It’s a Ruff Job – Sportscaster Wesley Ruff & Utah Jazz Bear on Jessop’s Journal Full Episode 6

Jessop's Journal

(DOUG JESSOP – JESSOP’S JOURNAL) The thrill of victory. The agony of defeat. In this episode of Jessop’s Journal we visit with a sportscaster that has a powerful story – Wesley Ruff.

Sometimes we need to take a break and escape. Watching sports is a great way to do that. We had the opportunity to visit with a very positive person that isn’t recognizable without his uniform – the Original Utah Jazz Bear – Jon Absey.

Later in the show we talk with a woman that has an inspirational story of helping people overcome the “wonderful world of regret” Jillian Marty.

In between, the talented Sydnie Keddington entertains us with her beautiful singing voice.

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In this episode of Jessop’s Journal, I sat down with Wesley Ruff, the longest running sports anchor in all of Utah, and in a rare point, has spent all those years on ABC4 News in Salt Lake City.

He told me about his first broadcast job in North Dakota being paid peanuts but absolutely loving it.

You many know that Wesley Ruff really likes to golf. He has been able to play golf with a plethora of professional golfers as well as a number of celebrities. It was interesting to find out that rockstar Alice Cooper is an incredible golfer.

Inquiring minds want to know…has Wesley Ruff ever got a hole-in-one. Oh yes! You’ll have to watch the show to get the enthusiastic details.

Here’s a factoid you might not know about Wesley – for many years you’ve seen him broadcasting is a blazer and tie. The other part of his attire has been golf shorts and sneakers. Official on the top and party on the bottom. You gotta love the wonderful world of TV.

On a more serious note, something happened in Wesley’s life that gave him perspective.  Yes – you are going to have to watch the show to find out what.

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Our musical guest this week is Sydnie Keddington. She does a beautiful rendition of the song “Closer to Home.”

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We keep the sports vibe going with our next guest. When you go to a basketball game your get to see professional athletes put everything on the court. What you might not realize is that one of the talented athletes on the court wears a special uniform…a costume.

Jon Absey was the original Utah Jazz Bear for twenty years.

Come to find out that Jon does not have any formal “mascot training.” He was a college student looking for a way to earn some money and there was an opening for a mascot in a semi professional sports team. He ended up learning some of the tricks of the trade by watching gymnast and adding his own touches.

Fast forward a couple years and Jon is at the top of his field. What is interesting to hear is that he had three NBA teams that wanted to hire him, but he was nervous to make the jump to the “big leagues”. The Utah Jazz reached out to him again and the rest is history.

There is some friendly competition between the NBA mascots. Jon would watch and see what other people were doing and come up with something that wasn’t being done. Think going up a twenty plus foot ladder in a costume plus stilts and a big sign. Other mascots started copying him and so he kept upping his game until the pinnacle was doing a one-handed handstand on top of the ladder!

Writing about Jon’s performance is like trying to explain what salt tastes like to a Martian. You really are going to need to watch the show to see some of the crazy and fun things that made him a one-of-a-kind performer.

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“You take a tragedy, and you take the scars from it, and you build from it, and you make something better.” Those are the words from the powerful person I interviewed in this episode of Jessop’s Journal.

Jillian Marty found herself a single Mom of two young children after the unexpected death of her husband.  She told me; “The very first Christmas after I started by business my little guy, he was six, he said ‘I guess you’re not going to be able to make it to my program.’ I said, you know, I can since Mommy started her business. When I walked into that gymnasium and saw him up there looking around and was able to connect with him. I was like, I’m doing the right thing. I have to fight for this. I don’t have an option. That was kind of my drive for having my own business so I could be more available for their lives.  

She responded by started her own business called Lavish Brow. It’s a professional microblading and now laser-free tattoo removal with Tatt2Away certified center.

I’m guessing Jillian may have seen a couple tattoos or even micro blades that didn’t quite go right. We talked about “the wonderful world of regrets.” She smiled and replied; “Yes, that’s the story of that business for sure. You never get a call that says, you know I really like this, but it’s got to go. Nine times out of ten, it’s regrets. It’s poor work. It’s old. I don’t know why I’d do this to myself. I thrive on the people that come in from prison and speak. I was in a bad place. Will you remove these teardrops?  Or if there are any kind of gang symbols or something like that, they want a fresh start.

What does Jillian like the most about what she does? “I like to create better self-esteem and confidence in people or job opportunities that they might not be able to have if they are covered in tattoos and they need them gone. So it’s just building up another human and seeing that drastic before and after. The appreciation that I see in their face when it’s done. I’m okay this is why I do what I do. Or the people that cry after they get their new brows because they lost all of them during chemo. This is very gratifying to me to give back.”

She has advice for other entrepreneurs. “You have to believe in your heart of hearts that it is something that can thrive if it really is going to last. Beyond ‘great I met my financial goal now what?’ Then that kind of fizzles out. But once you meet that financial goal it only gives you the opportunity to keep building on your passion. It’s not about a dollar amount goal. It’s about a what you are trying to achieve with the people that you help.

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Consider this your personal invitation to watch this entire episode of Jessop’s Journal and share it with someone that enjoys a powerful, positive and inspirational stories.

Everyone has a story. I strongly feel that “stories have power”. Chances are that if you are going through something, that someone else probably has as well. The shared experiences we humans have can help each other. That my friend makes the point that stories “help us understand each other.”

You don’t have to agree with everyone, but in my opinion, if people would take more time getting to knowing more about others and where they are coming from, we just might find out that we have more similarities than differences.

Please consider following me at www.DougJessop.com, LinkedIn, YouTube and at “@dougjessopnews” on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Jessop’s Journal is something special when it comes to broadcast news. I have the honor of being able to do longer in-depth interviews that you don’t normally see with people from all walks of life. A big shout out goes to my collaborator, Ed Wilets who does a great job as my videographer/editor for all my stories. Your feedback is always welcome at DJessop@abc4.com

Everyone has a Story. Stories have Power. They help us Understand each other. With another entry into Jessop’s Journal, I’m Doug Jessop, ABC4 News.

Jessop’s Journal is a collection of Powerful, Positive and Inspirational Stories made possible by the generous support of Tatt2Away, XLEAR, Ogden’s Own Distillery, Millcreek Gardens and LIFE Never Boring.

Doug Jessop
For Doug Jessop, it all started with a cassette recorder he got for Christmas when he was 12 years old growing up in Southern California. Doug interviewed relatives, friends and anyone else that might have a good story. You can follow Doug at www.DougJessop.com, on YouTube.com/DougJessop, and @DougJessopNews on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

*** Jessop’s Journal is a copyrighted production of Fedora Incorporated ***

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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