Team Roping: Header; Tie-Down Roping
Born: 8/11/1984, Las Vegas
Joined PRCA: 2003
World Titles Won: 0
Career Earnings: $129,789
WNFR Qualifications: 1
Residence: Logandale, NV
2006 World standings place: 15th (TR-Header)
2006 Wrangler NFR place: 15th
2006 Wrangler NFR earnings: $20,156
2006 Earnings: $76,284
Professional 2006 Highlights – partner Randon Adams
• Won the fourth round at the Wrangler NFR with a time of
• Co-champion at the St. Paul (Ore.) Rodeo.
• Won the Guy Weadick Memorial Rodeo (High River, Alberta).
• Won the 46th annual Daines Ranch Rodeo (Innisfail, Alberta).
• PRCA Resistol Rookie of the Year in team roping (heading), 2003.
Q: Jay, we haven’t had the opportunity to introduce you to our readers, and before we’ve had the chance, you’ve decided to change career paths and leave professional team roping. Tell us more about that.
Jay: I played football in high school and ever since I graduated high school I wanted to go play college football at a small college somewhere. I went to high school in Moapa Valley High School in Logandale Nev. My junior year we won state, my senior year we played in the state title game and lost by a touchdown. My senior year I had bad ankles and I was roping a lot. I took more snaps in my junior year than I did my senior year. I never did take full advantage of football because I was roping, but I just kept throwing. I like the position and I love football. I just kept doing it to see if one day I could play.
I just got married in June. After the Finals last year, I wanted to take some time off but Randon [Jay’s older brother and team roping partner] didn’t have anyone else to rope with, so I ended up staying out rodeoing this year longer than I wanted to. It finally came to a point this year where it was just heck or high water where it was either go to school now or never get a chance to play.
Q: So how did the chance come up?
Jay: I had told my high school coach that I wanted to keep playing ever since I graduated. My coach and I were good friends and it ended up in a bad deal. I was missing practice to rodeo and he wasn’t playing me and he was frustrated because I had the talent to be good. I was just young and stupid. I told him I was sorry for all that, but I’d like to keep playing.
This is a little school, Southern Virginia University, and the coach there, Mike Smith, knew my high school coach and he mentioned me to him. That’s how I heard about it. I emailed the guy with some stats and he called me and that’s how it got set up.
I met up with him and threw the ball. It was during Reno and it was a weird deal, I hadn’t gotten to throw to good receivers since I was in high school. I’d throw the ball a lot just at the trailer and stuff. I took some cleats out there and threw to a kid from Utah and it went as good as I could have ever imagined it going-just like I’d been practicing the whole time.
We got in the van and we were riding back and I told him, “Mr. Smith, I want you to be honest with me, tell me if I have the tools or if I don’t. I don’t want to waste your time or my time. If I don’t have what it takes to be a college quarterback, I can go back to rodeo for a little while and then start a life. It’s no problem.”
He said that I had it, but it would take some work. I’ve never run the spread offense, which is what they run. He told me he thought it would work and I just said that if there’s something I don’t have I’ll try to make up for it through my work ethic. Really and truly I just wanted to play so bad. He found me and I found him and that’s how it happened.
I’m not promised anything. I’m giving up my rodeo career basically on a whim: To see if I got it or see if I don’t. I believe that I do, but I’m not sure.
Q: Tell us more about SVU.
Jay: It’s real small, about 1,000 students, and it’s an LDS-based school. You don’t have to be Mormon to go, but they base their principles on the LDS religion. It’s a good deal for me. I’m 22 now, most of those kids at BYU don’t play until they’re 22 because they’ve been on missions. I’m a little bit nervous, it’s been a long time since I’ve taken a snap under center. I’ve been working out and I think good things will come around. I’ve been working with some quarterback coaches that I never had in high school. I taught myself how to throw, and they’ve helped me out a lot. I’ve made big strides in the little time I’ve worked with them. It’ll be fun, a chance to get away, get back in shape and go over there where I can start living with my wife so we can get to bond with each other.
Q: How did you and your wife meet?
Jay: Actually, we met through the temple in Las Vegas. I was at home practicing for the NFR and I went to the LDS temple one night and I met her mom and her sister and got stuck on a blind date and it just went from there. We dated for about five months and then got married. I knew she was the one. I always told myself that if I found a girl like my mom I was going to marry her. She was just like my mom and I said, you know what, I’m young still, but I’ve got to do it.
Q: Why did you decide to rope rather than play football in the first place?
Jay: I graduated when I was 17 and if you know my dad at all, you know he’s quite the competitor. He just kind of pushed me to do that deal. Plus, since I didn’t have as many stats my senior year, it just kind of seemed like the thing to do at the time. I’ve thought about it every year since I graduated. This is just the first year I could sit down and say, all right, I’m going to do this.
Q: How hard was it to quit rodeoing in the middle of the season?
Jay: A lot of people think it’s crazy because I’ve got like $25,000 won, which isn’t a whole lot, but it’s a chance. A lot of guys would like to have that. A day after I quit entering, Cody Cowden came up and asked if I’d rope with him. I thought about it and for about 10 hours I was going to do it. I told Cody, “I don’t really want to, but I will.” I finally called him and said, “You know, if I was going to stay out here I would rope with Randon, I never would have cut him. So I’m just going to have to pass.”
That was a tough deal. First of all, it was tough to cut Randon because he and I are real close. Randon throws the football with me and we always have arena football games and stuff because he knows that’s what I like to do. I love roping with Randon. He ropes fast, which helps me a lot. But then to have to turn Cody down was just as tough. He’s a really good friend of mine, I’ve always wanted to rope with him and we did good at the George Strait and the Mike Cervi, but it just wasn’t the right time.
Q: Randon, though, is going to rope with Matt Sherwood, right? I bet he’s excited for that.
Jay: Yeah, he is. He’d sit and tell you all day he wishes he were
roping with me, we’re just that close. We had a special thing.
We come from a close family and we love each other a lot. We have something you couldn’t get anywhere else.
Q: Speaking of family, how is your dad? I heard he had a pretty bad scare.
Jay: He’s doing real good, thanks for asking. He had a little bit of cancer but they got in there and got it out. It was a tough time for my family. But it was good because it made my dad really stop and think because he’s a really busy, successful guy. It was good for him to sit and think and gather everything up and realize you’re here one day but could be gone the next. It was good for all of us, really. It brought our whole family together.
Q: After college is over, will you come back to rope?
Jay: I’ll probably come back to roping for a year or two. I’m more of a jackpot-type header. I always like them better. I’ve got good horses, my dad has really helped me out with that, and I try to keep them good so I don’t reach a lot-just enough to make the Finals. I’ll probably come back and do it for a year or two to make the Finals to prove to people that it just wasn’t a one-time deal. But I’ll always rope. I don’t like traveling-especially now that I’m married. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke and I don’t go to the bar. I have a good time out here, but it just wears on me a little bit. I love to rope, but the rodeo deal is just not for me.
Q: I guess you’ll be pretty busy this fall, anyway, though.
Jay: Quarterbacks report to school on August 1st. I’ve been working out hard and I’ll be working out hard once I get there. I’ve got some cleats and I throw it around quite a bit. I broke my driver’s finger playing catch with him. He was my best receiver. He had to go get a cast on. After I lost him, my wife didn’t really like how hard I throw it.
Q: Well, good luck in the new career.
Jay: Thanks, we’ll talk to you later.