Meet the Member Julie Jones

by

story by Lindsay Humphrey

Halter horses, jumpers and shooters, Julie Jones has dabbled in them all and just about everything in between. She first cut her teeth as an equestrian on a painted sale barn pony who was the definition of a nightmare. “My mom said I started showing interest in horses when I was 2,” said the Aquila, Arizona, barrel racer. “I went to the school of hard knocks with that pony, but from there my parents started getting me some nicer horses.” Like many of her peers, Julie got started with horses through her local 4-H club. She quickly leveled up and was showing on the Quarter Horse circuit. “When I was taking lessons all I had known was western, but the instructor asked if I would ride some of the horses off the track and help her start them over fences.”
Julie first started riding jumpers when she was 9, but as a teenager she rode them for that instructor and later found herself riding and showing for several other individuals. “I showed on the paint circuit for awhile and after riding jumpers I started showing saddle seat horses in the Arabian association.” Julie distinctly remembers the day she realized she was ready for a new discipline. It was boiling hot at 103 when Julie was showing some halter horses. “I wasn’t enjoying it anymore and that’s when I started looking for other things to do with horses. I wasn’t burnt out on horses; I was just burnt out on the style and how strict everything was.”
That’s how Julie found her way to reining. Although she enjoyed the sport itself, it was still too close to the horse show atmosphere. “I have done some pretty strict disciplines as far as riding goes. The horse show world itself is very political and everything has to be super perfect. When Quarter Horse added barrel racing to their shows, I decided that looked like fun.” Working in escrow syphoned Julie to her first barrel racing friend. “When I told her I had a little reining horse and wanted to run barrels, she told me to come to a jackpot and check things out with my horse. I told her I wasn’t interested in having a fire breathing dragon that I couldn’t control. I ended up having a good time and started taking some lessons.” Right away Julie knew barrel racing would be something she could really enjoy.
“It became a social outlet for me, and I started getting to know people and making friends. I was having a good time with it. Then the NPRA started offering novice barrel racing, I jumped on that because my reiner was obviously unseasoned at that point.” Even though Julie spent more time at jackpots than anywhere else, she still strongly prefers rodeos. That was a driving force behind her decision to join the NSPRA five years ago. “Rodeos are so much more relaxed and fun. And you’re not sitting around for hours waiting for your event.” Living in Oregon for 43 years made it a little difficult for Julie to find more rodeos than jackpots to attend. Spending winters in Arizona really solidified Julie’s affinity for rodeos.
“My husband (Chris) traveled a lot for work, and it didn’t really matter where we lived so we decided to make Arizona our home base. We had enough of the rain and snow.” As a team roper, moving to Arizona was a dream come true for Chris. Up until recently, Julie was always seasoning a horse and didn’t feel like she was competitive enough for something like the senior pros. “I’ve gotten to the age where I want to have something to go have fun on rather than training one. The horse I have now is showing that he’s seasoned enough to be running at rodeos.” To add to her already long list of discipline skills, Julie has finally convinced Chris to teach her to how to head. It’s convenient for him as a heeler and enjoyable for Julie who has always loved learning something new on a horse.

© Rodeo Life Media Corporation | All Rights Reserved • Laramie, Wyoming • 307.761.9053

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