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SANDHILLS STOCK SHOW AND RODEO: LeMond cranks up comeback with all-around title - Odessa American: Sports

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SANDHILLS STOCK SHOW AND RODEO: LeMond cranks up comeback with all-around title

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Posted: Sunday, January 13, 2019 12:00 am

The SandHills Stock Show and Rodeo draws competition with all kinds of experience levels from seasoned veterans to young rookies finding their way.

For one area roper, Saturday night was a welcome back of sorts.

JoJo LeMond was back in the ring Saturday night looking to make one more go as a full-time professional.

His efforts were rewarded, earning the title of all-around cowboy for his efforts in both the team roping and steer roping competitions.

LeMond finished with a time of 60.5 seconds on four head in steer roping to win $3,385 earlier in the week.

“It’s a blessing to be able to hang your hat and get your boots on,” LeMond said prior to Saturday night’s performance at the Ector County Coliseum. “It’s a lifestyle for us and it’s something that we picked. It’s not a here or there thing. It’s an everyday thing.”

It’s a life that the Andrews native is excited to come back to, but he’s also motivated by the younger generation of riders coming up.

LeMond paired up with up-and-comer Trey Yates during the team roping competition and said that competing with a new talent gives him a kind of energy that had not been found in a long time.

“It’s a great feat for me to still be at it after so many years and it’s exciting to be roping with a guy like Trey,” LeMond said. “It builds a fire in me and makes me want to work harder and get back to the top.”

As for Yates, he comes from a strong family legacy of his own.

The Pueblo, Colorado, native is the son of 21-time National Rodeo Finals qualifier J.D. Yates and is embracing the opportunity to learn from one of the best.

“JoJo is a great guy and spending time around him this week has been great,” Yates said. “He’s a family man and he always has a smile on his face. I can’t say enough about how fortunate I am to rope with him.”

In fact, it was a call from Trey himself that sparked LeMond to get back on the horse and compete.

That one call was a strong sign of support and one that the 36-year LeMond old is grateful for.

“His dad is so supportive of us and I’m thankful for the opportunity,” LeMond said. “They think we have a good chance to do well, but it’s not near the chance that I’m getting from them and I want to take advantage of it.”

LeMond has built up an even stronger support system. It not only comes just from the Yates family, but his family and the local community as well.

That encouragement is something that LeMond embraces.

“From my family to the locals here, the support I get here (in Odessa) is bar none to anyone else,” LeMond said. “My family drops everything that they do to come and support me and they’re willing to give up everything that they do for me to do this.”

He added, “They’ve been supportive of me my whole career and when I retired. Now that I’m wanting to come back, I’ve gotten a lot of support from people saying that they believe in me.”

During the team roping competition, however, LeMond and Yates did not record a score after failing to rope in the steer.

Even with that result, Yates is confident that he can learn as much as he can from a roper like LeMond.

“He (JoJo) has two things that I want to feed off of,” Yates said.  “He has confidence like no else because he’s so talented with the rope and he also knows how to win. Those are the two toughest things to gain out here.”

As for what lies ahead, LeMond is looking to see how he fares through the winter rodeos and into the summer to see how far he wants to take this latest comeback.

“I’m committed to ride it out long enough to see where we’re at,” LeMond said. “I’m confident that we’ll be in good shape through the Fourthof July and I believe that we can get in enough rodeos to make that happen.”

“It lights a fire in me that I haven’t had since I was a young man and now I want to win.”

>>Follow Tony Venegas on Twitter at @OA_TVenegas

Odessa, TX

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