LAS VEGAS – The rankest group of bucking horses awaits the bareback riders Thursday at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
That’s the “eliminator” pen of horses, the hardest-to-ride horses in the game. Wednesday’s seventh go-round featured the second toughest horses, and it took true grit to pull off a winning score inside the Thomas & Mack Center.
Evan Jayne did just that, marking a 75-point ride on Calgary Stampede’s Trail Dust to finish fifth. For that, he earned $4,320.
Jayne has been solid for the last week. He has placed four out of seven rounds and pocketed nearly $44,000. He sits fifth in the world standings with $146,808. In rodeo, dollars equal championship points, so the contestants in each event that finish the campaign with the most money will be crowned world champions.
This is, by far, the best season for the Marseille, France, cowboy. He has earned as much in 2015 as he did in the previous six seasons combined. In his first NFR, Jayne has proven that he not only belongs among the top 15 bareback riders in the world, he also has made a significant push to earn the world championship.
As the final three nights of the season wind to a close, four-time reigning world champion Kaycee Feild leads the world standings by more than $34,000 over the No. 2 man, Steven Peebles. Jayne is more than $50,000 behind Peebles. Jayne’s chances to claim the gold buckle are slim, but he knows there’s a lot of money to be won.
Jayne moved to the United States 17 years ago because he had rodeo dreams. He was part of the Foreign Exchange Program, and it landed him in Magnolia, Texas, where he lived with the Rigby family. After his time in the program as a junior in high school was exhausted, he returned to Texas, attended private school and continued to compete in rodeo.
In fact, he won the Texas High School Rodeo Association’s bareback riding championship in 2000, then went on to Sam Houston State University on a rodeo scholarship.
Now he’s playing on ProRodeo’s biggest stage in Sin City, and he’s taking in every aspect of this dream season.