BY TAYLOR DESMOND
As a 1-year-old girl, Carmel High School’s assistant principal secretary Lisa Jones was riding horses, and as a 4-year-old, she was brought into her family history of calf roping and competing in junior competitions.
For 10 years, Jones focused on being a mother to her children and raising them. But after the passing of her husband and an eventual return to roping, Jones recently took a vacation from CHS from Oct. 23 to 27 and traveled to Reno to compete in the national finals for posse roping, one of her first competitions since rediscovering the hobby.
On Oct. 26, 2016, Jones’ husband Terry died after being sick with leukemia since June of that year. The five months of chemotherapy and struggling to cope with her husband having blood cancer put Jones into a slump, but with help from her father, Jones was able to fixate on her roping passion.
Team roping is a rodeo sport consisting of riders and a calf, wherein the header ropes around the calf’s neck to control the animal and the heeler throws a rope around the hind legs of the calf. Jones’ family has always lived on a ranch in Prunedale—her dad currently owns eight acres. Putting in 45 minutes of roping a sawhorse every night and putting in hours therapeutically bareback riding her all-around category horse, Boss, Lisa Jones reunited with her rodeo family with a show-stopping smile and bubbly personality. She has actually trained Boss since he was 2 years old, and he competes with her every time. The group of people she competes with have come and gone, but the solid majority has been there to watch each other grow over time and get heavily involved with the event.
“I have traveled all the way to Turlock. A lot more happens in the Central Valley [where I go] in order to be competitive and keep up with all the young guns as old people.” Jones laughs. “We tend to go over there. My dad and I travel a lot together. He’s still actively involved with everything that I do.”
Jones is a header in these competitions, riding out before the calf gets to her and roping around its neck so that a heeler can rope around its hind legs. In the middle of October she went to another rodeo to compete because it’s not just an average hobby or afterschool activity that Jones does, but a way of life and something she has gotten good at after doing it for over 30 years.
“Last year I won a saddle, three buckles and my spot in Las Vegas in December, where I go for a roping competition,” Jones says. “Just like any sport when it gets competitive and things don’t go your way, you get upset.”
Lisa Jones is excited about getting back into the sport she’s loved for her entire life, soon to participate in national competitions with her iconic smile on her features and noticeable talent that ties into how much she practices and works to keep up with everyone who didn’t miss the last 10 years.