The Junior National Finals Rodeo begins next week and both Caden and Casen Gines — the sons of Colby and Codi Gines — will be participating in the second annual event. Caden will ride in the miniature bucking bulls competition and Casen will participate as a rodeo clown.
Both Gines boys have long-term goals of careers in the sport of rodeo — and being participants at the Junior NFR is another step toward their goals.
Caden hopes to one day be a professional bull rider and stock contractor while Casen wants to be a professional rodeo clown.
Caden, 14, competed at last year’s inaugural Junior NFR. Though he didn’t compete as well as he had hoped, Caden said that he was going to come back with a “vengeance” this year.
Returning with a vengeance he did, as Caden placed second overall in the Colorado Region standings in miniature bull riding. Caden said that this year, he is even more excited to compete at the Junior NFR because he “had to succeed to get there.”
By that, Caden means he had to travel to rodeos in Colorado (in the towns of Boone, Elizabeth and Gunnison), Albuquerque, New Mexico, Laurel, Montana, as well as competing in Wyoming, Laramie and Cody.
Caden said his favorite rodeo this summer was in New Mexico, because it was a place he had never been and he enjoyed going somewhere new.
At this year’s Junior NFR, Caden said his goal is to “just get better.” Caden said that means to improve his riding style and perfect his riding technique.
In setting any long-term goal, there has to be short-term goals set as well. To become a professional bull rider, Caden’s short-term goal of getting better has also been reached by attending the Gary Leffew Rodeo School.
Leffew is a world champion bull rider and has been inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.
“I’ve been riding better and better ever since I went to his school,” Caden said.
At the school, Caden learned how to better maneuver his body while atop a bull along with techniques, strategies and mental strategy/ability.
Like any sport, the mind is an important factor that also needs to be trained. Leffew promotes a positive mental attitude through his school and visualization techniques.
Caden said one component of the strategy taught at the school was how to get “your head in the game and not letting ‘The Bull’ factor scare you.”
“Mind over matter,” added father Colby.
Also this year, Caden picked up a sponsor: He’s on the junior rodeo team for Pro Earth Animal Health Zesterra and CattlActive.
This summer, Caden was also the miniature bull stock contractor for the Cody Nite Rodeo’s mini bull riding event on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.
Caden had saved up the money from his fair pigs to purchase the six to eight head of bulls that were brought to the Cody Nite Rodeo.
The stock contractors of the Mini Bareback and Mini Saddle Bronc World Championship Organization asked 10-year-old Casen to be a rodeo clown at this year’s Junior NFR.
Casen, whose rodeo clown name is Shorty ‘Primetime’ Gines, said he’s excited to get to compete. He added that he expects himself to be funny and is not that nervous.
The 10-year-old’s nerves aren’t running rampant about being in front of the big stage at the Junior NFR because of the experience he acquired over the summer — including rodeo clowning two nights a week at the Cody Nite Rodeo, the Cowley Rodeo and at Jake Clark’s Mule Days.
Casen has also worked with professional rodeo clowns such as Matt Tarr and Justin Rumford.
Mother Codi said that “Matt Tarr has helped him [Casen] a bunch in the arena and during some performances.”
Rumford is a five-time PRCA clown of the year and Casen has attended two of his schools.
Though Casen said that he likes the stage of the rodeo clown, “some part of it is hard work, cause you have acts and you have to learn them — and jokes and you have to memorize them.”
At the Junior NFR, Casen will perform three to four acts and tell jokes over the course of five days as well as doing the “walk and talk.”
The “walk and talk” is when the rodeo clown walks around and talks to the crowd in between riders and while riders are getting ready in the chute.
In preparation for the Junior NFR, father and son have written out the acts and been practicing at home. Father Colby said a lot of the preparation thus far has involved talking about how the act is going to go — “getting him a visual of what he needs to be looking for,” Colby said.
The two also practice the acts at home in the family’s arena.
As far as what acts Casen will perform at the Junior NFR, “I like dancing,” he said.
One will be an old clown act involving Michael Jackson songs.
“Michael Jackson dances a lot,” Casen explained.
“Everyone knows Michael Jackson so it should be a real fun act for him to do,” added Colby.
Casen will perform during the bull riding and bareback riding events of the Junior NFR. Like his brother, he’ll also be sponsored by Pro Earth Animal Health Zesterra and CattlActive.
This year’s Junior NFR takes place Dec. 7-16 and will be live streamed through one of the RFD-TV websites.
Both Gines boys thanked their sponsors and parents for their support throughout the season.
Photo courtesy Colby and Codi Gines