Growing up, Clovis native Preston Jordan had gone to rodeos. He enjoyed them, but actually getting involved wasn’t something that he knew would be an integral part of his future.
That is until one fateful day at his brother’s graduation party, when a little encouragement from some of his brother’s friends that ride bulls got him to try riding a mechanical bull.
“They were like ‘you should get on the mechanical bull, it seems like fun’, so I got on and it was impossible for them to get me off of it,” Jordan said.
They were impressed, Jordan said, who was just 15 years old at the time, and told him that he should head out to the place where they practice called Jerry Brown’s in Fresno.
“I said that sounds like something I would be interested to do,” he said. And so the week before, Jordan watched YouTube videos, trying to study as much as he could. That, by the way, is a practice that he continued as he improved his skills as a bull rider.
And so there he went, and it was something he fell in love with right away. An instant high, an addiction, as he put it.
“Once I got on, it was like a drug, like an addiction,” Jordan said. “It’s that feeling of adrenaline when you are on the back of a bull. That feeling when you get off, the feeling of the power, and just like step off an animal that big and be okay with it. It was something that I fell in love with immediately.”
It became obvious that he had a natural talent for the sport. His rookie year in high school rodeo, he became district champion, and held his title again this year.
It’s something that he takes pride in, knowing that the potential danger of bull riding makes it an activity that many would not do.
“I’d say confidence is a good word because no one else would really want to do that because it’s so dangerous,” he said. “It gives you a little bit of a high before you get on. You just fall in love with that feeling.”
He stayed consistent with his workouts and eventually joined an organization called the California High School Rodeo Association and competed throughout the year.
Jordan said that the organization has about eight rodeos each year that all riders get to attend. But afterwards, the top riders for each district in the state are allowed to attend the Challenge of Champions Rodeo in Plymouth, California, along with the state finals.
“I got to go both years for being the top bull rider in the district,” he said.
Getting on the bulls during those competitions was intimidating, he said, but something that he will always remember.
Jordan, now going on 17 years old, has built up and polished his skills to be one of the very top high school bull riders in the state and the country. The hard work he has put in is on the verge of paying off.
Jordan will be attending the National High School Rodeo Finals in Guthrie, Oklahoma from July 17 to July 23, an event that gets over 200 riders from all around the country, and over 1,500 contestants from the United States, Canada and Australia, who compete in various events. Only the top four riders in each state are picked to go to the world’s largest rodeo.
His goal is to win, and he believes he has as good a shot as anyone, even if he might not be as experienced in years as some other riders, having only been riding for about two years.
But Jordan needs some help to get there. His mother, Roxanne, organized a GoFundMe fundraiser to get the funds to help with the travel costs. The goal is to raise $2,000.
However, Jordan’s goals don’t end with the national finals. He has much loftier expectations for himself.
He wants to compete in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) and ride in the Clovis Rodeo by the time he turns 19. And eventually he wants to compete in the Professional Bull Riders organization.
If all goes according to plan, Clovis just might have its very own rodeo superstar.