French bareback rider a rising star, wows crowd at Greeley Stampede rodeo | TheFencePost.com

French bareback rider a rising star, wows crowd at Greeley Stampede rodeo

Samuel G. Mustari
smustari@greeleytribune.com

The French are noted for a lot of things.

Things like Poodles, French onion soup, French bread, French wine, French kissing, a decent soccer player now and then or a universally known tennis player.

Well, throw rodeo into the mix.

More precisely, bareback riding.

Enter Evan Jayne, the first French rodeo star.

Oui, oui.

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Jayne, of Marseille, France, received a score of 85 June 29 at the Greeley Stampede Rodeo at Island Grove Arena, good for first place in the event with a solid chance of returning to Greeley for Sunday's finals.

"I can't tell you how happy I am to be able to live my dream," said Jayne, once a high school French teacher.

After cashing in for $153,000 last season, Jayne's decision to leave the classroom for the back of horse — especially Showbiz — was an easy one.

Does this beat teaching?

"Oui," Jayne said with a big smile.

He's ranked 10th in the PRCA this season with $34,224 already in the bank.

"I was teaching and then doing rodeo in the summertime, but about three years ago, I decided to rodeo full-time," he added as he pulled about a half-mile of tape off of his right elbow.

Jayne, 34, came to the United States as an exchange student for his junior year of high school.

He never returned home, becoming an American citizen, winning a Texas High School Rodeo Association state title and earning a rodeo scholarship to compete for Sam Houston State University, where he earned his teaching degree.

Jayne continues to work toward making rodeo a recognizable sport in France.

He's fluent in French and English, using his native language most when he talks on the phone with his young daughter, Sienna.

"I talk half English and half French to her," Jayne said. "I want her to be able to communicate with family when we go to France."

After coming to the United States to learn English and to be a rodeo cowboy, Jayne has excelled in both.

He's succeeded at both — thanks in part to the performance of Showbiz, a top-ranked bucking horse he's been atop before.

"Boy," Jayne said, "she had the biggest heart for me today. She came to me and said 'lets win this round.' She's outstanding and I just kept going with her."

Jayne was the last bareback rider to compete atop Showbiz, recording an 80 last month in Vernon, Texas.

"She gave me her heart is the best way to describe it," Jayne said. "I truly think she wanted to win the round as much as I did. She circled around the chutes and kicked … she wanted to get her points and I wanted to get my points."

Jayne's 85 was one point better than the 84 recorded by Elsmere, Neb., cowboy Nate McFadden atop First Class.

It's two points better than the previous leader, Blake Smith.

"I'm crossing my fingers that the score holds up," Jayne said. "If it does, I'll have my ticket for Sunday."

Jayne's original plan was to compete in Belle Fourche, S.D. on Sunday, coming from Prescott, Ariz.

"If I come back here, it shortens the tip by about 7 1/2 hours," Jayne said.

Shortening his travel schedule will be conducive to Jayne winning, especially against a much younger field.

"Oh, I'm about the 90th tier in age," Jayne said. "I'm up against a lot of young kids. I can still play with 'em, I can place and I can win. That's all that matters."

Wednesday's rodeo results

Bareback riding — Evan Jayne, Marseille, France, 85; Nate McFadden, Elsmere, Neb., 84; Hunter Carter, Huntsville, Texas, 74; Steer wrestling — Tom Lewis, Lehi, Utah, 4.5; Jake Fulton, Velentine, Neb., 5.0; Joe Buffington, Wheatland, Wyo., 6.1; Team roping — Manny Egusquiza, jr., Mariana, Fla. & Daniel Graman, Victoria, Texas, 4.8; Dustin Equsquiza, Mariana Fla. & Clint Summers, Lake City, Fla., 5.3; Shane Philipp, Washington, Texas, & John Philipp, Washington, Texas, 7.8; Saddle bronc — Rusty Wright, Milford, Utah, 85.5; Ryder Wright, Milford, Utah, 83.5; Ty Kirkland, Lufkin, Texas, 83; Tie-down roping — Adam Gray, Seymour, Texas, 11.0; Clint Nyegaard, Cuero, Texas, 13.2; Kody Mahaffey, Sweetwater, Texas, 16.1; Mutton bustin' — Charlie Haskett, Greeley, 85; Hudson Tribbett, Greeley, 83; Ayienne Walker, Greeley, 81; Barrel racing — Pamerla Capper, Cheney, Wash., 17.46; Jenna Waggoner, Fowler, 17.64; Kathy Korell-Rach, Loveland, 17.79; Bull riding — Shane Proctor, Grand Coulee, Wash., 86.5; Jeffery Joseph Ramagos, Zachary, La., 82; Garrett Tribble, Bristow, Okla., 77.5.