PRCA File Photo by Mike Copeman
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Seven-time World Champion Team Roper Jake Barnes suffered a traumatic brain injury and a broken ankle Nov. 27 when his horse fell while practicing at his Scottsdale, Ariz.-area arena with heeler Junior Nogueira. Barnes remains hospitalized and has withdrawn from the Dec. 3-12 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
Barnes will be replaced as Nogueira’s partner by 16th-place header JoJo LeMond, who will join Trevor Brazile as the only men to qualify for both the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping and WNFR this year.
ProRodeo Hall of Famer Barnes, 56, this year qualified for his 27th WNFR – third on the all-time list behind past partners Allen Bach and Clay O’Brien Cooper – by finishing 11th during the regular season. Barnes holds the WNFR record for most round wins by a team roping header with 31. Barnes and O’Brien Cooper also own the NFR team roping average record, with 59.1 seconds on 10 steers back in 1994.
In a GoFundMe website posting by Barnes’ wife, Toni, she reports that Barnes had his head stepped on after the horse fell, causing the traumatic head injury – bleeding and bruising of the brain.
“He is alert and talking,” Toni Barnes wrote, “but is very sick while dealing with the swelling and will be for several days, maybe weeks. The head injury will need time and lots of peaceful rest. It is too dangerous for him to compete with Junior at the NFR this year.
“We are getting lots of love and care calls and texts. I will try and update as it unfolds. It is just too difficult to keep up with them all during this time. For now I need to focus on him and he needs prayers and rest and privacy until he is completely out of the woods and feeling better.”
The Jake Barnes Relief Fund GoFundMe account (www.gofundme.com/56ch4pkk#_=_) set up by fellow team roper Rickey Green has set a target amount of $100,000 to help cover Barnes’ medical expenses. In the first 24 hours, the account had raised $18,000 from 157 contributors.
The last time an injury replacement was needed was in 2010 when saddle bronc rider Rod Hay was unable to compete due to a broken leg and was replaced by Jesse Wright.