I ran into the Stewart boys at the Bloomer Trailers Best of the Best Timed Event Rodeo in Gallup, New Mexico, which wraps up with the short round this Saturday night. I watched them make a snappy 6-second run in the Parent Team Roping event. Jett was less than thrilled about breaking the barrier. But Daddy Jason was all smiles just to be there roping with his first-born son. He clearly remembers getting that original, fateful call from wife Sybil.
“It was during the rodeo in Sheridan (Wyoming), and I was sitting at the Mint Bar eating lunch with Tyler Magnus when she called and said, ‘I’m pregnant,’” said Stewie, who headed for Kyle Lockett at the 1998 NFR and Bucky Campbell at NFR 2000, and had just started roping with Patrick Smith when he got that life-changing news. “I’d made my wife a promise that I’d be home when we had kids. So I finished out that year, and kept my word.”
Jett has two younger brothers. Tripp’s 9, and Truu is 2. Tripp is named after Pendleton’s Paul and Cindy Rice’s late, wonderful son Tripper, who left this world way too soon at 23 after a tragic 2007 accident.
“There’s only one Tripper,” Jason said. “So we called him Tripp. Paul and Cindy are like grandparents to all three of our boys.”
Stewart ranches out of Heppner, Oregon, and has no regrets about his family-first career decision.
“It was my choice to quit rodeoing,” he said. “Rodeo’s been good to me. One of the ranches I have leased now is because they saw me roping on TV back in the day.”
Jett’s first big win came last fall, when he won the WestStar Ranch and Arena’s Pro/Am roping with Junior Nogueira. Jett won almost $12,000 during Wrangler BFI Week in Reno earlier this month.
There were four “kid ropings” at Reno, and he won three of them. He was fourth high call at the Junior BFI #10 with Cody Stewart, who’s Travis Stewart’s son and no relation to Jason or Jett, then won it with Brayden, who’s Will Schmidt’s son. Jett also won the #10 Junior NFR Qualifier with Brayden, and the Open Junior NFR Qualifier with Jaylen Eldridge, who’s Marlow’s son and a cousin to NFR steer wrestler Dakota Eldridge.
“It was very nerve-racking watching my kid be high-call back at the first-ever Junior BFI,” Jason smiled. “I was more nervous than when I ran my first steer at the NFR, or ran my last one at Pendleton (when he won the steer roping title there in 2003), or Denver (he won the 2002 National Western team roping title with Randon Adams), or San Antonio (which Stewart won twice—in 2002 with Adams, and in 2003 with Mike Beers).”