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The Two Sides of Colten Jesse

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He’s always knew what he wanted to be. From as far back as he can recall, Colten Jesse planned to be a bull rider, spending days and months traveling across the country for an eight-second ride. The now 24-year-old cowboy purchased his Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association permit shortly after his 18th birthday in 2015.

In 2016, he joined the Professional Bull Riders, and over the course of four years won more than $310,000, qualified for the World Finals three of those years, and became a household name in the world of professional bull riding.

While his talent with a bull has been on display, Colten had another gift he occasionally shared with family and close friends. He could sing, write songs, and a play a guitar.

Then, when a nagging hip injury forced a surgery and long recovery at the beginning of 2021, his focus pivoted to the music. The bull rider-turned-troubadour’s musical career is now on an upward trajectory.

The Bulls

Colten grew up in the south central Oklahoma town of Konawa. A third generation bull rider, Colten rose through the typical ranks, beginning with sheep riding around four years old. “I never really quit, after that. After sheep I went to calves, then steers, and then bulls,” he recalled. “No one ever forced me to do anything, but it was what I really wanted to do from an early age.”

He purchased his PRCA permit in 2015, dipping his toes in the professional arena. His career took off in 2016, and he finished the year with more than $46,000 in earnings and ranked 27th in the world standings. That year he qualified for and won the Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo in Duncan, Okla., and qualified for the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo.

He decided to make the switch to the PBR in 2017. “The PBR was just somewhere I always wanted to be. I had some good people who helped me make the best decisions for me. I was able to mature mentally during my time in the PRCA before making the switch and didn’t feel as much pressure to make the finals or anything like that,” he shared.

He made the switch to the PBR late in the season, but still managed to claim a couple good wins in the Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour.

In 2018, he had one of his best years, pocketing more than $108,000, including a $41,300 payday for a third-place finish at the Music City Knockout and another $21,456 from a win at the Big Sky PBR in Montana. “It was a good year. I think it was the only healthy whole year I had the whole time. It was technically my rookie year in the PBR. I made my first world finals and set the tone and knew where I was supposed to be,” he shared.

Building off his success in 2018, Colten was eager to get out on the road. A few wins early in the year propelled him higher in the standings, but then disaster struck. “It had started off to be really good. I felt more mature and was having fun, and then wound up blowing my shoulder out that summer,” Colten explained. “I was high enough in the standings I still slid into the finals even though I didn’t go anywhere after that.”

Surgery soon followed. Luckily Colten, who was living in Texas at the time, had one of the best in the business in his corner. “Dr. Tandy Freeman did the surgery and kept an eye on me. I was able to go to physical therapy right down the road from his office,” he said. “I got back to feeling good, and he cleared me to compete at the finals.”

With only a short period of time to practice before the World Finals, the event wasn’t a success. “I was able to get on maybe two practice bulls before I went out there. I still feel like it was no excuse by any means,” he said. “I have never had an outstanding finals like I know I can. It’s definitely something that has haunted me.”

Colten came back in 2020 looking for redemption. “I was ready to rock and roll. I had a really good year. I started to get into my own head and had some hiccups towards the middle of the season, but came back and had a really good summer,” he said. Summer 2020 was highlighted by a win in Bismark, N.D., at the PBR Dakota Community Bank and Trust Invitational, worth $36,770.

Then COVID-19 struck, and Colten had to sit out the next event. Then an old injury in his hip flared up. “It was kind of a dog fight from that point in September through the finals,” he said.

The issue in his hip was one that has plagued him through his career. In 2017 he knew something was wrong, and visits with the doctors resulted in having his labrum in his hip repaired. He also had a bone spur on his femur which had given him fits from an early age. “We finally got that fixed and then it resurfaced in 2020. It was something, I guess it’s just something I’m going to have to deal with. I don’t really have a choice,” he said.

With Dr. Freeman’s help, Colten got a couple injections in his hip to help him make it through the finals. “It helped, but not the way I’d like it to. It was tough, trying to ride bulls with an injury like that. It was always in my mind. I’m not so sure if it wasn’t beating me, mentally,” he admitted. “I think I went to three of the last six events. I ended up going to the finals and I don’t think I rode anything at the finals. That year, 2020, just wound up being pretty tough on me.”

With the PBR World Finals in the books, Dr. Freeman set Colten up with Dr. Thomas Byrd, an orthopedic hip specialist in Nashville. “I went and had hip surgery in January, and have just been playing music since then,” he shared. “I haven’t been on a bull since the last one I got on in AT&T Stadium in November of 2020.”

Quietly, he added, “I do miss it.”

The Music

With a looming recovery period of at least six months, Colten crafted a new plan for 2021. “I ended up buying a house and land in Davis, and just had a lot of stuff going on. I knew I wouldn’t be cleared to ride until late in the season, so I decided to take the year off and work on my house and my land and my music,” he explained.

Colten’s musical career began – and was short-lived – in junior high. “I played in the band in junior high. It was more of a social thing then, because my friends were doing it, too. I did enjoy it, and tried really hard at it. I played the saxophone, and that was about it,” he shared with a quick laugh.

He quit the band in eighth grade, then purchased his first guitar at a pawn shop when he was 18 following an injury. “I had that injury, I don’t even remember what it was, but I was limited in what I could do, so I would just sit there and play and play and play on that guitar,” he remembered. “I had some other buddies that would play and they taught me a little bit, and then I taught myself as I went along.”

He kept his talent to himself, and didn’t really play much in front of people.

