Age won’t keep horse from competing in HS nationals |

Age won’t keep horse from competing in HS nationals

JT Bradley and 21-year-old Jiggs bested a tough bunch of competitors to earn the championship saddle in the Nebraska High School Rodeo Association steer wrestling. Photo by Linda Teahon

What does a 21 year old horse and a 18 year old cowboy have in common? They are paired up in steer wrestling and are both headed to the National High School Rodeo Finals July 17-23 at the Cam-Plex in Gillette, Wyoming.

JT Bradley of Brewster, Nebraska tied for first and second in steer wrestling at the Nebraska High School Rodeo Finals recently in Hastings. He also won the cutting division, placed fourth in calf roping and won the all-around bringing home three saddles to add to the three he had already won in previous years of high school rodeo finals.

JT graduated in a class of five seniors this spring from Sandhills High School in Dunning. He competed in Junior High Rodeo and went to nationals in seventh grade. In high school rodeo he has competed all four years at state and national finals. His younger brother Zack just returned from the National Junior High School Rodeo Finals in Tennessee placing 15th in team roping.

The white horse JT will be dogging from is Jiggs, who this spring came out of retirement to put JT in the winners circle. Jiggs was raised by Ben and Amy Painter of South Dakota but not papered as he was supposed to be a bay colt. His breeding goes back to Eddie 70.

The light colored horse sold in August 2000 in a consignment sale at O’Neill, Nebraska to Dale Bierma who roped off him. Paul Cleveland of Ogallala used him for roping, too, but then found Jiggs’ real calling when he ran him past a few steers. Jiggs was a bulldogging horse.

He was then bought in 2002 by the Vern Boeser family of Stapleton. Sons Bernie and Luke college and professional rodeoed with him. Boesers considered Jiggs part of the family. In 2010 Jiggs went to live on Goose Creek after he was purchased by Gordon and Amy Simonson of Purdum for their son Dillion. Dillon won the Nebraska High School Rodeo Finals steer wrestling as a senior and placed third at NHSRF. Dillon also college rodeoed on him.

JT rode Jiggs his sophomore and junior years then decided to try another horse his senior year. Things didn’t work out with that horse so Jiggs was offered back to JT this spring. Their first rodeo back together was at Valentine where the pair had their best time ever, a 3.08 winning there. They then traveled to Thedford and won again the next day.

JT is the son of Justin and Tracy Bradley who ranch along the North Loup River in Blaine County. JT mentioned that he gets his best advice from his dad as they work together. He will attend McCook Junior College this fall on a full ride scholarship majoring in ag business.

Being a young man of few words, he was asked how many hours a week he practices and his reply was, “Dark when I get home.” And the advice he uses is “Write your goals down and don’t forget to pray.”

As for Jiggs’ future, Dillon Simonson says Jiggs will be “turned out” after competing in Gillette and live the rest of his days in the Nebraska Sandhills.

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