J.D. Jones, 25, former Miami resident and rodeo rider, dies in competition accident
BY TIM STANLEY World Staff Writer
Sunday, November 25, 2012
11/25/12 at 4:28 AM
Just because J.D. Jones loved bucking broncs didn't mean he never took things at an easier clip.
Sometimes the situation called for it.
"He was just a few months old, and I was scared to death," said McKenzie Nygren, Jones' fiancée, of the first time their son, Clancey, rode with his father.
"But he seemed to feel right at home in the saddle with J.D. You could already see a lot of his daddy in Clancey. No fear."
Jones and Nygren, who met as students at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M in Miami, where they were in the equine program, liked to go riding together, too.
In fact, in light of his new role as family man, Jones, an up-and-coming rodeo rider, had reconsidered his life goals.
Instead of saddle stardom, Nygren said, "all J.D. talked about now was how he couldn't wait to teach Clancey to ride and to be a cowboy. He was so looking forward to going to rodeos with him."
Justin "J.D." Jones, who had ridden in rodeos all over Oklahoma and the region, died Nov. 10 in Las Vegas after being critically injured by his horse during the Indian National Finals Rodeo. He was 25.
A service was held Nov. 16 at Flying Cow Arena in Afton. Worley-Luginbuel Funeral Home of Grove was in charge of arrangements.
A native of Oklahoma City, Jones had attended school in Neosho, Mo.
He began participating in amateur rodeo in high school and traveled a lot with it after graduating.
He was 16 the first time he tried a bucking bronc.
"He had competed in all the events, but saddle bronc became his favorite. He began doing it every time he had the chance," Nygren said, adding that Jones earned a rodeo scholarship to NEO.
Las Vegas was his first time competing in the Indian National finals.
A friendly, outgoing cowboy who liked being the center of attention, Jones "had always wanted to be in Las Vegas under the lights, with the roar of the crowd," Nygren said. "It was a dream come true."
Jones, who was representing the Cherokee Nation at the event, was in fourth place in the saddle bronc competition when the accident occurred.
According to news reports, he was thrown from his horse and got his foot stuck in the stirrup. His horse then fell on him, kicking him in the head. Jones died shortly afterward at a hospital.
"J.D. was a favorite of the rodeo because of his passion and respect of the sport," officials with the Las Vegas event said in a statement. "He died doing something he loved."
It was a shared love for horses that brought Jones and Nygren together.
While students at NEO, "we had our own horses there, and we would get up early in the morning, before classes, and go riding," she said.
Their son, Clancey, now 11 months old, was 3 weeks old when he attended his first rodeo: the International Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City, in which his dad competed.
The boy is too young to know much about the joys of riding yet. But there's a good chance he will soon.
Nygren said she and some of Jones' rodeo friends will try to fill in with Clancey and teach him cowboy ways.
Jones had reined in somewhat his plan of being a professional rider, Nygren said, adding that his "goals and dreams had shifted."
The couple, who previously lived in Miami, Stillwater and Blanchard, recently moved to Goodman, Mo., where Jones was working as a plumber in helping to rebuild Joplin.
"He knew that rodeo - the time on the road and the danger of it - didn't really go with having a family," Nygren said.
Jones' survivors include his fiancée, McKenzie Nygren; a son, Clancey Jones; his father, John Jones, and wife, Jill; his mother, Sharon Martineau, and husband, Mark; seven siblings; and his grandparents, Pat and Richard Voss and Tom Jones.
Memorial donations may be made to the J.D. Jones/Clancey Jones Memorial Fund in care of Grand Savings Bank, P.O. Box 451809, Grove, OK 74345, or at P.O. Box 690, Jay, OK 74346.
Original Print Headline: Cowboy loved competing in rodeos, riding horses
Tim Stanley 918-581-8385
J.D. Jones died Nov. 10 in Las Vegas after being critically injured by his horse during the Indian National Finals Rodeo.