If JoJo Lemond didn’t enter the final round high call on a 4-year-old who had never previously been entered and fire every inch of his heel rope in the corner of the arena to grab a $33,000 check at the Roping Futurities of America, would he even be JoJo Lemond?
That’s exactly how things played out during the Heeling Slot Roping on Wednesday, February 15 in Abilene, Texas. Lemond rode Hollywood Texas Ace, a 2019 stallion by Hollywood White owned by Randall and Andi Hall. Lemond had a pretty good feeling about what the buckskin could do at the RFA.
“Thirty days ago, I said ‘I’m going to win it on the little dun horse,” Lemond said. “I can catch on him, and I’m going to win it on him. I trusted him.”
It wasn’t an easy route to the win. Lemond knocked them down over three rounds, but when he backed in the box as the last roper, he knew he had a steer that ran hard. NFR header Coy Rahlmann turned him, and Lemond had to act fast when he didn’t get in the hole as well as he wanted to stay under the 9.9 seconds of clearance he had between him and the $33,000 win.
“When he got away from me so far, I had two choices: throw it and try him on, or kick back to him,” Lemond said. “I knew if I kicked back to him, we weren’t going to win. So, I tried him, and it worked out. Praise the Lord he jumped in it. When things are going right, things just work out.”
And things were going right all week long for Lemond.
Prior to the heeling slot roping, Lemond showed up in the heading slot aboard Boomer Suener, a 2019 stallion owned by Lincoln Farms and by Boon Too Soon and went for blood in the rounds after a rough start to the roping. That looked like times of 5.34 and 4.55 seconds, respectively. Both wins were worth $4,000, giving the 2019 stallion $8,000 to kick off his roping career.
“We call him Chimmy,” Lemond explained. “The Allsups raised him, so he carries their brand. And I mean, they’ve got those chimichangas at the gas stations—my boys named him. I like it.”
After missing out on the big check in the slot on Chimmy, Lemond cracked out with a round win in the $10,000-added heading futurity with a 7.04-second run, worth $1,000. Then, he played it smart and stayed solid through the roping to snag the $6,000 aggregate win with a total of 35.06 on four head. Not only was Chimmy on his game in the heading all week long, Lemond was also swapping ends during the heading futurity on the gelding, plus had him entered in the heeling futurity. Lemond and his family helped set the gelding up for success, no matter which direction he was destined to go.
“He could have been a cow horse easily, but I don’t know enough to help him there” Lemond said. “We just used him a lot. We turned back on him every day, and if the boys are roping, I head and heel on him. My daughter just loves him and does all the loping on him. He’s great minded, well bred and just a smart horse.”
Lemond made the decision to come off the ProRodeo trail in (year), but he hasn’t lost his edge. He spends his days not only training top rope horses, but also cutting and reined cow horse prospects.
And Lemond doesn’t just rope fast—he trains fast. Both Ace and Chimmy came to him behind the curve. Chimmy showed up at Lemond’s as a halter broke coming 3-year-old in January of 2022, and Ace was put under saddle in March of 2022—just 11 months before the 2023 RFA.
Lemond has come a long way from the kid who entered his first four rodeos on a loan in exchange for half his earnings, and now it’s time for him to enjoy the life he clawed to build. Lemond learned during his first RFA in 2022 what he needed to do to win, and he returned in 2023 to fulfill that promise to himself. He sang his praises to the RFA for the production, the payout and the opportunity to capitalize and show off his horses. He also extended his gratitude to the owners who have entrusted him and his family with their horses throughout the years in cutting, roping and barrel racing disciplines.
“I get to do what get to do because of my clients,” Lemond said. “It’s just amazing the people that support us. I get to ride a lot of great horses because of them.”