Get to know reigning Women’s Professional Rodeo Association World Champion Jordon Briggs.
BHN: Who was your first real barrel horse?
BRIGGS: “My first real barrel horse was a half-pony when I was probably 8 or 9. His name was Apple Jacks, and we bought him from the Cresta family in California. He did everything—barrels, poles, flags—he was just the perfect little ranch pony. He was very spunky. He was really cool. He was bay with a big bald face, and [my mom’s great horse French Flash Hawk] ‘Bozo’ was chestnut with a big bald face. He was the pony we took rodeoing. He was Bozo’s best friend. Bozo had a companion pony before it was cool.
“Apple Jacks was just a big part of why I fell in love with barrel racing and being competitive, and he was just amazing. He retired and died on our a place of old age. I still had him through college. Until Apple Jacks, I just rode my dad’s rope horses or ranch horses and plow-reined around the barrels. But Apple Jacks was legit.”
Did you get to ride Bozo much growing up?
“I started running him when I was 12. Apple Jacks was pretty dang fast. I had a couple horses between Apple Jacks and Bozo, just colts that were gentle that I ran through the barrels, but they weren’t nearly as good as Apple Jacks, so honestly Bozo was my step-up from Apple Jacks.
“The first time I ran Bozo, I was 12 at the Pikes Peak or Bust jackpot in the outdoor arena. That’s where I grew up and where we were from, so everybody ran to the fence to watch. My mom led me down that big old long alleyway, and she nearly led me all the way to the eye until somebody yelled, “You’re gonna have to let go, Kristie!” And she did, and I’ll never forget when she finally did let go and he took off to the first barrel. I could have passed out because of that roller-coaster stomach feeling. He was on total autopilot and ran the barrels.”
Who was next after Bozo?
“My next big-time horse was Classy French Paint. We bought him out of the first Myers Performance Horses Sale, and he was a crop-out Paint. My mom trained him, but he was real rate-y and spooky. I think I was 14, and Mom just could not get him around the barrels at the futurities, so she put me on him and we went to Fort Smith to the Old Fort Days Futurity. Fort Smith was my first futurity at 14 years old. He was extremely trained, but you had to ride him [a little wild], and that’s what I was at that age. I stingy-batted him through the barrels, and we made the short round at Fort Smith. I won the Martha Josey Jr. World on him, I won Shawnee on him and then I went to college. That’s when I got Roll With Ease that I ran at The American in 2016; he was a full sibling to Mr Cinnamon Roll.
“Then there was Frenchmans Jester. I won the Barrel Futurities of America World Championship Futurity on ‘Jester’ in 2006 when I was 18. So, Classy French Paint was my high school rodeo horse. I won all four years of my regions on him, and when I went to college, I sold him. He went on with [Lindsey Ewing] to win the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association Rookie of the Year [in 2010]. That’s when I [decided to keep] Jester, and it went from there.”
What is one thing riding so many different horses has taught you?
“I’ve ridden a lot of horses that were talented, easy to train and barrels were easy. But there’s certain horses that just love to run barrels, and they’re going to do it for a very long time. That’s very hard to find. I haven’t felt that since Bozo until I got [Famous Lil Jet] ‘Rollo.’ I think the Dash Ta Fames are quirky enough and silly enough that I don’t think barrel racing gets old to them. I hope I’m right, but I think they’ll just run barrels for a long time as hard as they can.”
What would you consider your keys to success throughout your career?
“Doing my homework, being very prepared, and also waiting my turn for it to be my time. I feel like there’s a lot of horses I could have rodeoed on that would have been really good. But I waited, because I do this for a living and have to be pretty smart about it to make it worth the while, so I sold those horses. I didn’t really plan to rodeo again, but Rollo was just that really special horse I knew could make a living doing it and make it make sense. So, just doing your homework, being prepared and waiting your turn for it not to be difficult and hard on you.”
What does that mean for you to grow up with such a legendary horse like Bozo and now have one of your own that you trained yourself?
“It’s amazing how life-changing horses can be. To own a horse that can help support my family is amazing. Every day I just try to be extremely grateful that I get to wake up and do what I love for an actual living. I’m very appreciative that Rollo pays our bills.”