Spin:Not many of our readers are probably aware of you, but you’ve got an interesting story. In addition to team roping, you ride bareback horses. Tell us about how you came to compete in both events.
Josi: A lot of people know that my dad (Mickey Young) was a bareback rider and qualified for the Finals 11 times and was three times runner up to the world champion, so I had a pretty good coach in the bareback riding. He was always putting on rodeo schools and stuff like that growing up and I was always involved in that, but from day one I’ve always had a rope in my hand. I was just attracted to it. I was always the one packing a rope around the house. I wasn’t too interested in riding bucking horses and I got a lot of flack from people growing up. People would say, ‘You’ve got such a great coach, why don’t you ride bucking horses?’ I was scared to death of the things, but I couldn’t really handle the pressure everybody was giving me, so I went ahead and tried it. I didn’t really like it a lot my first couple of years but as soon as I started figuring it out, I kind of started taking a liking to it. That’s how things kind of fell into place. I’ve always roped.
Spin:Your dad obviously had a huge influence in your bareback riding. Who helped you out in the team roping?
Josi: My dad kind of knew all those top guys being at rodeos. I always watched videos and I went to a Jake Barnes school and a Clay O’Brien Cooper school and stuff like that. Another big influence was a world champion trick roper named Gene McLaughlin. I got to know him at the senior pro rodeos when my dad was picking up. I was around him quite a bit and he taught me a few tricks and trick roping is something I’m real interested in. I’m always screwing around with my rope and playing out matches and stuff like that. Someone once told me that if you know how to handle your rope, you’ll be alright.
Spin:Does the trick roping help with your competition at all?
Josi: Yes, actually, just stupid little stuff, like if you’re at an average roping and your rope figure eights, I’ve got all kinds of stupid little quirky stuff I know to get that figure eight out even faster. Just learning how to use your rope. It’s all part of the game. Who cares what it looks like as long as you’re the fastest.
Spin:How long have you been rodeoing?
Josi: I bought my permit in 2000 when I turned 18 and filled it in three rodeos. I went ahead and bought my card in 2001.
Spin:What have been some of your biggest or favorite wins?
Josi: I’ve won quite a few rodeos, but one of my favorites was at Idaho Falls in the bareback riding last year because they upped the prize money to $10,000 and it’s right there in my home state and they gave a nice rifle away. It’s a fun rodeo. Last year in the team roping in Evanston, Wyoming, we set a new arena record.
Spin:Sounds like you’ve really had some early success. How long have you been going full-time?
Josi: Last year was the first year I went hard and I only went in the bareback riding. I stuck close to home in the team roping. This year I’ve ventured out in the team roping. It’s so hard to work both events everywhere. If I was calf roping with my team roping that’d be one thing because I could cross-event buddy them and get in slack and stuff like that when I enter. I could also cross-event buddy in the bareback riding, but I can’t cross-event them if I have to go in the slack somewhere. So you kind of have to pick and choose them a little and that’s where the Tour championships come into play because if you can really kick butt in one of them and get those Tour points and get that extra money, then you have a chance at making the Finals in both ends. That’s my goal, making it to the Finals in both ends of the arena.
Spin:That would be something. Do you know who the last person to do that was?
Josi: I think it was Ace Berry in 1971 or ’72. It’s been a long time.
Spin:As tough as that would be to do, is that a one-time goal kind of thing, or something you’d try to do year in and year out?
Josi: It’s always been a goal and it will be. You always hear them talk about how it was an awesome feat for Ty Murray to qualify in all those events and win so many world titles all in a row. So it would be an awesome feat for me to keep doing it.
Spin:In the meantime, have you thought about trying to qualify for the Linderman award? (To qualify, competitors must win at least $1,000 in three events, at least one being a roughstock and one being a timed-event.)
Josi: Yeah. I’m going to start roping some calves. I’ve had a lot of people ask me about that lately. I roped calves in college and in high school. There’s actually a guy back home, Walter Parks, who told me I was stupid for quitting. He’s a circuit cowboy from back home, but he’s always roped calves tough enough to go to the Finals. He’s won Cheyenne and Salt Lake, but never did go hard enough to make it. So I’m going to try cracking back out and win some money in that event.
