Juma takes more time to enjoy family
October 25, 2010
After nearly 20 years of providing rough stock for rodeos all over the region, Byron Juma was ready to take life a little easier. Earlier this spring, the Torrington, Wyo., stock contractor held a herd reduction sale. “We sold about 60 horses, 55 bulls, and 75 rodeo bred cows,” he explained.
Despite the sale, Juma is far from being out of the stock contracting business. In fact, Juma feels some of his best buckers may be yet to come. “I kept my 3 and 2-year-old bulls, and my yearling bulls,” he explained. “So, I still have close to 100 head of bulls. We also kept the heifer calves out of the cows, so I still have about 30 heifers that are rodeo bred.”
Juma said he sold most of his bucking horses and turned over a lot of the bucking horse operation to his pickup man, Wayne Larsen of Chugwater, Wyo. “Wayne is raising bucking horses and has quite a few bucking horses already, so I have put him in charge of that. We are working together to use my bulls and some of Wayne’s horses and some of my horses to cover the rodeos we contract for now,” he said.
Juma has made these changes in his business in effort to have more time at home to spend with his family. Juma and his wife, Donna, have four children: 12-year-old twin daughters, Brooke and Sabrina, a 10-year-old son, Cameron, and an 8-year-old son, Tyler.
“When I first got into this business, I thought it would be a good way to raise our family,” he explained. “The problem was we got so big, I had to be gone all of the time. My kids are in school now, and they have functions they have to attend outside of rodeo. The business has kept me from being able to attend those functions with my family.”
In addition, Juma said he has a ranch that was being neglected from being gone all the time. “I would come home and I had to go like crazy just to catch up on all the things I needed to do here.”
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Since holding the sale, Juma said he feels relieved that his activities have slowed down somewhat. “I want to stay downsized in the future, and in the number of rodeos I contract for. I want to do it so it is smaller and fun instead of being such a job, he explained. “We will continue to raise bulls, just not as many as we have in the past. We used to bring 80 bulls to the corral at once, and it was a job that took a lot of help from neighbors and friends. Where our numbers are now, I can handle it with just help from my family.”
Over the last 20 years, Juma has made quite a few accomplishments in the rodeo world. One of his biggest accomplishments was having three bulls ranked among the best 45 bulls in the business a few years ago at the PBR World Finals. “We had sold those bulls, so our name wasn’t on them, but we had bred them here on our place,” he said.
Just last year, Juma said he also had three of his 3-year-old bulls ranked in the top 10 of the ABBI classic standings. “That was quite a feat because they take those bulls to the Built Ford Tough,” he explained. “It was quite an accomplishment for me.”
Juma knows first-hand what it takes to make a good rodeo bull. He started riding bareback horses and bulls when he was just 10 years old. When he moved to Torrington, Wyo., to attend college, he had practiced bulls in his backyard.
In the ’90s, Byron acquired his PRCA card and was competing in bull riding, when tragedy hit. At a Belle Fouche rodeo, Juma was injured and suffered a detached bicep. Knowing that he could no longer ride, he was forced to make a decision – he either needed to sell the bulls in his backyard or start stock contracting.
He chose stock contracting and added some bucking horses to his program. “We first started by subcontracting, then, eventually, some of the local rodeo committee members got to know us, and would hire us for their rodeos. It evolved from there and grew into what it is today,” he said.
In 1996, Juma said he had an opportunity to use two NFR bulls he had possession of at the time to bred to a set of rodeo cows owned by a friend. “They weren’t your run of the mill set of cows,” he explained. “I bought the heifer and bull calves off that cross, and the heifers were what I turned into my own cow herd. Out of that first cross, there were some bulls that went on to compete in the PBR Finals.”
Since that first cross, Juma said he has maintained a closed herd. “I have only bred with bulls that I have hauled myself,” he explained. “I have never bred to papers. I was always more concerned with the bull’s accomplishments, their history, how they bucked and how they held up,” he said. “I would select bulls according to their ability and their heart.”
Over the years, Juma said he has taken stock to every national rodeo event stock can be taken to. “We have been to the PBR, National Senior Finals, National College Finals, and the National High School Finals. We have also had stock in the National Finals Rodeo, although I didn’t personally take them there,” he said.
Since downsizing, Juma hopes to continue breeding rodeo bulls, but also plans to work more with his beef business. “We also have a cow/calf operation, and I want to spend more time building and working with that,” he explained. “I also want to spend more time with my family. My daughters are competing in barrel racing, and one of my sons is thinking about riding bulls. They haven’t got to compete in a lot of rodeos because of what we do, but hopefully they will be able to in the future,” he said.