In 2016, a senior member of the Ballard FFA Chapter in Iowa sat in the bleachers of the Indiana State Fair Coliseum as he watched the World’s Toughest Rodeo at the 89th National FFA Convention & Expo. Just three years later, at this week’s 92nd National FFA Convention & Expo, Nick Jordan’s view is from inside the arena, as he completes his first professional bronc ride in The World’s Toughest Rodeo.
“I never really dreamed I’d be back here doing this professionally,” Nick says. “Last time I was here, I was just considering it, thinking I’d like to try. But now I’m here riding in the pro rodeo, and it’s just super great to be back here.”
Nick grew up with little agricultural background and no rodeo experience. However, he was a founding member of his FFA chapter and he contributes part of his success to that experience.
“Our school didn’t have an FFA chapter, but we were lucky to have a great advisor like Jenny Lichty to lead the way. As a charter member, it was a really great experience to be able to build our FFA chapter,” Nick says. “One of the big things was my SAE project. You have to make sure you have all those records so you can know if you’re doing something good and when you’re doing it.”
Because of his diligence with his supervised agricultural experience (SAE) projects and the detailed spreadsheets he made just to track his hobbies, Lichty, was not at all surprised when he set and reached his goal.
“He was probably the student I underestimated the most, not because he didn’t have potential, but he always kept surprising me with the things he was going to do,” Lichty says. “He was a hard worker and he knew his priorities.”
Nick says the support of his advisor, friends and family has been one of the most overwhelming parts of his journey. One of his biggest supporters was by his side at the rodeo in 2016 and is now the loudest fan in the stands. Joseph Jordan, Nick’s younger brother, could not be prouder.
“It was awesome. I just remember him and me coming to national convention together a few times, and we’d come to this rodeo and watch it,” Joe says. “We’d cheer for the red or blue team, and now he’s out there on the blue team and I get to cheer for him. I’m very proud of him for doing what he’s doing. It’s hard to believe that he’s a pro rodeoer.”
Having the opportunity to watch Nick reach his goals inspires Joe as a member and a brother.
“I can learn from him with the dedication that he has now,” Joe says. “I’m not as crazy as him hopping on a wild horse, but I can definitely take notes on his determination, how he’s fought through his obstacles and accomplished his goal, and is living life to the fullest.”
Nick plans to keep competing professionally and hopes be successful enough to support himself and his family. Although Nick encountered many obstacles in his pursuit of his dream, he followed his own advice and pressed on. He challenges FFA members to do the same.
“Never lose hope. Stay hungry. Get back on the horse and stay strong,” Nick says. “Whatever you have a passion for, you’ve got to chase it. Do whatever you can and fight for it. Chase it hard and keep going, and things are going to happen for you no matter what it is.”