Jordan Valley Big Loop Rodeo 2015

Posted in: Featured, Ranch Life, Rodeo

Jim and the RO cowboss, Jake, were lucky enough to get entered in the Jordan Valley Big Loop this year. As excited as they were to get a shot at the prestigious trophy saddles, my excitement level registered a close second on the I-can’t-wait-to-get-to-the-rodeo meter. We’ve been living south of Interstate 80 for six months; I was sure missing my northern Nevada friends!

Cowboy tipi

Once we got to the rodeo grounds, our first order of business was to set up camp. Jim is looking at his tipi like “I haven’t been out on the wagon in over five years. I am married with a small child. My wife set up a guest room and it takes a U-haul to move all our possessions. Why in the hell am I still setting up this dang thing?”

Little cowgirl

“Because I think cowboy camping is super fun, and you love me lots, Daddy!” is what Grace would say, if she talked.

The finished product: our cozy little canvas home on the range. See that propane bottle? It was connected to this glorious little heater that kept the tipi (teepee? the manufacturer’s tag says tipi, so I’m going to go with that) snug and warm. As a bonus, we discovered the tipi is indeed waterproof. We’d been wondering before this trip, and we’re not the kind of people who believe in doing forward-thinking things like setting up the tipi at home and turning a garden hose on to test its waterproof qualities beforehand. After getting rained on the whole first night, not a drop leaked through the trusty ol’ canvas.

Cowboy tipi

But, the new tipi poles turned out to be a tad chintzy, resulting in their breaking immediately upon experiencing the slightest tension during the setting-up process. Luckily, we always pack a shovel in the flatbed because hey, you never know when you’re going to need to splint a tipi pole.

Tipi pole

Before the tipi pole breaking incident, I’d been thinking that me and Jim were really growing up and maturing; I remembered to bring a lantern and he actually brought a hammer for the tipi stakes. I felt like we were turning into a pretty legit, well-prepared rodeo family. The tipi pole brought me back down a notch and reminded me that we should always carry a roll of duct tape, just for insurance.

The first morning of the rodeo was rainy but not dreary, as everyone looks forward to the Big Loop so much each year that we weren’t about to let a little wet weather get in the way of our catching up with old friends. The guys stood around the fire pit drinking coffee and telling wild westies, and Grace and I played with a litter of puppies in a horse trailer.

Cowboys in the rain

What could be more fun than a barrel full of puppies? Those little guys were sure cute, and we had fun with them until Grace got eighty-sixed from the horse trailer for eating too much dog food.


The cold rain didn’t deter the crowd very much; plenty of people turned out to peruse the trade show before the rodeo started Saturday morning. The wild rags and hand-tooled leather items enjoyed healthy sales like always, but a slicker salesman could have made a small fortune.

Cowboys shopping

One thing about all that rain is it created the most glorious substance known to cattlemen: grass! I’m going to file this picture under “Things you don’t see at the RO,” or “Grass: it’s not just a myth.” We are so dry in Nye County, Nevada, the only grass growing right now is on a pivot. Jim, Jake and I were ogling the cheatgrass in the median of I-80 on the way to Jordan Valley, and we nearly pulled the pickup over, jumped our horses out and let them chomp a few mouthfuls just for the sheer delight of watching livestock utilize the green stuff. But, we didn’t, because that’s not socially acceptable and probably illegal.


Here come the horses!

Rodeo horses

Ah, so much to love about the Big Loop…the horses, the talented ropers, the complete lack of cell phone service that causes people to look up and around and socialize with other physically present humans. I just love it all! Here, contestants warm up their horses while the crowd fills the stands before the first performance.

Rodeo warm up

Jim and Jake didn’t have any luck in the roping, but that’s just rodeo. So many factors have to come together to win this prestigious event!

Grace and another young fan watch a roper compete in the rodeo. I definitely dressed my child for warmth, not style. If Mama’s cold, you’re getting an extra layer.

Kids at rodeo

After we had watched all the rodeo, shopped till we were out of money, and ate all the cheeseburgers and Skittles we could stand, Grace and I hit the hay early.

Cowgirl in tipi

Sunday morning dawned sunny with a chance of taking off our winter coats, then the rain came in full-force. We took off early, since we had a seven-hour drive home. We missed the rodeo that day, but congratulations to Matt and Bryan Grenke, Big Loop Champions for 2015!

Cowboy tipis

Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, we’ll be back in 2016 for another shot at Big Loop fame and a chance to visit friends. See you next year, tipi city!

Posted in: Featured, Ranch Life, Rodeo

About Jolyn Young

Jolyn Young lives near Montello, NV with her cowboy husband and 3 small kids. For more, visit

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