Cowboy Tales From The Rodeo: It's A Family Affair

Rodeo cowboys basically live on the road, traveling with men and women crazy enough to ride, rope and wrestle live animals for a paycheck. Each day, Hair Balls is asking a different cowboy to tell us a little bit about himself and his wildest story from a life of rodeo.

Name: Jay Adams
Age: 25
Hometown: Las Vegas, Nevada
Event: Team roping

I got into rodeo because my father used to do it when we were all kids. I got four brothers, and two of them are actually competing here at the rodeo with me. We all just kind of lingered around doing it when we were kids; my dad just did it for fun, and we all took it to the next level. I was about five for my first rodeo, and my younger brother was three and a half. I won rookie of the year in 2003, then left to go play football at Southern Virginia University. It's tough to say what my true love is, but football is where it's at for me.

I'm on the road for about 75,000 miles. That's what I put on my truck each year. It gets old, but just like anything else, you can't let it wear on you. If you let it wear on you mentally, it can be a tough ride. You spend a lot of time in the truck, and especially when you're not winning or doing as good as you can, it gets a little old.

I'll quit rodeo when my wife and I start to extend our family, or I don't have the ability to win or don't have the drive. That's not fair to myself or really to my roping partner. By the time my family gets a little bigger, I probably won't be doing this.

If I didn't rodeo, I'd run my sunglass company. I design sunglasses and sell them. It's just something to fall back on. I've never forgotten schooling, and I've always been into doing something else.

In team roping, just like any team sport, there are people who will wear on you, if you spend enough time together. It's cheaper to ride together to the rodeos. I've never let it affect me or my brothers. We've always stayed pretty straight-up on that. Nothing comes in between family, so I've been real fortunate. But it happens, and when it does, two people quit roping together. The hardest thing on a team is contention, and whenever somebody splits up, everybody has a pretty good idea what happened.

The best thing about rodeo is roping with each one of my brothers. I roped with my brother Brandon at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas one year, and he went on to win the world [championship] a couple years later. I currently rope with my little brother, Austin, and we didn't make the finals last year, but missed it by just a little bit. If I couldn't rope with family, I wouldn't rope at all.

The craziest thing that's happened was when we were driving in Canada. I was with my littlest brother who I rope with and another boy. He fell asleep at the wheel and drove us off into a ravine. A few horses got a little banged up, nothing too bad, and all of us walked away from it. It was terrifying. That's why I like to drive, because I feel like I can control it. There was that one time I let my guard down and that's what happened. It just reminded me that it can happen anytime, anywhere.

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Paul Knight
Contact: Paul Knight