Novice Youth Goat Tying, Youth Goat Tying 14-18

Story by Tonya Ratliff-Garrison | Photo by Abigail Wilder Boatwright | Paint Horse Journal | June 30, 2011

Jessica Gray and Paintedlastchance brought their 2010 National Wrangler Junior High School Goat Tying championship skills to the AjPHA Youth World Championship Show.

Jessica Gray and Paintedlastchance show 'em what goat tying is all about.

It’s the first AjPHA Youth World Show for Jessica Gray, but it’s not her first rodeo. Jessica and her 2002 sorrel tobiano gelding, Paintedlastchance, are the 2010 National Wrangler Junior High School Goat Tying Champions. So with Jessica and “Freckles” making the trip to Casper, Wyoming, again for this year’s National Finals, the 15-year-old decided to stop by Fort Worth, Texas, to compete at the 2011 AjPHA World Championship Show. She even brought two of her own goats along for the ride from Florida to keep her goat tying skills in tip-top shape. Jessica and Freckles did well in the Youth roping classes but it was the goat tying where they excelled, taking home two world championship buckles in Novice Youth, where they had a time of 11.248, and Youth 14-18, where their time was 10.514. The Paint Horse Journal caught up with the goat tying phenom to ask her about her winning runs as well as advice for aspiring nanny slammers.

Q: Wow! What great rides! Jessica, tell me about Paintedlastchance.

Jessica: “Freckles” he’s by one of our studs, Whitey Tousang, and I got him when he was 2 and he’s 8 now. I took him to National [Wrangler Junior High School] Finals last year and won Nationals on him in a good time. But he’s been on retirement a little bit because I got new roan horse I’ve been tying on. But for the Paint World he got to come out of retirement.

Q: Tell me about your two world championship runs today.

Jessica: In the Novice Youth, it was a little bit longer stake than what I’m used to so he was kind of shutting down going down there and wasn’t running as hard as he usually does. So when I got off I had to hustle to the goat and when I got to the goat, he darted left real fast and went out from underneath my foot, the rope did, so I had to go back to get him. But my flank and tie were really good and fast, so that made up a lot of time. I was 11 on that time and ended up winning that one. And then the 14-18, we went down there … he’s real sensitive in the sides so when I got off, I kind of turned my toe into him so he ducked out on me a little bit. Other than that I got to my goat and I flanked and tied him good, so I ended up winning that with a 10.5.

Q: What’s your usual time when you and Freckles are competing?

Jessica: On him, last year at Nationals I was three nines in a row. I’ve been a couple of eights on him but on my other horse this year, I’ve been tying sevens on her.

Q: This is your first World Show?

Jessica: Yes, but my mom used to come here and show from 1996 to 2011. She was the reserve amateur world champion goat tyer two years in a row.

Q: That’s great! Has your mother given you some good advice to help you?

Jessica: Oh, goat tying was different back then. I actually learned from Lynn Smith. She’s the three-time National college champion in goat tying. I got her video and watched it, and then mom said, “We’ve got to go see this lady.” My first clinic with her was in Martin, Tennessee, and that was at the college there so now I keep telling my mom I want to go to college there. I really liked it there.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice Lynn has given you?

Jessica: Get your foot down. Mental preparation. You have to be mentally prepared. Picture your runs in your mind. Like here, I didn’t really watch or listen to anybody else’s time. That way I don’t worry about theirs and just worry about mine.

Q: Who would you like to thank?

Jessica: Definitely my mom, Jodi. She hauled me all the way out here from Florida. Dad, too. He’s not here yet but he’s going to fly to meet us in Shawnee because can’t miss that much work. He’s been watching on the live webcast online. He’s been texting mom saying, “Tell her to do this. Tell her to do that.” I’d like to thank some of my closest friends, who are some of my toughest competitors. Some girls want to get mad if someone beats them but my best friends, like when we rodeo and we’re at the arena we are trying to beat each other but when we’re out of the arena, we’re best friends. 

Click here for APHA's reprint policy of copyrighted material.

World Champion Stats

Horse: Paintedlastchance, 2002 sorrel tobiano gelding
Pedigree: Whitey Tousang x IBM Sugar (QH)
Exhibitor/Owner: Jessica Gray, Sparr, Florida
Breeder: William Peck, Weirsdale, Florida
Total Class Entries: 
Novice Youth - 3; Youth 14-18 - 5
World Champion Prizes:
 Gist buckle, courtesy of APHA; monogramed jacket, courtesy of APHA and Tioga Territory; insulated carryall, courtesy of Paint Horse Journal; $50 APHA General Store gift certificate, courtesy of APHA; and AjPHA letter jacket patch, courtesy of APHA