BILLINGS — Jessy Davis has fond memories of the Chase Hawks Roughstock Rodeo.
The 38-year-old Power cowboy bucked to victories in the bareback competition in 2014 and 2017 and estimates he’s been entered in the December classic “for the last 10, maybe 15 years.”
While the wins were nice, Davis’ best memory of competing at Chase Hawks didn’t come while riding on the Metra dirt. The seven-time qualifier for the National Finals Rodeo moved to Power eight years ago from Utah, and for good reason.
“I found a beautiful woman up there, so I decided to move to Montana. I never looked back,” Davis told 406mtsports.com on Friday. “Actually, I met her at Chase Hawks nine years ago.”
Now married to Cassidy Jo (Brunner) for six years, the couple has twin girls. Cru and Quincee will turn 4 in January.
The annual Chase Hawks rodeo is Saturday at First Interstate Arena at MetraPark beginning at 7 p.m. Davis will be seeking his third win at the event and his wife and daughters will be there to cheer him on.
It might just be the last time Davis competes at the Chase Hawks.
Davis joined the PRCA in 2001 and had earned $1,192,026, according to a September article appearing on the PRCA website. Davis said he is leaning toward retiring at the end of the year.
“I thought I’d give the Chase Hawks one more go,” he said with a chuckle.
While Davis hasn’t made a concrete decision on retirement, he said if he does continue to rodeo he’ll focus on PRCA events in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Idaho and Washington and limit his schedule to between 20 and 25 rodeos. He likened his looming decision to a certain former star NFL quarterback who was famous for pondering retirement in the twilight of his career.
“I have just had enough. I have been rodeoing for 20 years and am kind of over it,” Davis said. “But, you never know. I might make it go one more year. I can’t decide. I might Brett Favre it (laughs).”
Davis said he aims to compete at the Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit Finals in Great Falls scheduled for Jan. 10-12, 2020.
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“Yep, I’ll be riding there, too,” he said. “That will be kind of the end of the deal. But you never know, every other day changes.”
With 20 years of riding, there has been some wear and tear on Davis’ body. The family also ranches, and that keeps them busy.
“I’ve had my shoulders done a couple times and we are running a lot of cows at home, too,” he said. “I am pretty busy at home. I kind of like being at home now. I have been going forever and ever. … I just like to stay home sometimes.”
While retirement may be in the future, Davis is focused on the task at hand. First place at Chase Hawks is worth $7,250 and a Montana Silversmiths belt buckle.
“Especially right before Christmas, that bonus would really help out,” Davis said.
There will be stiff competition as some of the top cowboys in the world will be gathered at the Metra. All told, 60 cowboys — 20 in all three events of bareback, saddle bronc and bull riding — have been invited.
Many have competed under the bright lights at the NFR in Las Vegas and the invitational rodeo seeks cowboys ranked in the top 20 of the PRCA standings, or the top five of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association standings. Past PRCA and Chase Hawks titlists are also invited.
Some of the top bareback entrants include Trenten Montero, Winnemucca, Nevada; Steven Peebles of Salinas, California; Tanner Aus, Granite Falls, Minnesota; Shane O’Connell, Rapid City, South Dakota; and Mason Clements, Las Vegas.
Peebles was the PRCA world champion in 2015. Aus finished eighth in the world standings this year and Montero 10th.
“Them guys that you butt heads against all year round and then it finally comes down to it down in Billings,” Davis said. “There is a lot of pressure, but you keep on doing what you are doing and make a good ride and it should pan out. The money added there is a lot and it will help a guy out.”
If it is the last time Davis competes at the Chase Hawks rodeo, he’d like to add another happy memory.
“I’ve got a little bit more room for a couple more buckles,” he said.