Rodeoing Is Rough, But Good Life For Payson Native


Hands gripped tight in his rig, legs wrapped around the horse's side, spurs waiting to rake its shoulders, sweat drips from the young cowboy's brow in anticipation of the wild ride to come.

Somewhere around 800 pounds of mean horse awaits Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association saddle bronc rider and Payson native, Jason Amon, every time he goes into a rodeo arena.


Jason Amon

While it may not sound like something the average person would want to do, Amon makes a living out of getting on a horse whose only goal is to throw him off any way it can.

Despite injuries like breaking his collarbone and countless bruises, cuts, gashes and scrapes, Amon said he can't see himself doing anything else.

It is hard to describe the feeling a person gets when there is nearly half a ton of cantankerous horse just under their nose.

Amon knows the feeling very well. Amon said he grew up around cowboys when he lived in Gisela and Payson, and to him it was just natural that he would go into rodeo.

"I guess it kinda came natural to me," he said.

"I always knew I would end up doing something like rodeo, and I'm sure I will still be a cowboy in some way when I can't rodeo anymore."

Amon was born in Payson on Oct. 31, 1985.

Amon's father, Mike Amon, said Jason has four brothers. "The oldest is Miko, he's 33, then there's Eddie, who is 29, and Levi, who will be 24 this month.

"We have another son, Chance, he died 11 years ago and that has been really tough on Jason, he took it really hard."

Amon's father said the entire family supports him, although they worry about him a lot.

"We support him 100 percent in his rodeo career, naturally we worry about him, his mom worries, just like all moms do, about their kids safety and well-being, but we are behind him all the way."

Amon graduated from Payson High School in 2004 and spent his life here until he went on the rodeo circuit in 2005.

Amon said he gets homesick sometimes for his mother's cooking.

"We have a pickup and a couple other vehicles we travel around the circuit in."

"Sometimes I do get a little homesick for home and some of Mom's cooking, but you get used to living on the circuit after a while," Amon said.

Amon will be in town competing in the Payson Rodeo next week.

The event is at the Payson Event Center west of Mazatzal Hotel & Casino. This year the rodeo will be Aug. 17, 18 and 19.

Amon will compete in Payson on Friday, Aug 17 in the saddle bronc category for a possible $3200 in prize money.

He said, "After we get done in Payson we go on to Mescalero, New Mexico for the Mescalero Pro Rodeo."

Amon said he probably wouldn't have much time to visit with friends or family while he is in Payson because he has to be in New Mexico Aug. 18 to compete.

Amon's family is hopeful that if he is able to get into Payson by Thursday, he will have some time to relax with them before his event on Friday.

Among the PRCA events Amon has participated in the last couple of years are rodeos in Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Colorado, California and Wyoming.

He said sometimes the prize money is not all that much.

"A lot of the money, well, most of the money goes to keeping the trucks and vehicles running and for food and hotels, but it's a good life," he said.

Amon rode saddle bronc in the 21st Annual Fourth of July Youth Celebration in Window Rock, Ariz.

He placed fourth with a score of 72 and took home a purse of $665 out of the $95,721 prize money available for all events. Currently the young man is ranked 13th in his circuit for bronc riders.

Amon's family owns and operates Amon Builders in Payson and have been here for about 24 years and owned the business for almost 18 years.

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