Still on the Edge

photo by Matt Cohen / Cowboy Journal

photo by Matt Cohen / Cowboy Journal

I might make the NFR, but it’s hard to know for sure.

by Jessie Telford

I split my horses for the first time this year to get to as many rodeos as I can. After the Omaha slack on Friday morning, my friend Jackie hauled Shu Fire down to Stephenville, and I headed to the airport to catch a flight to Utah in time to make the 7:00 p.m. rodeo at Mona.

I bumped into Rhen Richard and his roping partner Quinn Kesler at the airport. We boarded the plane and then sat on the tarmac for over an hour until they finally announced that a flap on the wing was stuck. It was not going up and down like it was supposed to. They said it was going to take at least three hours to fix it. By that point, it was almost 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon. There’s no way we’re going to make the rodeo, I thought.

I wasn’t sure where Rhen and Quinn were sitting, but I texted Rhen. “You got any connections for a private plane?”

He texted back that all of their connections were in Utah and Texas. There wasn’t enough time to get any planes in from there to fly us out to Mona.

In Kansas City, I had stayed with a guy named Bryan Beaver. He has deep rodeo connections. His grandfather was on the American Royal rodeo committee at Kansas City. So was his Dad. So is Bryan. And from my conversations with him, I knew he was a big oil guy. I called him and explained our predicament.

“Do you know of anyone who might have a private plane near Omaha?” I asked.

“You know what,” he said. “I have an airplane in Kansas City. That’s a forty-five minute flight from Omaha. Let me call my pilot and see where they are.”

photo courtesy of Jessie Telford

photo courtesy of Jessie Telford

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In the meantime, we all exited the plane and were mingling in the airport. I found Rhen and Quinn, and then we met up with two tie-down ropers headed to Mona, Ryan Jarrett and Blane Cox. I didn’t know them, but you see the cowboy hats, and you just kind of know they’re rodeoing. I asked if they’d be willing to pitch in and pay for fuel for a chance to get to Mona on a private plane, and they were all in.

The crew happened to be cleaning the plane when Bryan called. They jumped in, took off and picked us up in Omaha. It was a fun flight. They dropped us right outside of Mona.

We weren’t in the clear yet!

The clock was ticking this whole time. The rodeo started at 7:00 p.m. By the time we landed in Spanish Fork, Utah, it was 7:30. Rhen’s wife was there in their pickup. She literally chased the plane as it taxied. As soon as the plane stopped, we all bailed out. Rhen got in and drove a little too fast. By time we got to Mona, they had done the grand entry, bareback riding and steer wrestling, and they were loading the steers for the team roping.

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I wish I could say that Rhen had some luck in the team roping, but he didn’t. Ryan split second and third in the calf roping and Blane placed sixth to win money. I was back on Cool Whip and won second in the barrel racing for another eleven-hundred dollars. Getting to Mona was worth the effort.

After that, as planned, me and Cool Whip jumped in with bulldoggers Blake Knowles and Nick Guy and drove to California. I won second at Poway yesterday, which added fourteen hundred to my total. Last night, I ran at San Bernardino and left placing first!

When it starts working, and you get on a roll, it’s easy to stay confident.

Last night I caught a midnight flight out of LAX back to Dallas-Forth Worth. I was up today in Stephenville, back on Shu Fire for my last run of the year. She ran good, but not good enough to place.

This whole crazy run has been awesome. I’ve been texting and calling Jake and the kids. They’ve been on the edge of their seats. It’s the same with my parents, my brother and all my friends. With everything that’s happened this past week, it looks like I might have a chance to make the NFR, but it’s hard to know for sure at this point.

I guess we’re still on the edge of our seats!

Read more about the CINCH JEANS and Classic Equine athletes fighting to make the NFR. Follow #theCjHASE

photo by Matt Cohen

photo by Matt Cohen


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