Then he began to write his own songs. The first, titled “Marlboro Man,” was about an old friend. “His name was Jim Burns, and he lived down the road and was a family friend. He meant a lot to a lot of us. I wrote it for a small group of people, talking about how he was, and people just kind of latched on to that song. They’ll write me and tell me that it makes them think of their grandpa, or brother, or dad, and I think that’s pretty cool,” he said.

Colten wound up sending some songs to friends, and one posted a video to social media. “I didn’t have it finished at the time, but it started to blow up on social media. It wasn’t finished at the time, but people were messaging me and it compelled me to finish it. I went out and bought some home audio equipment, and recorded it and another one right their in my kitchen,” he admitted.

One of those first songs was “Firewater,” which he’d written after a rough time at a PBR event. “I was in Billings at the PBR, and I thought something was going on with my hip. I went ahead and got on my first bull that night, and it wasn’t working. I wound up turning out the rest of the weekend, and I guess I was just down. I went out to the bar with my friends, and wound up writing that song,” he said. “I was feeling defeated but knew I had to keep going. The song might have been about whiskey, but it was more about dealing with life in general.”

Read more about Colten in the December 2021 issue of Oklahoma Farm & Ranch.

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Country Lifestyle

Summer Squash and Corn Chowder

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By Lacey Vilhauer

Total time: 40 minutes

Servings: 6-7

Ingredients

  • 6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled and 1 1/2 Tbsp rendered bacon fat reserved
  • 1 1/2 lbs yellow squash, chopped (about 3 medium)
  • 2/3 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 3/4 cup milk (I used 1%)
  • 5 cups canned or fresh cut corn (from about 6 ears corn), divided
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried)
  • 3/4 tsp salt, then more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, then more to taste if desired
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, for serving
  • Chopped green onion for garnish (optional)
  •  

Instructions

Heat 4 tsp reserved bacon fat in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add celery and onion and sauté 2 minutes then add the squash. 

Saute until tender, about 6 minutes, adding in garlic and flour during last 2 minutes of sauteing. Reduce heat slightly.

Add 1 1/2 cups milk, 2 cups of the corn, thyme, salt and pepper to the sauteed veggies. 

To a blender add remaining 3 cups of corn, remaining 1 1/4 cups milk and the cream. Process in blender until nearly smooth (about 30 seconds). 

Add pureed mixture to pot and stir to blend. Cook until mixture reaches a light boil. 

Serve warm with shredded cheese, crumbled bacon and sliced green onions if desired.

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Country Lifestyle

Holding the Ball

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By Brandon Baumgarten

Did you play basketball in high school? Did you ever notice how some teams would hold on to the ball for extended periods of time? The strategy is to eliminate as much time off the clock as possible and close out the quarter with the lead. Some teams do this. Other teams do it more frequently than others. It’s grueling to watch as a spectator as you watch the game evaporate as the team just holds possession of the ball. However, things are changing.

In fact, in Oregon, things are about to change when it comes to high school basketball. Their state just voted on adding a 35 second shot clock for the 2023-2024 season. No doubt, this move will increase the pace of the game and create more scoring opportunities.

The problem has become many people want to hold on to the ball too long without doing much with it. I could not help to think this week of how this scenario relates to our faith in God. It is one thing to have opportunity, but it is another thing to make the most of it.

There are many Christians who are holding the ball. God has literally changed them from the inside out, but instead of sharing that power and influence with others, we often don’t. We allow the clock to run down and limit our chances of scoring for God. Imagine if the empowered church of God not only felt changed, but lived changed too. Have you been keeping the life changing power of Jesus Christ to yourself? I’ve been there before. I don’t always share as much as I should, but I do know time is quickly ticking and the shot clock is counting down.

What we will do from here depends on our faith and action? Imagine if the disciples would have kept all their accounts of Jesus’s life to themselves, we would have never known what happened. Instead, they shared and chose to take what God had given them to the world. Will we choose to share the life changing power of the Gospel? Will we take our shot before our time expires?

The lights are on. The game is going. The world is watching. The clock is ticking. Warriors for Christ: The ball is in your court. May we choose to make the most of it!

“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” -James 4:14 (NIV)

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Country Lifestyle

No Bake Reese Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Cream Pie

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From Lacey Vilhauer of Laceys Pantry

Time: 25 minutes + 6 hours chill time

Serves: 10

Ingredients:

Crust:

2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/2 cup melted butter

Filling:

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/4 cup cream

1/4 cup smooth peanut butter

1 cup half and half

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 tbsp cornstarch

2 tbsp smooth peanut butter

1 tsp vanilla

2 bananas, sliced

whipped cream, extra banana, mini peanut butter cups and peanut butter for garnish

Crust:

Stir together graham crumbs and melted butter and press firmly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-9 minutes, until it looks slightly dry. (This step is optional and just helps the crust to hold up better)

Filling:

In a medium bowl, combine chocolate chips, cream and peanut butter. Microwave on high in 20 second intervals, stirring each time, until melted. Pour into the bottom of the crust.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together half and half, sugar, eggs and cornstarch until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened — this can take up to 10 or 15 minutes but don’t rush it.

When the filling has thickened, stir in peanut butter and vanilla until smooth. Stir in sliced bananas. Pour this mixture into crust over chocolate. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight until set. Top with sweetened whipped cream, sliced bananas, Reese’s peanut butter cups, and peanut butter drizzle as desired. (To drizzle peanut butter, simply heat in the microwave until it can be poured, then use a spoon or put in a decorating bag and drizzle over the pie).

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