Ballard High School graduate Nick Jordan has entered the professional rodeo circuit with his first pro ride at the Cinch World’s Toughest Rodeo in Indianapolis earlier this month.
The first ride at the rodeo during the 92nd National FFA Convention was symbolic for Jordan. Just three years prior, he had sat in the audience as a member of the Ballard FFA chapter.
Jordan, who now works as a parts salesman for Van Wall Equipment in Oskaloosa, started his rodeo career at Iowa Central Community College—unusual timing for an athlete looking to go pro, as many rodeo contestants begin at a young age. According to Jordan, rodeo was a dream that was born in his friend’s living room.
“I basically was in my friend’s living room one time, and his dad used to rodeo,” he said. “I was messing around with some of his gear and wanted to try it just for fun and see what it was like.”
Despite Jordan’s few years of experience, Iowa Central rodeo coaches Bridget Lambright and Terry Coleman said he came to them already full of natural talent.
For Coleman, who coaches athletes for the roughstock events like saddle bronc, bareback and bull riding, teaching Jordan the fundamentals of riding bucking horses was like starting with a blank canvas.
“He was very, very raw on the technical side of things,” Coleman said. “It was fun watching the technique build and watch him carry over from the fundamental drills onto horses.”
Jordan just got his permit for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association this fall, which puts him too late to qualify for the 2019 world standings but just in time to get a good start on the 2020 season.
Winter offers some off-season time for Jordan, but he plans to start competing in more rodeos in late February and hit three or four events every week in the summer. By October, he said, he hopes to have won $1,000 to “fill” his permit and be eligible for a PRCA contestant card.
“(Then) I’ll be a professional rodeo cowboy and be eligible for world standings, and hopefully compete in the NFR (National Finals Rodeo),” he said.
According to Coleman, “the sky’s the limit” for Jordan in the pro circuit, as long as he puts in the time and effort to reach the goals he sets for himself.
“If he decides he wants to do it as a living there’s no doubt in my mind that he can make a living riding bucking horses,” Coleman said.
Jordan said he plans to do just that, and wants to gain in skill and make enough money to support a family, quit his day job and rodeo full time.
Jordan rode for a score of 72 points on a horse named Prom Date at the World’s Toughest Rodeo, not enough to place with money earnings. The lowest in-the-money score was a tie for eighth place with a score of 80. However, Jordan said that he was pleased with his ride, and likely would have been even without a score.
“Even if I would have got bucked off, I probably still would have been ok with it because it was just great to be there,” he said.