Bareback riding on the rodeo circuit requires a huge dose of athletic ability and lots of practice in the arena.
“It takes the same kind of person to be a bareback rider in the rodeo as it does to be a pro football middle linebacker,” said JC Trujillo, General Manager of Prescott Frontier Days.
What kind of person is that? In a word: Tough.
Trujillo was six years old when he took second place in the Yavapai Mounted Sheriff’s Posse Junior Rodeo in Prescott.
“I guess that’s what started me in the rodeo business,” Trujillo said. “It gave me that spur to go on.”
Trujillo was born at Prescott Community Hospital, now Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC). He hit the professional rodeo circuit full throttle in 1972, riding in 100 rodeos a season for years. During his career, Trujillo qualified for 12 national finals and in 1981 he won the Bareback World Championship. Trujillo’s career was capped with his 1994 induction into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.
Even with his decades of experience and championships, Trujillo knows things don’t always go as planned when horses, riders and rodeos are concerned. This was the case when both JC and his father, Albert, a longtime local rancher and rodeo legend, found themselves needing medical attention on the same day, but in different locations.
“I had hurt my knee at the rodeo in El Paso, Texas and when I got to the rodeo in Wickenburg my knee was too swollen to ride,” Trujillo explained.
Trujillo learned his father – who was helping out at the rodeo in Wickenburg – had been injured earlier that day.
“I said, ‘If I’m going to the hospital, I’m going back to Prescott,’” recalled Trujillo.
When he arrived at YRMC’s Emergency Department, JC met up with his father who was also was being treated for his injury.
“The Trujillo’s were daily doubled in the hospital that day,” Trujillo said with a smile.