So you want to be a cowboy and work in a rodeo. Pahrump cowboy Jared Groene does just that. Groene is a full-time cowboy. He not only works the rodeos, but also competes in a few too.
When we last spoke to Groene he wanted to be a rodeo team roper. That was in 2014 as a senior in high school, but things change.
He did become a team roper professionally. Groene has a Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association card, but that’s not how he makes his living.
He makes his living by working in rodeos and he loves every minute of it.
Groene would be the first one to tell you he started late in the sport of rodeo, but really that is deceiving.
In reality, his entire life has been spent getting him prepared for a life in rodeo. While in high school he competed in high school rodeo for two years, cutting and team roping.
Groene started riding a horse when he was 4 years old.
He did years of rodeo competitions before high school, took a break, and then had two years of high school rodeo.
In high school he made the high school nationals his senior year. That year he was ranked in the top three in the state. In his junior year he missed going to the nationals by .25 points.
After he graduated, Groene got his PRCA rodeo card, but over the last couple of years he has found that working in rodeos is just as satisfying as being a contestant in rodeos.
“I still compete in rodeos, but my main focus is my job,” he said. “I really haven’t done a whole lot of team roping, maybe $600 in prize money. Now I would much rather be a pickup man for rodeos.”
Groene spent last summer working as a pickup man in a rodeo in upstate New York.
Pickup men in rodeos, he explained, take bronc riders off their horses if they stay on the bronc. These men also are tasked with protecting the riders when they fall off. Groene also said he does this for bullriders too.
“Our job is to get the rider to safety when he gets in a wreck (if riders can’t get off the horse due to being tangled up),” Groene said. “When that happens, we want to rope the horse and get the guy safely off.”
He said has seen some bad wrecks where the rider is just hanging from the horse and is being tossed around by the bronc like a rag doll.
“I have seen broken legs and I have seen guys get trampled by their horses,” he said.
Groene now sees his job as the ideal dream job.
“Welcome to my office,” he said as he sat on his horse, driving cattle out of a pen. “I work on my horse. I now own 9 horses, I spend anywhere from two to four hours on my horse when working as a pickup man. I guess I can say that I like helping people.”
His mother, Judy Groene, definitely does not believe in the song lyrics that says “mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys.” Judy Groene fully supports her cowboy son and is proud of his accomplishments. She said her son loves working rodeos.
“I think he is following in his dad’s footsteps,” she said. “When he is not being a pickup man, he is working bulls with his father and setting up for the PBR (Professional Bull Riders).”
She explained that her husband is a retired bullfighter and he now sets up for the PBR, the Ford Tough Series.
When Jared Groene helps his father set up, this means he has to help put together all the horse rails.
“I love it,” he said. “Those are our gym days. We really don’t have to be members of a gym working for a rodeo.”
All the hours Jared Groene spent training to compete in rodeos have also trained him to work in a rodeo, but just because you have all the training doesn’t mean you will get hired.
Working with rodeos are hard jobs to get.
“You almost have to know someone,” Jared Groene said. “And once you have the job they keep you. To work in a rodeo, you have to be able to work with livestock and have a horse that is used to working with livestock. Those skills are not easy to find in a horse.”
He said his dream job would be working with the NFR as a pickup man.
When asked if he minded being on the road so much, he replied, “Not really, I just bought this truck and I already have 15,000 miles on it.”
Jared Groene travels with his horses and one might say he is like an old-fashioned cowboy for he sleeps with them too. The horse trailer he pulls has a sleeper in it.
-Contact sports editor Vern Hee at firstname.lastname@example.org