After 10 rounds of hanging on to the back of some of the toughest bucking broncs in the rodeo world, Cowley bareback rider JR Vezain averaged fourth in the bareback competition at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas this past week. Over 10 grueling rounds, Vezain scored 77, 85.5, 83, 85.5, 84.5, 77.5, 68.5, 82.00, 78.00 and won his last round with a score of 86.5 edging out his nearest competitor Bobby Mote by a mere half point. Vezain scored 808 overall compared to the winning point total by first place winner Kaycee Field of 834, second place Will Lowe 813 and third place Bobby Mote 809.5.
“Going to the NFR was like a dream come true,” said Vezain. “Of course, a guy goes with the goal of wanting to win. I always set goals high like that for myself, but I am happy knowing I did my best.”
Just shy of 21 years old, Vezain has won the National High School title, National College title, Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit title, Canadian Pro Rodeo title and the 2012 Cody Stampede Rodeo. This is his first year on the Pro Rodeo circuit and he is already a rising star ranked fourth in the world in bareback riding.
“I was truly blessed all the days I was there,” said Vezain. “It was an awesome experience to be part of the best rodeo in the world. I can hardly wait to go back again and to take it even further, maybe break some records.”
As far as Vezain is concerned, there’s only one way to go and that is straight to the top, and he has made a personal goal to not only break records but to win as many titles as possible.
“By the time I’m 30 I’d like to retire without any debt with a bunch of gold buckles and titles,” said Vezain. “Since I was about 5 years old, I’ve wanted to be the best that I can be in anything I do. That is still my ultimate goal.”
So far he is well on his way to achieving that goal, with $199,303.92 in his pocket at the end of his first year riding PRCA.
“Past the money, past the fame, the most awesome thing of all is to have some little kid somewhere looking up to me,” said Vezain. “I’d like to give it back to a kid like me who wants to be the best that he can be, the same way people helped me. That is my ultimate goal.”
By Patti Carpenter