Meet the Member: Jon Baer

by

story by Lily Weinacht

It’s Jon Baer’s 13th season rodeoing in the GCPRA, yet for the tie-down roper from Peoria, Ariz., roping isn’t a season in life, but a lifestyle. Learning to rope came as naturally as learning to walk for Jon, who was born and raised in Minnesota, with the coveralls and gloves to prove it. His dad is a tie-down and team roper, and Jon followed suit and roped through junior high and high school, qualifying for the NHSFR all four years of high school. He won the state championship in team roping from 1987 – 1989, along with the tie-down roping in 1989, and cutting in both 1988 and 1989.
Following high school, Jon focused primarily on tie-down roping, and when his older brother moved south to Arizona, the rest of the family transplanted a few years later, after Jon’s sister finished high school rodeo in 1991. “Where I grew up in Minnesota, there was a guy with an indoor heated barn I could rope in all year, but being able to rope the dummy in nice weather without having to get all dressed up was great!” he says. “A few years after we got here, the team roping exploded. I still heel in the team roping, but I mostly fill in for the guys if their partner can’t make it.”
After moving to Arizona, Jon met his wife, Shannon, at the Parada del Sol rodeo dance in Scottsdale, Ariz. They’ll celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary this year, and have a seven-year-old daughter, Sammi. It was Shannon who rekindled Jon’s love for tie-down roping. “Shannon competed in the WPRA for a while and wanted to rope calves, so we bought a calf horse and started roping. She’s the one who got me back into it. It really clicked for me – being an individual event, if you make a mistake, it doesn’t cost anybody else. I’m 45, and tie-down is a younger guy’s event, so being competitive against them is what keeps me going!”
Shannon competes in the breakaway roping and tie-down roping in the GCPRA. “She’s the only gal entered in the tie-down roping, and she enters the incentive and the open,” Jon explains. “We rotate out roping and running the chutes at practice, and our daughter, Sammi, just finished her second year of the Queen Creek Junior Rodeo Association. She won second in the ribbon roping for the year.” The Baers make their home in Peoria, a suburb of Phoenix, and their horses and roping pen sit on several acres where Shannon’s parents live. “My calf horse is Trinity – I got him three or four years ago from Tristan Mahoney, and he’s probably the best calf horse I’ve ever had. He’s the reason I went back to pro rodeoing. My wife ropes on him, and breakaway ropes on PJ, although Sammi is starting to take him over. We know we have a few years before she gets more competitive and our schedule will get full, so we’re trying to rodeo as hard as we can right now. Shannon and I also do the central entry for the GCPRA, so every Monday before a rodeo, we have three phone lines going. It can be pretty hectic the first few hours! Then we finish up the books on Tuesday, and some of the other members that lives close help us answer phones.”
Jon bought his PRCA permit back last year for the Turquoise Circuit, although he’s competed on and off in the association since college. During the week, he works for Roofing Supply Group as a system operation manager. “I get our loads dispatched and make sure our customers are getting the proper material,” he says. “I’ve been with them 13 years, and they’re real good about letting me slip out a few hours early to rodeo. I also appreciate my sponsors, Tres Rios Silver and Lyles Ropes and Strings. I won the GCPRA incentive calf roping in 2008, and now my goal is to qualify for the circuit finals and win the GCPRA in the open calf roping.”

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