The healthy pro cowboy who vowed to never attend a performance at the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) until he earned his way there as a contestant, returns to the Thomas and Mack Arena next week for the second time as he enters the final leg of the 2018 PRCA World Championship as the number sixth ranked bull rider.
A Pennsylvania born bull rider now making his home in Athens, Texas, Jeff Askey is the 2010 College National Finals Bull Riding Champion and a graduate of the University of Tennessee Martin with a degree in Animal Science.
Attending approximately 110 rodeos, Askey put a string of wins together in June that moved him out of the “might qualify” lane into a solid standing among the top 15 bull riders of the season.
Once parked inside the top 15 Askey never wavered.
“Early in the year it seemed I was staying on all my bulls but not winning any money,” recalled the 5’8 155 cowboy.
Citing debt as his number one inspiration, Askey explained.
"I have never had any debt, and I borrowed money to buy cows in the spring, and I knew I had to stay on to pay it off early," said Askey.
Traveling earlier in the season with Dustin Boquet and Bayle Worden and in August and September with Trey Benton, Askey felt his season really kicked off in June when he put together a string of wins including the Xtreme Bull Riding in Weatherford, Texas.
“My best ride would be Cody, Wyoming where I was 89.5,” continued Askey.
Earning $107,386.73 during qualifying, Askey won six titles and one Xtreme Bull competition. Taking the bulls and the victories one at time Askey had this to say about studying livestock.
"I like them to keep me guessing I don't study bulls, I think it's a preference deal, I go at it bull by bull, and that seems to work for me, if riding bulls is your life and lifestyle and if you enjoy it it’s not a job.”
30-year-old Jeff Askey will check into the NFR as the eldest bull rider in the locker room, but bull riding analysists might argue that with age comes wisdom and experience and that is a trademark of the straight-talking right-hander.
In 2016 Jeff qualified for his first NFR with $109,339.24 in money earned and placed in one round to rank 14th at the Wrangler National Finals and 11th in the World Standings with total earnings of $134,993.
“In 2015 I missed the NFR by $207 and was sixteenth, the year before I was nineteenth and the year before that I was twenty-first.”
With a college degree on the wall at home, Askey claims to be the adult in the traveling department.
"Riding bulls is your life and lifestyle, and if you enjoy it, it's not a job. The riding itself is what you love to do and enjoy, and the planning is just tending to business."
Askey competed on the Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Tour this season where he likes the challenge.
"The fast pace is challenging of the three-round format, you don't get much time and as soon as you ride you have to get your rope and your mind ready for the next bull.”
In 2017 Jeff fueled his bull riding career on the CBR Road to Cheyenne run. Riding over 50% of the bulls, he attempted including that season he scored a season-high 91.5 in El Paso on 3381 Wet Willy.
He won three events on the Road to Cheyenne, Mercedes, Conroe and Jackson, Tennessee. As a graduate of the nearby University of Tennessee Martin, Askey was embraced by the crowd as one of their own each time he pulled his rope.
Advice to the next generation of bull riders…
“You have to know what works for you and what your own mentality is and what is effective for you – take everything with a grain salt and find your own path,” Jeff Askey.
You can follow Jeff on Instagram and Facebook. For more information contact Leigh Ann Schroeder, firstname.lastname@example.org or 940.902.1112.