story by Laura Martin When Jim Persinger discovered the National Senior Pro Rodeo Association in 2012, feeling like he could still compete at the age […]
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Meet the Member: Jeanne Davis
Story by Lindsay Humphrey
A mare named Miss Baby Dude (“Lulu”) proved to be a monumental mount for Jeanne Davis of Jackson, Nebraska. “From the time I was a little girl running barrels set up in our pasture, my passion has always been barrel racing,” said the NSPRA barrel racer. In 1978, Jeanne and her husband, Ron, bought Lulu from R.E. and Marth Josey. From the moment Jeanne swung a leg over Lulu, the pair fit together perfectly. This was further illustrated when the young team filled up eight WPRA permits in just two weeks in 1979. That following year, Jeanne and Lulu competed at 52 rodeos and were first or second in almost half of them. Some injuries sidelined the pair late in the season, but they still qualified for their first NFR.
“It wasn’t until after the NFR that I found I was pregnant with my son. I felt pretty rough those ten days, but I thought I was just really nervous since it was my first time there. It turns out that was a 6-pound, 7-ounce butterfly.” Jeanne made the decision to put her family first, which meant she wouldn’t be on the road full time but she was still competing on Lulu. “I hauled Lulu for 13 years and she just got tougher every year. She was the type of horse that you could be confident that you were going to win a check pretty much everywhere you went.” At 27 years old, Lulu passed away on Jeanne’s oldest sons’ birthday. The mare is buried in her backyard and Jeanne still gets chocked up when she thinks about Lulu, and rightfully so.
Jeanne filled her time with the family business and hauling her three sons – Jerod, Cody and Tyler – to rodeos while they were growing up. Now, it’s time for Jeanne and Ron to rodeo until their hearts content. “Everybody says that we’re retired, but we’re busier now than we’ve ever been. We have some rope and barrel horses at home that we’re raising and training. We’re finally able to do things with horses and rodeo that we’ve wanted to do our entire life but were too busy with work and raising a family.” Jeanne is taking full advantage of this opportunity to travel with Ron and hit as many NSPRA events as they can.
“Three years ago, Ron encouraged me to enter my first NSPRA rodeo in McCook. We did really well there and ended up making the finals that year.” Jeanne and Ron stayed at home in 2019, but they hit the road again in 2020. Jeanne ended up being the year-end barrel racing champion. “We went to Arizona for a couple weeks in February this year and had some good luck kicking our year off.” As a result, Jeanne spent a majority of the season leading the 60 and over barrel racing. “It’s been a blessing for sure. We really enjoy the senior pro rodeos. It’s given us a chance to haul together for the first time in 30 years.” Ron and Jeanne celebrated 46 years together in October.
Even though Jeanne loves her time chasing the rodeo trail, she misses time with her family and their couple’s grandsons, Preston and Colton, and granddaughters, Alexis and Sierra. “We have a really great support system at home so that we can be away.” That time on the road wouldn’t be possible without someone to keep the home fires burning. Family friends, Jessica Lange and her mom, Jeanine, hold down the fort when Jeanne and Ron are away. The boys and their wives are always at home as backup help as well. “We couldn’t do this without everyone’s help, and as long as we have someone willing to keep things in order at home, we’ll continue to be on the road competing and maybe even win a world title. It’s been a long time coming.”