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Meet the Member J.W. Nelson
story by J.W. Nelson
J.W. Nelson has been in the Mid-States Rodeo Association for several years, on and off. “Last year was the first year that I really focused on Mid-States. I won the Year End Championship for the team roping.” His regular partner is Kevin Kessler; J. W. ropes heels and Kevin heads. The team made 42 rodeos last year in their campaign for the titles.
He likes the people that make up the Mid-States organization. “The people there are just awesome. It’s made up of ranchers and cowboys that good people and are really down to earth, family oriented people. It’s just fun being around them. The rodeos are well run and they always have good livestock to rope. It’s just an all around good association to be in.” J.W. competes in the USTRC and won the #15 shoot out in 2006 won a truck at roping in Athens, Texas. He and Kevin also rope in the PRCA and made the short round in Cheyenne last year.
J.W.’s father was a roper and it was pretty natural for him to pick it as a young boy. “I rodeoed in high school and got to know Kollin VonAhn, we roped together. Kollin was the 2009 PRCA World Champion Heeler.” When J.W. went off to college, he rodeoed for Southeastern University of Oklahoma. “It was a four year university but it took me six years. I majored in occupational safety and health, OSHA.”
He says that Kollin played a major role in his development as a roper. “Growing up in Iowa, there wasn’t a lot of roping around and without him, I wouldn’t be half the roper that I am. If I hadn’t had Kollin to rope with, I may have gone to some other sport. We went to an Allen Bach clinic, Jake Barnes and Clay O’Brian’s clinics, and Jake Milton.”
He’s hard-wired for competition. “I don’t have to tell myself to get ready for competition. It’s already there; built in. I’ve (mentally) prepared for the run a million times, so when I back in the box, it’s like a day off.” His competition horse is a Bodie Bismol bred horse that he bought from Kollin. “He was a reject cutting horse but works great for roping.” That competitive spirit carries into his work life too. “Kevin and I work together and we’re competing to see who can sell the most fire alarms. We’re neck-and-neck right now.”
J.W. 31, and his wife, Katie call Alta, Iowa home, near where he was born and raised. “She ropes too and competes in the mixed team roping. She was just one hole out from making the Finals last year.” During the week J.W. works selling fire alarm systems. “I do this seven days a week during the winter and then can take time off in the summer to rodeo.” Leisure time is spent doing some deer hunting or playing poker. “I’ve been in the World Series of Poker a couple of times in Vegas.”
Long term goals for J.W. of course include a run at the NFR. He has very motivated philosophy that he describes, “I believe that if you can take it; you can make it. To me that means that if you’re willing to put in the time and effort you can achieve anything you want to do.”