“I have two goals for my rodeo career these days, and they’re pretty simple. I intend to always try my hardest, and to have fun while I’m doing it.”
Then, the bareback bronc rider contended, “If I win something along the way, that’s just a plus for trying hard and enjoying myself while I’m doing it.”
Certainly, Justin Lindquist of Lindsborg must be having a good time, and his effort is obvious by the winning record achieved in Midwest rodeos this season.
He’s been on 15 bareback broncs and had qualified rides on all of them. That’s 100 percent.
“I won four rodeos, placed at nine others, and didn’t draw good enough to get in the money on the other two,” Lindquist evaluated.
While his “perfect record” of qualified rides, accompanied by winnings, would make many quite envious, the most inspirational aspect of Lindquist’s success is that he’s 40 years old.
Riding bareback broncs is considered one of the most physically demanding events in the sport of rodeo, and most champions have retired from the event by that age.
Lindquist, too, had taken an “early retirement of sorts” from competition, and then came back to ride and win at the level of his younger years.
“I became a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) official, and judged rodeos all over the country four years, sometimes 60 performances a year,” Lindquist related.
Then, he decided, “I wanted to spend time with my wife and our boys, so I stopped judging and stayed home.”
However, the rodeo urge would not ease. “After a year, I decided I’d start competing again, but stay close to home, and it’s worked out quite well,” contended Lindquist, who works fulltime 40 to 50 hours a week at Great Plains Manufacturing in Salina.
“I plan my rodeos so I don’t have to miss work, but I may have to take off a couple of days for the Prairie Circuit Finals, October 17-19, in Duncan, Oklahoma,” Lindquist admitted.
He’s presently in fifth place in the circuit, after ending the past two years in seventh and fourth place, respectively. “I won’t be able to make up enough to win the year, but I could move up in the standings at the finals,” tallied Lindquist, who’s collected $4,522 in winnings at professional rodeos this year.
Raised on a ranch near Brookville, Lindquist started his rodeo career riding calves and steers at eight years of age. “As a young teenager, I attended two rodeo schools conducted by Lyle Sankey to learn how to ride bareback horses,” Lindquist said.
Competing successfully in high school rodeos, Lindquist earned a place on the Fort Scott Junior College Rodeo Team as an all-around cowboy. “I team roped, steer wrestled and rode bulls for three years. I was seventh in the bareback bronc riding in the Central Plains Region in 1993,” he remembered.
Purchasing his PRCA permit while on the college team, Lindquist started competing in rodeos professionally in 1992, and made his first Prairie Circuit Finals in’94, a feat matched the following two years.
“Then, I competed in the Great Lakes Circuit and went to those finals, until I decided to start officiating rodeos in 2003,” related Lindquist, who did some horse shoeing for added income while competing in as many as 85 rodeos annually.
Admitting that being a rodeo official had economic advantages due to the “guaranteed check at every rodeo,” Lindquist missed riding broncs during that period.
“I could have competed at rodeos where I wasn’t a pro official, but I always felt there was a conflict of interest, so to speak, and didn’t do it,” he analyzed.
Coming back into competition, Lindquist has been forced to change his physical fitness program.
“Things change when you get my age. I didn’t think much about it when I was 25, but now I work out six days a week, about 45 minutes at a time, pull-ups, push-ups, abdominal and yoga-type exercises in front of a video on television. No weight machine,” claimed Lindquist, admitting he might miss a session “sometimes.”
Not back to his physique of college days, the five-foot-seven, 165-pound cowboy weighed 15 pounds less earlier in his career, but is 30 pounds lighter than when on the road officiating.
Key to being a successful bareback rider is ability of the cowboy to fall back and spur the bucking horse on every jump, and Lindquist has trained diligently to master that very tough requirement.
“I practiced and practiced and still do on a spur board and a square bale of hay. I get more out of that than getting on lots of bucking horses. I also watch videos of the bareback riders that I really admire,” claimed Lindquist.
“I was unable to participate in gymnastics and wrestling while in school, because they weren’t available. But, I think both sports would have been beneficial to developing my riding and spurring,” Lindquist said.
There have been many exceptional rides and wins for Lindquist, but one of the most memorable was the time he won the Dickinson, North Dakota, Fourth of July Rodeo in 2002, with 86 points on Anchor Bay of the Korkow Rodeo string.
“He’s the type of horse that bucks hard every time. Cowboys like to draw him, because they can win some money if they get him ridden,” Lindsborg said.
While his percentage of completed marked rides is 100 percent this year, Lindquist’s lifetime record is close to that. “I did almost get bucked off at Abilene this year, but I made it to the whistle. I’ve qualified on more than 40 broncs straight in my career, but there’s always one that’s going to get you sometime,” he admitted.
Rodeo is never without hazard, and Lindquist has suffered injury, but not from falling off. “I’ve had three broken legs and separated my ribs twice.
“The broken legs came when horses fell with me after the whistles, and the rib injuries just happened from the exertion and strain. I didn’t even realize it until the pickup men got me on the ground,” Lindquist critiqued.
Although saddle bronc riders sometimes continue competing highly successfully at Lindquist’s maturity, he hasn’t competed in that event very often. “I tried to ride a few saddle broncs, but I couldn’t ever seem to get with them. You’re supposed to lift on the rein, and I always seemed to pull, and they’d pull back right back, throwing me over their heads,” he critiqued.
Admitting that there are fewer bareback riders in some rodeos than a decade or two ago, Lindquist evaluated, “This year, there were early injuries that kept several riders out of the summer rodeos, but as a whole I don’t think high school and college teams t seem to be pushing the rough stock events as much as perhaps they should.
“I think rodeo is like the weather; it goes in ten year cycles. There’s a drought, and then floods. I think rodeo might be going through a drought at the bucking chutes, but I’m confident it will come back,” Lindquist predicted.
Appreciating the opportunity to continue competing successfully in the sport he loves, Lindquist is even more pleased to be home at night to be closer to his sons, ten-year-old Cayson, and three-year-old Kylan, and their mother and his wife of 17 years, Holly, who is a first grade teacher and a cross country coach.
While the family lives in town now, and doesn’t have any horses, Lindquist said, “We’ll probably get some horses. Our youngest son seems set on being a cowboy and sure likes to ride the old mare his grandpa has,” Lindquist said.
Looking down the road for his personal rodeo career, Lindquist evaluated, “I take it one horse at a time. I may decide to stop tomorrow, but as lo