Coming from Oklahoma Steven Wayne Jones was a fireman for 30 years but his weekends belonged to the rodeo. His rodeo career has included many aspects.
Jones, who has lived in Rogersville for the past 10 years, has been a professional bucking horse rider. Then he became a top known bull rider.
Getting on the ground, he became part of the cowboy protection team as a bullfighter. Today you’ll find Jones as the rodeo clown for Triple T Farms, standing behind the barrel or perhaps inside the barrel in full clown bright attire and makeup.
Jones doesn’t want to take the credit from the rodeo for himself but he is a rodeo clown for Triple T Farms.
He recently told The Review his story of falling in love with the rodeo. As a teenager Jones often went to horse sale auctions where he began his passion for bucking broncs.
Some horses he rode through were broken and some were not but he rode them anyway for the potential buyers. By the time Jones was 18 he decided to try riding in the rodeos, feeling confident from his practice at the auctions. He rode the bucking horses and became even more inspired after winning a few checks.
Jones went on to become a Fireman with a 30 year career in Oklahoma. Every weekend if there was a rodeo Jones was there.
THE LAST EVENT IS ALWAYS THE MAIN ATTRACTION
“The last event in rodeo is always the main attraction, and that is bull riding,” remarked Jones. At one rodeo there weren’t enough bull riders who had entered. So Jones paid his fees to ride, got on a bull and won! He rode professional rodeo bulls for years, and as competitive as he was, he knew he couldn’t ride forever.
Once Jones was given some good advice from Keith Isley, who provided entertainment as a rodeo clown from Regionals in North Carolina.
At 35 years old, Jones was told by Isley it is safer on the ground. Jones once again would make a career adjustment as “cowboy protection” as a bullfighter and he became very good at it.
Jones was voted four times best in the field at the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association, 12 circuits in all during his cowboy protection years.
“A rider gets only 8 seconds on a bull. He does not know where he will land,” Jones said. “The cowboy protection is critical for the safety of the cowboy.”
Jones has sustained a few injuries in his rodeo career. “I was in Greenville, Texas on the ground as a bullfighter when a bull smashed me into the fence resulting in 38 stitches and becoming permanently deaf in one ear.”
But his worst injury was in Oklahoma as an uprising superstar on the circuit.
He was on the ground as cowboy protection when a bull hooked a horn into his groin area.
“There was a lot of blood because he hit the main artery. Luckily for me, the bull riders’ Mother was present and she happened to be a nurse. Using pressure she was able to keep me from bleeding to death until I was transported to the hospital.”
But he knew, just like not being able to ride forever, he couldn’t do cowboy protection forever either. Jones had no intention of leaving the rodeo. And here unfolds the making of a rodeo clown. Interestingly, a rodeo clown wears his same signature makeup exactly the same each time as a personal trademark. No two clowns wear makeup exactly the same way.
Triple T Bucking Bulls will be sponsoring a rodeo Sept. 24, at 8 p.m. at Three Bulls Farm 625 Beech Grove Road in Bulls Gap. Jones says stop over and see him. He will tell you a joke and you might even get his autograph if you would like. And of course a picture with him is welcome.
TRIPLE T RANCH
Jones wants credit to go to Triple T Ranch for all they bring to the rodeo. They have a specific breeding program which produces some of the top bulls in professional rodeo.
The better the bull is, the better the cowboy scores. Their bulls receive top notch care whether in rodeo or out in the fields on the ranch. They are well fed and treated with utmost kindness.
Jones wants you to know that a bull is only asked to work for about 16 seconds a month from Triple T Ranch. The remaining time is spent doing what bulls do, eating and breeding.
Triple T does not use bucking straps over their testicals Instead, they use a humane flankroap which basically tickles them underneath causing them to buck.
All of the bucking horses are mares because they are easier to handle than stallions During a rodeo event, the bulls and horses are all fed breakfast long before any human being.
At the end of a bulls rodeo career Triple T does not send them to slaughter. Instead they live out their lives on the ranch at Triple T and are used as part of their breeding program. They will remain at the ranch until they die and then are buried there.
According to Jones, Triple T is well run and an honor to work for. They are top notch professionals, never any type of negativity and everyone does their jobs well. Matt and Brain Turnmire are owners at Triple T along with Matts’ wife, Alice, who is their secretary and who Jones describes as “the backbone of the company.”