Spin:You’re roping with Ryan Powell right now, but do you think keeping a partner in the team roping will be a challenge with your bareback riding?
Josi: So far I haven’t had too many problems with it. Sometimes guys are worried about me getting hurt or not being able to go somewhere, but so far Ryan’s been real supportive of it. So I don’t know, we’ll just have to play it out and see how it goes.
Spin:Is there one event you enjoy more than the other?
Josi: They both have their ups and downs. If you want to just relax when you’re on the road, bareback riding is the way to go. All you need is to throw a gear bag in a car and go. You don’t have to worry about taking care of horses, getting stalls or getting up early and feeding. On the other hand, when you get done team roping, you’re not sore as heck. I can’t really pick a favorite. That’s one good thing about me is that I’m friends with almost everybody in rodeo because I work both ends of the arena. I know everybody. It seems like when I’m team roping, all the bareback riders are lined up on the back of the bucking chutes watching me. Then when I’m in the bareback riding, all the team ropers are lined up watching. The team roping is so much more competitive than the bareback riding. There are some guys that ride really good in the bareback riding, but there are just so many more guys in the team roping. Plus, there are so many variables with the steer, the horse and two guys that anything can happen. Bareback is kind of my breadwinner right now.
Spin:Are you able to get your horse to most rodeos or do you have to mount out at all?
Josi: I’ve been able to bring my horse everywhere. I haven’t had a problem with that at all.
Spin:What are you riding?
Josi: My good horse, I call him Wino, he’s kind of my main gun right now. I’ve got another one I call Cadillac that hasn’t been to a lot of rodeos and I don’t really trust him out here yet.
Spin:How about in the bareback riding, is there a horse you’d love to draw or that you match up with really well?
Josi: One of my favorite horses as far as rider-friendly is Coconut Roll from Calgary. I only got a chance to get on her once in Innisfail, Alberta, and she didn’t have her trip. It was real muddy and she kind of got bound up in the mud, but I wouldn’t mind getting on her again. There’s a horse that was bucking horse of the year last year, Real Deal of Stace Smith’s, and I got on him twice last year, once at Springdale, Ark., and once at Ogden, Utah. The first time I was on him I was fixing to be 90-some points and right at the whistle, my hand blew out of the rigging and he back-doored me and kicked me with both feet right in the chest and broke some ribs.
So, it wasn’t three weeks later and I was just kind of getting my wind back and I had him drawn again at Ogden. My heart went to throbbing because I had a little more respect for him this time, but on the other hand, I wanted to get even with him. At about 5 seconds he whipped me down and ended up breaking a bone in my hand and getting me again. I’m real anxious to get on him again. I’m riding real good now and I kind of know what he is. I wouldn’t mind setting the score even with him.
Spin:What’s the most you’ve been on a bareback horse and the fastest you’ve been team roping?
Josi: Eighty-seven in the bareback riding and 4.2 when we set that arena record in Evanston. That was one of those deals where we came across and I thought I’d broke it, so I just hurried and got one out of my hand and my heeler just hammered him on the corner.
Spin:What do you do when you’re not rodeoing?
Josi: I like to do a lot of different things. In the winter, I like to go snowboarding. I like to hunt and that kind of stuff, but I’ve boxed ever since I was eight years old. I’ve had quite a few boxing matches and I like to do that and I’ve picked up wakeboarding and that’s pretty fun.
Spin:Wow, quite a set of varied interests. We’re running out of room, but I was wondering if your name has anything to do with the Clint Eastwood movie.
Josi: No, actually my real name’s Josiah, but my parents wanted to call me Josi for short. Josiah is out of 2 Kings in the Bible, 2 Kings, chapter 22, verse 2, you’ll see me in there.
Spin:Well, from bareback riding to team roping to boxing and the Bible, I feel like we covered it all. Thanks for taking the time to visit with us.
Josi: Sounds good. Talk later.