Jones to compete at national event

By: 
Hannah Gross

Submitted photo

Kacy Jones said bull riding is his favorite event at rodeos, and he has put in a lot of practice over the years to improve himself. That hard work has paid off and the recent graduate now gets to take his bull riding skills to the National High School Finals Rodeo in Nebraska.

 

Hannah Gross

NLJ Correspondent

 

Newcastle senior Kacy Jones was practically born into rodeoing because he began his first competition when he was no more than 4 or 5 years old. The many years of hard work and determination are paying off. Jones has qualified for the National High School Finals Rodeo in Lincoln, Nebraska, scheduled for July 17-24. 

“It’s always been a goal of mine to qualify,” Jones said. 

In eighth grade, Jones qualified for the Junior National Finals Rodeo, but this is the first time he’s qualified at the high school level. In order to qualify, he had to be among the top-four point earners in the state, and he did just that in bull riding. When Jones was younger, he competed in every event, but now he focuses on team roping and bull riding, which is his favorite event.

Jones is following in the footsteps of his father, Tim, who competed at nationals during his high school days in bronc riding. Kacy said he looks up to his father as a mentor and motivator.

“My dad is probably my biggest role model,” Kacy said, noting that his father always tells him, “Don’t get discouraged. It’s not going to matter in five years.” 

That encourages him to keep going. Tim said that going to nationals will be a good experience and “confidence booster” for his son before he heads off to college. Both Tim and his wife, Stacey, said they have watched Kacy improve not only as a rider but also as a person throughout his rodeo career. Rodeo teaches people how to persevere, interact with others, and practice with grit and determination, according to Stacey. 

“He has extremely grown,” she said. “We’re really proud of him for accomplishing this.” 

When Kacy goes to Lincoln for the competition, he hopes to do his best and win it, he said, but his goals are set even higher than that. He hopes to one day make it to the Nationals Final Rodeo for pro rodeo. He is well on his way, as he is attending Weatherford College in Texas with a nearly full ride scholarship in the sport. Tim acknowledged that his son has become more focused and goal oriented as he’s matured, which will help him as he continues to the collegiate level. 

“I hope he does well and continues to grow as he gets an education,” Stacey said. 

Kacy couldn’t put in words why he loves rodeo so much, except to say that “it’s just something about it.” He and his father noted that the camaraderie in rodeo is like none other. Kacy said that he has made lifelong friends that he knows will have his back “at the drop of a hat.”

“Friends like that are hard to come by,” he said. 

Tim added that the top competitors are often also each other’s biggest fans. He explained that even though he would have liked to see Kacy land on top when he battled for first at the state rodeo competition, it happened “the way it should have,” and the competitors can be happy for each other’s successes. He said Kacy has a great support system from his friends and family, and Kacy agreed. 

“He’s got miles and miles of heart,” Tim said. “Rodeo is one big family.” 

Kacy’s advice to younger riders is to “find something you love and keep at it,” as well as find someone to look up to. He is excited to begin the next chapter of his rodeo career, and wherever that will take him. 

“His career is just about to take off,” Tim said.

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