Teen Cajun cowgirl Josie Conner answered the call of one tall order to take center stage and the gold medal at the $562,500 Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo in Salt Lake City. The 18-year-old pride of Iowa, Louisiana was surrounded by living legends the likes of Lari Dee Guy and Jackie Crawford in the Gold Medal Round on July 25, but did not back down. She gathered up all of her guts, went for the glory and skipped Salt Lake City $26,750 richer with a gold medal around her neck.
“This is by far my favorite rodeo, and I’m so happy to finally win it,” Josie said. “What an honor to rope against all of these ladies who’ve done so much for the sport and are so talented.”
Crawford set the new arena record on opening night with a sizzling 1.91-second run. Conner drew the same calf on closing night, and made it count in a 1.85-second blur via special delivery by her sorrel horse Dutch.
“We’re all great buds, so I think it’s ok to say, ‘Sorry, Jackie, but I’m glad to get your record,’” Josie smiled sweetly. “This is an awesome rodeo, and I flew in and rode Hope Thompson’s horse the first year they had it (in 2019), when I was 16. I missed, and cried the whole plane ride home. But that experience changed me for the better. I worked harder after that. I got on a workout program with a personal trainer, and gave it more than ever before.
“The WCRA upped the women’s rodeo game, and this rodeo changed everything for me personally. Losing here made me a better breakaway roper. It took three tries (in 2019, 2021 and 2022; the rodeo was canceled by Covid in 2020), so this is pretty sweet.”
Going 1-2-3 in the Gold Medal Round were Josie at 1.85, 20-time World Champ Jackie’s 2.36 and Taylor Hanchey’s 2.42 for the bronze. Hanchey is the first woman ever to qualify for the National Finals Rodeo in both barrel racing and breakaway roping, and is the wife of Days of ’47 Gold Medal Tie-Down Roper Shane Hanchey.
See all the great stories that rose up out of the Utah Days of ’47 Gold Medal Round for yourself this Sunday, July 31 at noon Eastern on CBS.