Sons spurred by father’s roughstock riding success

Carr Vincent, of Des Moines hangs on during the bareback riding competition Friday at the 34th annual Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Rodeo at the Curry County Mounted Patrol Arena. Photo by Eric Kluth

By Ryan Lengerich

Heath and Jarrod Ford’s father has what they wanted — a set of spurs from the Clovis rodeo.

In the 1986 Pioneer Days PRCA Rodeo, bareback bronc rider Glen Ford won a set of spurs given to the event champion.

When Heath Ford mounted his bareback bronc at Saturday night’s annual event, he wore the very spurs his father won 18 years earlier.

One of his other sons, Jarrod Ford, also competed for his shot at the prize but Heath and Jarrod Ford failed to place in their events.

“I have rode some of the same places, the same horses, the same everything,” Heath Ford said of his father. “You don’t get time to think about it but when you look back on it, it is really a neat deal.”

Heath Ford, a 26-year-old from Greeley, Colo., is ranked 18th in the world for bareback bronc riding, he said. He was a three-time Rocky Mountain region champion and finished in the collegiate top-10 three years as a rider at Central Wyoming College and the University of Wyoming.

He began competing in junior rodeos in 1990, about the time his father retired after riding for three decades.

Heath Ford said the Ford family has a tradition of bareback riders extending to cousins and uncles.

Jarrod Ford, however, is a bull rider. He said a couple kicks to the head by barebacks as a youngster prompted the change. The 24-year-old also resides in Greeley and rodeos full-time.

Jarrod Ford said that while Clovis is not the largest rodeo, having a chance to win the spurs as his father did makes the event special.

“That is one of the reasons I come here,” Jarrod Ford said. “It would just be neat to be able to win the same place he did.”

A near capacity crowd turned out for the final performance of the three-day rodeo that concluded Saturday night despite a powerful hail storm and severe thunderstorms.

Competing in rodeos full-time, Heath Ford said he travels almost each week. Since January, he said he has been home only twice.

Jarrod Ford said he was fortunate growing up in a family where rodeo was a way of life. Competing with his brother where his father was once king was a thrill, he said.

“Some people are football players and their family are football players like Peyton Manning and them,” Jarrod Ford said. “We got rodeo in our blood, it’s a pretty neat deal.”