Since the 2023 National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Ky Hamilton has become a household name. The 23-year-old professional bull rider, originally from Queensland, Australia, […]
Roper Review: BoDell Jessen
Written by: Siri Stevens< Back to Articles
story by Bailee Joe Mikesell & Siri Stevens
BoDell Jessen of Altamont, Utah, had an outstanding and phenomenal rodeo season this year. Not only did he earn the title of All-Around Senior Boy in the NLBRA, he also won the All-Around Cowboy in Utah High School Rodeo Association, with the accomplishment of winning bareback riding at the UHSRA finals as well. BoDell has goals written on paper that he tapes to the mirror on his bathroom. He had the goal of being the All Around Champion at the NLBRA up for three years and he was able to take that down after two years as reserve champion. “I just went in to have fun this year and show people that I was there to rodeo. I used to worry about getting points and looked at the board – this year I didn’t do that.” Every year he has run for that title since he joined the NLBRA in 2012. The family did a lot of rodeos around the house and didn’t hit the rodeo road until 2011. The goals he has set for himself this coming year include a National High School Finals Rodeo title and someday a gold buckle from the National Finals Rodeo. BoDell made the National High School Finals Rodeo the past two years in bareback and bull riding. “This year it didn’t go too good – I got bumped out of the short round, so the goal is still hanging on the mirror.”
The 17 year old, up and coming senior attends Altamont High School, which has around three hundred students from seventh to twelfth grade. BoDell competes in bareback riding, bull riding, calf roping, team roping, steer wrestling, and ribbon roping. He also plays football and wrestles for Altamont High, and in his spare time hangs out with friends, or watching Disney movies, something he loves to do. Bareback riding is Jessen’s choice event, and he holds Utah native, Kaycee Field, a four-time world champion bareback riding and the first bareback rider to achieve four consecutive NFR average titles from 2011 to 2014, in high regard.
Among his numerous achievements, he is most proud of his two calf roping horses. “I trained them myself, so that’s probably one of the things I am most proud of because I made my own horses.” When he got the horses, they were young and didn’t know a lot. He started riding and roping on them and took them into training. “I didn’t know what I was doing, and just did the easy basics of roping and they picked up the rest.” His other two horses are his bull dogging horse and a heeling horse he shares with his sister.
The future goals and dreams of this cowboy are definitely intertwined with the sport of rodeo. After graduating from high school, he plans on serving a two year LDS mission, then attending college – he is looking at Texas or Oklahoma – and competing in rodeo for as long as he is able to. He plans to study business. “Out here the oil field is big, but it is crashing, so I need to find something that I can do in business world.”
If BoDell could wish for any other talent besides his talents in the arena, or the football field or the wrestling mat, the talent would involve music, either being able to play an instrument, like the guitar, or singing. He sings in the shower and thinks he sounds good, but nobody knows for sure.
The Jessen family, which consists of five members, including BoDell, are also involved in rodeo. His two younger sisters, Deklyn (15) and Mardy (10), compete in rodeo alongside their older brother. “They do different events than I do, but we help each other as much as we can.” His mom, Kristy and his dad, Kevin, are very proud of their kids.
“I think what makes me the most proud is watching him both in the arena and outside the arena,” said Kristy, “It didn’t come easy for BoDell – he worked really hard for years for this and I don’t think he realizes this is anything more than a goal. I watched him down at finals and he would go behind the chutes and help the little boys coming up.”
He is spending his time now getting ready for football. He will combine that with fall rodeos, and he’ll be busy. His coaches have given him a quote that he lives by: Never stop Trying.