McCleary’s Jake Davis realized when he was a young boy what he wanted to do.
“When I was younger, we had the Elma rodeo and I’d sleep through the whole rodeo,” Davis admitted.”But I’d wake up for the bullriding. I’d be so excited for the bullriding. I always wanted to do bullriding, but I didn’t know where it would take me.”
When he was 14, Davis attended a horse sale in Hermiston, Oregon. He didn’t know it at the time, but that day would turn out to be a pivotal one in his young life.
“I had a little bit of money with me and thought I might buy a horse,” he said. “But this vendor had some bullriding gear and I went over and bought it. I came back and showed my mom and said, ‘I’m going to ride bulls.’ That kind of started it.”
The ‘it’ that was started that day was Davis’ bullriding career, and now — as he approaches a decade of competitive bullriding experience — Davis is on the cusp of fulfilling a dream that began way back at the Elma Rodeo.
In his most recent event, Davis, 23, took the top spot at the Coastal Farm & Ranch Challenge Champions Tour final event of the season at the Jackson County Expo Center in Central Point, Oregon, on Jan. 9.
Davis qualified for the final six riders by placing first in the preliminary round, riding the bull Sancho for 86 points. In the finals, aboard the bull Heffe, Davis scored 88.5 points to edge TJ Gray and Justin Houston — who tied for second with 87 points.
“It felt real good,” Davis said about the victory. “Since it has been so long (since my last tour victory) and I’ve been coming in second and third, it actually felt good to do what I know I can and win again. It’s always nice coming out on top.”
The victory in the season finale allowed Davis to leapfrog another competitor to finish second overall in the final season standings with 686.25 point.
“It’s a great little circuit they have over here in the Northwest,” he said of the tour. “It’s good money and the contractors they bring just have awesome bulls to ride. They’re a lot of fun and I’d just love to get on every single one of them every week.”
Davis’ success on the tour has helped him toward climbing the next rung of his professional career: Earning a spot on the Professional Bull Riders tour.
Davis, who currently lives in Rathdrum, Idaho, competed in the PBR Touring Pro series event “Cowtown Classic” on Jan. 1 in Fort Worth, Texas, placing sixth.
The Elma High School graduate reflected on his mindset when competing in a PBR professional event for the first time.
“When I first got there, I just wanted to focus on that it’s just a bigger bull ride and there is nothing special about it.,” he said. “You are going to get butterflies because you are chasing your dreams and you are finally getting to that step to where you want to go. … It’s still bullriding. You have to get to the basics no matter what kind of event you are at.”
Davis plans on taking that same mentality when he climbs another rung of the PBR ladder when he competes in the PBR Pendleton Whiskey Velocity Tour in Greenville, South Carolina this weekend. A strong showing on the velocity tour means a chance at competing in the PBR’s top tier — the Unleash the Beast Tour.
Currently ranked No. 53 in the world according to the PBR website, the former Elma High School graduate has his sights set on a Velocity victory.
“If you win a Velocity event, you usually get invited to at least one event on the Unleash tour to prove yourself,” he said. “So that’s my goal — to get on the Unleash tour and stay on there as best I can to make the world finals at the end of the year.”
For more information on the Challenge of Champions tour, visit cctbullriding.com.
For more information on the Professional Bullriders Tour, visit pbr.com.