JOJO LEMOND MOVES IN TO REPLACE PRORODEO HALL-OF-FAMER
JoJo LeMond is returning to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, just not in a way anyone would want.
LeMond, who last competed in Las Vegas in 2010, will replace seven-time world champion Jake Barnes, who suffered a traumatic brain injury and a broken ankle during a practice run Friday. According to a post on Barnes’ Facebook page, his horse fell and stepped on his head.
As of Saturday, Barnes was talking and alert but that the head injury will need time and “lots of peaceful rest. It is too dangerous for him to compete with Junior (Nogueira) at the NFR this year.”
The official notice was released by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association on Monday. Barnes is a ProRodeo Hall of Famer who earned all seven gold buckles with longtime partner and friend Clay O’Brien Cooper. This was to be Barnes’ 27th NFR qualification.
Nogueira sits 12th in the world standings with $71,333. The Brazilian – who lives with Barnes and Barnes’ wife, Toni, in Scottsdale, Ariz. – qualified with his partner each of the past two years. He was the Resistol Rookie of the Year in heeling in 2014.
“Headed out to Las Vegas and you’re not physically here with me but you are in my heart,” Nogueira wrote on his Instagram page, which also had a photo of Barnes on the dashboard of Noguiera’s vehicle. “Thank you for everything you have done for me the last couple of years, I will try to do the best I can for us.
“I love you my partner, my professor, my role model and my hero, forever Jake Barnes.”
LeMond finished 16th in the heading world standings with $65,803. Earlier in November, he competed for the second straight year at the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping, where he placed second in the average. He joins 22-time world champion Trevor Brazile as NFR qualifiers who also competed at the NFSR this year.
In addition to his place in the heading standings, LeMond sits third in the all-around race, behind Brazile and the No. 2 cowboy, four-time tie-down roping world champion Tuf Cooper.
The Jake Barnes Relief Fund GoFundMe account (CLICK HERE), which was established by fellow roper Rickey Green, has set a target of $100,000 to help cover Barnes’ medical expenses.