pratt said.
Jones and Pratt and the rest of the FHSU Rodeo Team will compete next in Alva, Okla., at the Northwestern Oklahoma State University Rodeo, Nov. 5-7.
The current standings and rodeo results can be found on the NIRA Web site, www.collegerodeo.com. For more information on the FHSU Rodeo Team, visit the Web site at www.fhsu.edu/rodeo.