IDAHO FALLS — Stetson Jorgensen knows a thing or two about first time opportunities, starting from when he was a kid. He rode his first sheep at the age of one. Now, he and his mare will be competing in their first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo together.
Born and raised in Blackfoot, rodeoing has always been in his blood. When Jorgensen was in high school, he got into steer wrestling thanks to some of his friends who were also involved in it. Since then, his passion for steer wrestling has sky rocketed.
Knowing that he is one of the few cowboys invited to Las Vegas to showoff his skills has him speechless.
“I’m lost for words going into (the WNFR),” Jorgensen said. “It was one of my biggest dreams and then it finally came to reality. It’s just hard to believe.”
He joined the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association in 2015, and now he’s ranked fifth with $90,219.96 earned during the regular season. As the first one in his family to go the professional route, he is looking forward to being in the Thomas and Mack Center where the rodeo will take place.
“Watching old NFR tapes, I just get goosebumps every time,” Jorgensen said.
His brother-in-law, Buck Ryan, has been part of watching Jorgensen chase down his dreams.
“He’s pretty driven,” Ryan said. “He’s set his goals and done everything he could to work towards them.”
Leading up to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, Jorgensen’s been specifically working on getting the starting time down. But he can’t do that alone. He’s been prepping for his Vegas appearance with his mare, Mabel. Garrett Henry of 88 Ranch Performance Horses in Douglas, Wyoming owns the animal. But Jorgensen has been riding the eight-year-old mare since last December.
“He loves that horse. He takes really good care of her,” Ryan said. “That’s his baby.”
When Jorgensen got Mabel, he said she was trained. The past year he has been spent time helping Mabel who is newer to the sport, stay sound and keep her mind right. Mabel took third place in the Purina Horse of the Year Award presented by the American Quarter Horse Association. He knows he wouldn’t be where he is today without her.
“She makes my job a lot easier,” Jorgensen said. “I’m pretty lucky to have her in my corner.”
The duo has gone through experiences together that allowed Jorgensen to watch Mabel grow. Although he has some nerves leading up to the rodeo, he’s confident in what lies ahead, especially because of his partner.
“I think she’s going to really shine and be good for me,” Jorgensen said.
The 2019 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo runs from Dec. 5 to Dec. 14 in Las Vegas.