Partnerships are credited as a key part of the successes of professional team roping heeler Jake Long of Coffeyville.
Headed to his eighth National Finals Rodeo (NFR) at Las Vegas, December 6-15, Long insists it’s a three-way partnership.
Of course, first comes family including wife Tasha, who he married in 2005, and their daughters Haven, seven, and Haizlee, six.
Impossible to be a team roper without a partner and Long appreciates his header Luke Brown, Rock Hill, South Carolina.
They’ve partnered at every 2018 Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) yearend point competition each collecting $83,102.
Long is ninth in the Top 15 heeler list, and Brown came in 10th among headers.
Long’s four-legged partner is likely to go down in team roping history as one of the greatest horses ever. For the third year in a row, Zans Colonel Shine has been named the top PRCA Heeling Horse.
The award is presented by the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA). It’s the first time the same heeling horse and owner have been honored three consecutive years.
The sorrel gelding called Colonel for short has made a huge impact on Long’s roping career. Owned by Long and his wife, Colonel has become part of the family, especially a favorite of Long’s daughters.
Now 14, Colonel was purchased as a six-year-old from Dixon Flowers Performance Horses in 2010. He was sired by Zans Diamond Shine and is out of Foxy Angelo by Col J Jigger.
Honored earlier as an AQHA yearend high-point heeling horse, Long recognized Colonel’s ability.
The first couple of years, Long was riding another horse, “Mikey.” So, he took Colonel along and gave him time to get used to the rodeo life.
Colonel helped Long qualify for the NFR in 2014 and 2015 where he roped with Coleman Proctor. This is the third season Long has roped with Brown.
At last year’s NFR, Long and Colonel more than doubled their regular-season earnings, placing fourth in yearend standings.
Since Colonel has been his horse partner, the lowest Long has finished in the world standings is sixth.
“He’s big, strong, fast, and solid, doesn’t make any mistakes, and is a real blessing,” Long credited.
This year, Long and Brown won the team roping at rodeos in Prescott, Arizona; Caldwell, Idaho; and Douglas, Wyoming.
Both Long and his wife have degrees from Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva.
Long’s parents Cricket Long, a rancher, and Pam Weatherby, a teacher, competed in amateur rodeos, and Long followed family tradition.
Six-feet-tall, 205-pounds, Long did limited tie down calf roping during school days, but he sticks to team roping now. “I’ve done some heading. I can rope either end, but I’m really a heeler. I’ve mainly heeled,” he said.
Joining the PRCA in 2003, Long has nearly $1.4 million in professional rodeo arenas.
“Rodeo is a great life, and to have the success makes it even better. I’m really fortunate to be living my dream,” Long said.