What started as a family vacation has turned into a nice financial whirlwind for Jason Evans.
He left a few weeks ago on a month-long voyage with his family – wife, April; son, Canyon; and daughters, Paisley and Hartley – all while competing on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association circuit. They've done all sorts of fun, tourist things along the way, but Evans has roped pretty well, too.
He wrapped his second steer roping title in as many weeks on Tuesday by tying down three steers in a cumulative time of 34.8 seconds to win the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo championship and one of the most sought-after trophies in the sport, the Roundup buckle.
“I've placed in a lot of rounds and placed in the average over the years, but this is the first time I've won it,” said Evans, who owns an insurance agency in Huntsville, Texas. “This is one of those buckles that when you see it, you know you want to win it.”
Evans placed in two go-rounds – his 11.7 in the second round was good enough for a tie for fifth place, while his 10.7 in the third round earned him third-place money – and earned $4,124 in the process. A week ago, he also earned the championship in Deadwood, S.D., pocketing $3,676 in the process.
So what does it take to be successful?
“I want to do the things I practice at home and work on and prepare for,” said Evans, who estimates he has won more than $20,000 in the 15 years he's competed in Dodge City. “This is where you test it. It's nice to get some success.”
Yes, it is. Of course, he doesn't take all the credit.
“My horse is working really good, so that helps a lot,” he said of Choctaw, a 16-year-old bay gelding he got from friend Bill Pearson. “I was focused on just doing the best I can on my steers and not worrying about what the others do on theirs … just go make my runs. If I win first, great; if it's then, then it's whatever it is.”
Evans began steer roping at the age of 13. Now 30 years later, he is still successful at it when he's not focused on his business in Huntsville.
“I used to calf rope, and I roped steers secondary,” he said. “About 10 to 12 years ago, I started my business, and I have a family now, so I quit calf roping and just rope steers.”
Between those two, it's difficult for a cowboy to be able to earn that coveted trip to the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping, which is reserved only for the top 15 cowboys on the money list at the conclusion of the regular season. But he would savor that challenge should it ever appear.
Page 2 of 2 - “I'll go to the rodeos I can,” Evans said. “If I do good, I'll make the finals. If I don't do good, I won't. I'm OK with that.”
Dodge City Roundup Rodeo
Steer roping: First round: 1. Trevor Brazile, 8.9 seconds, 1,929; 2. Jess Tierney, 10.4, $1,596; 3. Joe Wells, 11.2, $1,264; 4. Tony Reina, 11.3, $931; 5. Brodie Poppino, 11.4, $599; 6. Brent Lewis, 11.7, $333. Second round: 1. Chet Herren, 10.7 seconds, $1,929; 2. Jarrett Blessing, 10.8, $1,596; 3. (tie) Howdy McGinn and Roger Branch, 11.6, $1,097 each; 5. (tie) Jason Evans and Chance Kelton, 11.7, $466 each. Third round: 1. Dan Fisher, 10.1 seconds, $1,929; 2. Chet Herren, 10.3, $1,596; 3. Jason Evans, 10.7, $1,264; 4. Corey Ross, 10.9, $931; 5. Vin Fisher Jr., 11.0, $599; 6. Mike Chase, 11.1, $333. Average: 1. Jason Evans, 34.8 on three runs, $2,893; 2. Roger Branch, 39.2, $2,394; 3. Jess Tierney, 41.7, $1,895; 4. Randy Wells, 42.5, $1,397; 5. Mike Outhier, 47.2, $898; 6. Howdy McGinn, 48.1, $499.