Joe Simon buys and sells horses for a living. So when it comes to purchasing animals to perform at PRCA rodeos, the owner of Joe Simon Rodeo Company hopes his expertise will turn into dividends.
Just last weekend at the Pace Picante ProRodeo Challenge in Omaha, Neb., Simon's saddle bronc, Tall Timber, carried Cody DeMoss to the first-round title with an 87-point ride. And he said the purchase of that horse was "an accident."
But maybe Simon's biggest accomplishment came on a bull he took a chance on last year.
Simon shelled out $13,500 for the bull now known as Dippin' Cooter, which bucked off Jerry Shepherd in the first round and Matt Austin in the semifinals in Omaha and was voted most outstanding bull of the Pace Challenge.
"When I bought him, people thought I went too high on a bull too young," said Simon about the purchase of the then 3 year-old bull. "At all the rodeos, he's scored a low of 22 points from the judges. I'm more of a horse man than a bull man, but in this business, I always want to buy something that's better than anything I have."
Of course, with the successes also come the ones than got away.
In the fall of 1996, Simon sold Dell Hall of Rafter H Rodeo Company a big, muley crossbred bull for $7,000. Two years later, that bull, Skoal's King Kong, was the selected as the PRCA Bucking Bull of the Year.
"You surely hope you know a good one when you see it," Simon said. "They say it takes money to go to college, and I've paid my tuition quite a few times. I've had to learn by making mistakes."
Simon is the third-generation family member raised in the horse business. His involvement with horses piqued his interest in bucking horses, which led to the purchase of Dakota West Rodeo Company in 1990. The next year, he partnered with Jerome Robinson to operate Double J Rodeo Company. In 2002, he bought out B Bar J Rodeo Company and renamed the company Joe Simon Rodeo.
Besides being the force behind the company that puts on 18 rodeos primarily in the upper Midwest, Simon also is considered one of the largest horse brokers, merchandizing as many as 10,000 head of horses a year. Just last weekend, Simon attended horse shows in Belle Fourche, S.D.; Sheridan, Wyo.; Billings, Mont.; and Williston, N.D., purchasing more than 250 head between the four events.
And Simon says that's a conservative estimate of a normal week.
"I'll handle at least 250 horses every week," Simon said. "I buy all kinds of horses. When I'm at a sale, I look at the shape and quality of every individual horse. I have a price for every kind of horse. If it's a pony or the best riding horse, it has to fit the figures. I visually have a price to go with every horse I buy. A lot of horses I pass on I wish I would have bought."
Fortunately, Simon's weekend in Omaha wasn't met with any regrets. Instead, he had to give himself a little credit for having the foresight, or just plain luck, of having the opportunity to purchase the right animal at the right time.
Sometimes that foresight and luck go hand in hand.
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