(DOUG JESSOP – JESSOP’S JOURNAL) Pioneer Day – The phrase conjures images of wagon trains, rodeos and , of course, parades. In this episode of Jessop’s Journal we horse around with a number of powerful, positive and inspirational folks including Bareback Rodeo Rider Braxten Nielsen and Food Network Star Waylynn Lucas. We also visit the Nye Family dairy farm along with the music of Chris Petersen.
Life experiences shape who we are. Braxten Nielsen is grateful he grew up on a farm in Roosevelt, Utah. He told me; “It’s taught me to work hard. It’s taught me to be resilient and responsible. I’m grateful for that opportunity in a small town like that.”
Braxten has compete as bareback rider in over 150 rodeos. I asked him what it was like the first time he got on a bucking bronco. “I made my 8 second ride. Right then and there I said, that’s what I want to do. This is what I want to become is a bareback rider” he said.
Rodeo is a humbling sport. Braxten described it this way; “I think rodeo has been one of the most mentally tough sports I’ve honestly done.”
Let’s face it, it’s a dangerous sport as well. Unfortunately, Braxten described this first-hand; “The circumstance was a little different this time. The horse sat down in the chute. Rared over and it broke my back. My T12 and my L1, paralyzing me from the waist down. Very humbling experience.”
The accident has left its mark. Braxten has 5 fused vertebra, 2 rods, 8 screws, numbness in his right leg and can’t feel his left foot…but as he puts it, miracles happen.
The amazing thing is that the interview was in a riding barn in Spanish Fork…and Braxten was standing in front of me. The doctors gave him a 5% chance to ever walk again. He told me; “It’s definitely different, but I’m walking. I’ll take every little inch and I’m okay with it.”
Braxten Nielsen’s inspiring journey redefines the expression ‘Getting Back on the Horse’. Less than 2 years since his accident, he is now competing in calf roping.
He was sporting a pretty nice buckle. These buckles are basically the trophies of the rodeo sport. He told me about this specific buckle, with a big grin. “It’s pretty sentimental. this one in particular, I won after my accident. It’s a team roping buckle. It kinda took the heartbreak off bareback riding.”
The road to recovery has given Braxten the motivation to share his story and help others. What is his message? He told me; “I truly believe that hard work will never cheat you. Attitude is everything. It will take you places you never though were possible.”
Everyone has a story. Sometimes these stories are told through music. It’s that time in the show for a musical performance I call “Jessop’s Jukebox.” In this episode country music star Chris Petersen performs the title track off one of his albums, “Cowboy Coming Home.”
It didn’t hurt my feelings when she came bearing gifts of homemade salted chocolate chip cookies and Strawberry Buttermilk loaf. (Yes – they tasted as good as they looked).
Waylynn and I talked about a very cool photograph from Chris Dickinson. It featured a bald-headed guy on a 1930 something Harley Davidson panhead along with a woman wearing a hat, long hair blowing back in the dust as she races on horseback. The juxtaposition of the iron horse and the real horse racing through the dust really spoke to me. You could almost hear the Harley and the thundering hoofs of the horse.
Waylynn shared with me the backstory to that picture. Come to find out that Waylynn has been around horses for most of her life, starting with a family business training racehorse in Southern California. In the “interesting similarities department”, I spent a fair amount of time at the horse racing tracks in Southern California as a youth. There has been a certain amount of drama in Waylynn’s younger years that are best explained by watching the interview. I appreciate the candor and vulnerability that she shared in our time together.
Of course, we talked about how she became a chef. She told me that it is the running joke in her family that she couldn’t boil water as a kid and now here she is a celebrity chef.
She created an incredible bakery called Fonuts in Southern California. Think donuts that are baked instead of fried. She shared a very interesting story about her experience that you are not going to want to miss.
Way back in the day I was a country music DJ. I teased Waylynn if she knew “Waylon, Willie and The Boys”. She laughed and told me something I didn’t know; the country music legend Waylon Jennings just so happens be her Godfather. Translation – her name was going to be a version of Waylon no matter what. Coming back to that picture of her racing her horse…his name is Hank. (You have to be “of a certain age” and a country music fan to get the joke). Yep, Walynn is a “Country Girl.”
Do you know where your food comes from? When I was a kid, my parents were a little concerned about their slightly rebellious kid with the long hair. I spent the summers working at my cousins dairy farm. The last story brought back some memories.
It’s clear that the Nye family, owners of Mountain View Dairy, deeply care about their cows and have deep roots in the dairy industry. Maria Nye’s great grandmother, had a herd of 13 cows back in Ireland. How would she feel about the Nye herd of around 5000 cows in Millard County? “My great grandmother would say “Mercy Maude” I think my great grandmother would be proud of what we’ve done. She would be amazed by the technology and the growth the dairy industry has had. She’d be proud of us for sticking to the family goals and still being in the dairy business.
What you might not know is that the milk goes to the Dannon plant is West Jordan, Utah and made into yogurt. Dannon goes through 2 million pounds of raw milk in a day. …that’s about 25 tanker trucks…in one day…that’s 3 million cups of yogurt. In a day!
Consider this your personal invitation to watch this entire episode of Jessop’s Journal and share it with someone that enjoys powerful, positive and inspirational story. Jessop’s Journal airs Sunday mornings at 10 on ABC4 TV and you can watch on-demand at JessopsJournal.com.
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.
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.
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