Hitting it big on bareback, Jessee aces first trip to rodeo finals

Prairie City bareback rider Cody Jessee finished the 2002 professional rodeo season with a total of $144,030.60 in prize money, in just his second year of "going at it full time." Jessee expressed his thanks and appreciation to all the people who have supported him during the year. "That means a lot to me. I've only been here a couple of years and I don't know a lot of people, but it's nice to have so many people in this community who follow rodeo and be so supportive of me," he said. The Eagle/TIM ADAMS

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - The casinos in Las Vegas are not the only place in town to win the big bucks; just ask John Day bareback rider Cody Jessee.

Jessee turned in 10 outstanding performances at the Wrangler National Finals Pro Rodeo which began on Dec. 6, stayed aboard for eight seconds on each of his 10 mounts, and finished in the money in eight of the go-rounds.

"Things didn't turn out too bad for me," Jessee said. "It turned out to be an all-right week."

Jessee went into the finals in seventh place in the world in the bareback competition, and at the end of the 10-day Las Vegas event, he had moved up to fourth place overall.

In his first trip to the national finals, 25-year-old Jessee earned $78,229.21, which was the second-highest amount of money ever won in the bareback event.

Overall he finished the 2002 season with a total of $144,030.60 in prize money, in just his second year of "going at it full time."

The amount does not include the $50,000 prize he picked up in the two-head progressive event at the Calgary Stampede on July 15, or money won at privately-sponsored rodeos which are by invitation only.

Jessee said he plans on taking a little time off and spending the holiday season with his family before taking off again.

"I'm going to take it easy for awhile and heal up until the second week in January. Then I'm going to Denver, and that's when it starts up again," he said.

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