Team roping heeler Jake Long continues to rope and succeed with broken foot
Team roping heeler Jake Long, a 12-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier, is dealing with some adversity and still succeeding.
Long broke his right foot at the 11th Annual Cervi Pro-Am in Casa Grande, Ariz., on Feb. 22, but was still able to come back and rope at RodeoHouston and advance to the semifinals, highlighted by winning round 1 with his partner Clay Smith in their bracket with a 4.7-second time on Feb. 28.
“I was at the Mike Cervi deal team roping and a steer went down in front of me, and my horse tripped over him,” Long said. “My horse went down and broke my foot. They put a cast on my foot on Feb. 26, two days before I roped (with Clay) at RodeoHouston. I was told I would be in the cast for a month and then a couple of weeks in a walking boot.”
Although Long broke his foot, he has remained upbeat.
“It is not too bad honestly,” Long said. “I put an inner tube on for a stirrup, just a piece of an inner tube and it basically works as a shock absorber for me. It takes a lot of the hard stuff away, where it doesn’t really hurt my foot. It kind of hurts when I first put it in there because of the angle I have to put it in at. It is kind of weird because you don’t have the stability of a real stirrup obviously, but it doesn’t hurt me.
“It is not as comforting as a real stirrup, but you have to do what you got to do. I have to zone in and focus a little bit more.”
The inner tube concept was based on Long’s past experience.
“Well actually I broke my foot in high school right before the high school finals and that was an idea we came up with back then and that was my first go-to thought when this happened,” Long said.
The irony to Long’s broken foot is last summer Smith, his partner and two-time PRCA World Champion Header, broke his right leg on June 28 and he continued to rope with the injury and the duo qualified for the NFR.
“I sure hope we are done with this stuff after this,” Long said. “I wasn’t planning on being on the other end of that ever. We have had to take care of each other a lot more than you normally would. I think we both stepped up when we needed to and been helpful and we definitely have a routine down.”
courtesy of the PRCA