Ahead of Clovis Rodeo, fans kick off inaugural steer wrestling jackpot

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It's high action and fast-paced - the sport of steer wrestling took over the Clovis Rodeo Grounds Monday, but this event also paid tribute to one if it's own with the John W. Jones Memorial Steer Wrestling event. (KFSN)

It's high action and fast-paced - the sport of steer wrestling took over the Clovis Rodeo Grounds Monday, but this event also paid tribute to one if it's own with the John W. Jones Senior Memorial Steer Wrestling event.

"Thinking of something awesome we could do in honor of his memory and his legacy, because he was a great steer wrestler and our most favorite person in the world," Jones' granddaughter Shannon said. "It's something that he loved to do and a celebration of his passions and this idea was birthed."

Shannon's is the granddaughter of the 1970 world champion, and she even wears his vintage belt buckle to remember him by. She says the event was held in Clovis because of her family's connection to the city.

"This is a place very near and dear to his heart," she said. "He grew up here."

The event has become a family affair.

"My brother-in-law Bear Pascoe also attended Fresno State and played football there," Shannon said. "And he has played a tremendous role in this event as well. So, it does fit really well that we could do it at Clovis."

With the Clovis Rodeo just days away, the event Monday brought out some of the best steer wrestlers including five-time world champion Luke Branquinho who learned from the late cowboy.

"Just his words and wisdom and advice that he gave me when I was younger helped me to be as successful as I am now," he said. "Not only was he a great teacher, but he was a great family man, great grandfather, father and an all around great person and that's what legends are made out of."

Branquinho hoped to make his mentor proud by wrestling his way to the top. More than 70 of the best cowboys competed in the more traditional steer wrestling event, which included larger steer used on many ranches.

This is the first year for the John W. Jones Senior Memorial Steer Wrestling event. With so much support, they're looking forward to doing it again next year.

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