Evan Jayne’s isn’t a typical Texas dialect.
His has a distinct flavor, aged over his 36 years on this Earth and containing a heavy clove of his French raising and the last two decades in the Lone Star State. It has been bathed by bucking horses and years spent on the rodeo trail.
“Texas has always felt like home,” said Jayne, a newly retired bareback rider who was born in southern France and has spent most of his live in the United States chasing his rodeo dreams. “France was definitely in my heart, especially southern France. But we have a lot of similarities with Texas.
“Texans are very proud to be Texans. It’s almost like they’re Texan first and American second. That’s the way it is in Provence, the region in southern France where I’m from. In a way, the Texans resembled southern France the way they’re proud of their heritage and their land.”
Jayne was 14 years old when he saw videos of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. He fell in love with the idea of being a cowboy, then focused his attention on becoming one. He moved to the United States as a foreign-exchange student during his junior year, then he remained in Texas after the program ended.
For another year, he stayed with his host family, the Rigbys, in Magnolia and graduated from private school, then it was on to Sam Houston State University, where he earned his degree in agriculture.
“When it was time to pick a university, I picked Huntsville because it was close to my host family,” said Jayne, a two-time NFR qualifier now living in Glen Rose with his wife, Kristin, and their 6-year-old daughter, Sienna; they are expecting a son later this month. “Once I graduated from college, I could have moved anywhere, and by that time, I’d seen a lot of the country because of rodeo.
“When we’d come back from rodeoing, I’d cross the state line and felt like I was home. I didn’t feel lost anymore.”
He had been searching most of his life, and it seems as though he has found it. While on the rodeo trail a few years ago, he stumbled upon Glen Rose and found a familiarity in the community of 2,600.
“The surroundings, the trees … it felt like home out here,” he said.
He’ll be there a little more often in the days to come. After suffering a broken pelvis in late April that required surgery, Jayne has decided to hang up his bareback rigging and his spurs for a life closer to home. Because rodeo cowboys have so much passion for their jobs, it wasn’t an easy decision, but it was the right one for him.
“I can’t let rodeo destroy my body to where I can’t play soccer with my kids or teach my son to ride bucking horses some day if that’s what he wants,” Jayne said. “They’ve given so much to get me to my dream, which was to make the NFR. I’m thankful for all the sacrifices. Now I have to make the sacrifices.” —Ted Harbin
Ted Harbin is a longtime journalist who spent 22 years in the newspaper industry before focusing on rodeo. He owns Rodeo Media Relations and TwisTed Rodeo and is one of just eight individuals to be honored with media awards by both the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association. He lives in Maryville, Mo., with is wife, Lynette, and their two daughters, Laney and Channing.