A lot of people will say they “grew up in rodeo” or “have rodeo in their blood”, but nothing could be truer for Jolyn Wells. If the name doesn’t immediately register, add the maiden name Lowry to it and you will understand. Jolyn, the daughter of Charlie and Wanda Lowry of the 4L & Diamond S Rodeo Company fame, has spent her entire life in the business of rodeo.
“After living in Arkansas for the last 10 years, I’m back at the ranch in Summerville, GA,” Jolyn said. “For nine years I was the rodeo coach at the University of Arkansas in Monticello. I loved my job and working with the kids. It’s a little different when I go to a rodeo and see some of my kids because now I’m competing against them.”
It’s been an easy transition for Wells from rodeo coach to a competitor sitting in the IPRA’s world standings in two events. Jolyn currently sits 11th in the barrel racing and 4th in the breakaway roping. “I hadn’t had an IPRA card since 2000 and when they added the breakway roping it was a big plus to me. Now that I have moved back to Georgia there are a lot of rodeos that offer that event so it’s a good deal.”
“I actually would like to qualify for the IFR in both events. I can see myself making it in the breakaway roping, but I don’t know about the barrels,” she remarks. “My brother, Ross, has made the IFR several times and it’s definitely something I’d like to do. I’m a single mom with two small kids and I just never thought it would be a possibility for me.”
“Roping is definitely my favorite event even though I’ve done both my entire life. I haven’t had a barrel horse since I started having my kids. I just started back running barrels two years ago,” said Jolyn.
“I had asked my aunt, Sandra Jagot to borrow her barrel horse, Kicker, to run at the “Cowgirls With a Cause” barrel race in North Carolina two years ago. She works for Martha Josey in Texas and hadn’t been running as much as she used to so she let me take him. That year for Christmas she said she had a special present for me that she wanted me to open early and when I did, it was his papers; she had given him to me. He is very special to me,” said Wells.
“His registered name is Kick A Ryon. My aunt raised and trained him. He’s 13 years old and foundation bred. He goes back to the Otoe breeding that my Dad had. He’s really consistent and runs the same every time no matter the size of the arena. He’s used to the deep ground they have in Texas and he prefers it over the harder ground we run into now and then. “
“My breakaway horse is a 14.1 seven year old gelding that I started hauling last fall. He hadn’t been to any rodeos so he’s still a work in progress but he did really good his first year. His name is Crawfish and he can really run and stop which is what you want in a breakaway horse. He still gets a little nervous in the box at the rodeos but we will get worked through that.”
“I work as a paraprofessional at the elementary school. I’m with the kindergarten through second grade special education kids. I always said I wouldn’t be a teacher and here I am working in a school. I’m like a long-term substitute. It’s nice, though, because I have the summers off to spend with my kids and to rodeo. I have to rodeo different since I have two kids. Rylee is 6 years old and Kyler is just 2 so it’s harder.
I have been helping with Dad’s rodeo company more this year than I did last year now that Kyler is a little older. I help with the opening flags, load calves and bulls, really just anything that needs to be done. My friends give me a hard time about some of the things I do sometimes, it’s funny,” said Jolyn. “But someone has to do it.”
For more information on the IPRA and to keep up with the world standings visit their website at www.iprarodeo.com.
Story by Tammie Hiatt.
Photos by John Moon, Seven Springs Photography.