At 12, Parker Jones of Solvang has made a name for himself in Junior Rodeo competition
By Raiza Giorgi
Many little boys dream of becoming a cowboy, but 12-year-old Parker Jones of Solvang is already one of the best cowboys in the Santa Ynez Valley as he makes a name for himself in the Junior Rodeo system.
“I have been riding horses and roping since I could remember. I try to ride or practice roping every day, because I want to be an equine veterinarian when I grow up,” Parker said.
He has already won 50 belt buckles and more than five saddles at competitions all over the Central Coast, but he can’t use most of the saddles because they’re still a little big for him.
“Even as a baby he was obsessed with ropes, and we enrolled him in the Branquinhos’ roping camp when he was five, and he was hooked,” said his mother, Brooke Jones.
Both her sons are involved in the rodeo lifestyle, but Parker has been doing it longer than little brother Corbin, 7.
“I like roping too and riding horses,” Corbin said with a shy smile.
Parker has competed at different levels in youth rodeo from the West Coast Rodeo, Antelope Valley Youth Rodeo Association and Central Coast Classic Association. This year he began competing in the California High School Junior Rodeo Association. He loves going to the Santa Barbara Fiesta Rodeo every year and the roping competition at the Ventura County Fair.
“My dream is to make it to the NFR (National Finals Rodeo) in Vegas someday,” he said.
Parker trains with local cowboys Mike Monighetti, Anselmo Ramirez and Dustin Noblitt, who help him with his skills on and off the horse. Parker is now sponsored by Cactus Ropes.
Locally there are several chances to watch up-and-coming cowboys like Parker. To see schedules, log onto www.cccarodeo.com or the site of a new organization, Santa Barbara Ranch Rope Series, at www.sortandrope.com.