News Jason and Holly Dent ride from one adventure to the next
By Jason W. Selby
Dec 8, 2014, 08:37
Jason Dent, AKA Whistle-Nut the rodeo clown, with his pet bull Ole.
WAYNE COUNTY COUPLE TAKES ON MODELING, BULLS, BUSINESS, FLYING, FARMING AND NOW PARENTHOOD
Jason Dent owns a pet rodeo bull. His wife Holly is a part time runway model for wedding apparel. They are just your average farming couple in Wayne County.
The bull in question is Ole (pronounced oh-lee), the grandson of legendary, three-time PBR bull-of-the-year Little Yellow Jacket.
Holly has been working for Allure Bridals for almost 10 years. She travels from Atlanta to Chicago, from Memphis to Dallas when bridal season begins.
“It usually starts in the spring,” Holly said. “From March to October. So I’m on the road all the time. Between Jason’s rodeos and me traveling, we stay pretty busy in the summer.
“I do more runway. Like if you were a buyer for a bridal company, you come to these markets and place your orders. You put all the dresses on, and do the runway shows on the catwalk and all that good stuff. They’re like a second family to me now.
“It’s pretty rare that they keep one model for that long. I’m pretty privileged, in that in two or three years, they usually move on. I started with them when I was 19 or 20.”
Holly started with an agency in Joplin, Mo.
“It’s a lot of fun. You get to travel and see all kinds of cool stuff. We went to New York [City] a few years ago, helped out with a photo shoot. I got to be a stylist and pick out all the jewelry and dress.
“My long-term goals were, I wanted to own my own business, and I wanted to model, so I can check those off my list.”
Holly owns The Painted Mane Salon in Humeston, where she works as a cosmetologist. She graduated from Mormon Trail Community High School in 2002, and played for the Saints basketball team that went to the state tournament in 2001. Jason is a 1997 Mormon Trail graduate. They got married in 2005, and are expecting a baby next March 11. Jason paid for both of the couples’ wedding rings with money he earned from riding bulls.
“Of course Jason’s hoping for a boy,” Holly said. “I have a strong feeling it’s a boy.”
Holly’s parents are Kim Brown and the late Randy Beavers. Jason’s parents are Judd and Joyce Dent of rural Humeston.
The family lived in Kansas when Jason was a maintenance manager at ConAgra Foods. He graduated from Northwest Missouri State University with a degree in ag management.
Holly describes Jason as a jack-of-all-trades, one who knows no strangers. He built her salon. During the interview, he spent part of the time taking a telephone call from a satellite radio host attempting to book Jason for an on-air spot.
“I quit riding bulls in 2008,” Jason said. “I rode bulls for 12 years. I went to college in Maryville, and I got on the college rodeo team.
“You can’t even describe it. It’s like knowing that you’re 40 miles per hour over the speed limit, getting pulled over, you know you’re going to jail, lose your license, and then the cop drives past you to pull someone else over. Just like the relief. It’s like you’re scared to death, and then it’s the best feeling ever—at the same time.
“Riding bulls wraps all your emotion, all the good feelings, the bad feelings, the scared feelings, the happy feelings. It’s like crying and laughing, morning and night all together in one. It’s like an explosion.
“When you ride that bull, it’s like no confidence you can get anywhere [else]. I always just call it the four Cs. Riding bulls builds character, charisma, confidence and courage.
“It builds charisma because, alright, I’m tall, six foot four. I wear this cowboy hat everywhere I go. People say, ‘What are you, some sort of cowboy or something?’ You have to think of happy, funny, charismatic ways to explain it to people. You have to think of ways to spin it so that everyone is happy when they leave.”
But as Jason himself would admit, he had charisma before he ever stepped in a rodeo ring. Jason gives the example of going to the chiropractor that day:
“[The receptionist] said, ‘I think he drinks Red Bulls before he comes in. I think more than 15 minutes of that guy would be hard to handle. His wife must be an angel.’” Pointing at Holly and laughing, Jason replied to the receptionist, “Not an angel!”
“He’s the most outgoing guy you’ll ever meet,” Holly said.
“I just have an opinion on everything,” Jason said. “But I try to make my opinion not abrasive, where it’s polite enough and light enough that people aren’t repulsed by it.”
Holly and Jason were not happy with their life in Kansas, or with Jason’s duties with ConAgra.
“That’s where the devil was spawned,” Jason said.
“The only good thing that came out of that was the modeling,” Holly said.
“I quit riding bulls for a quick little bit,” Jason said. “At six foot four, I had long arms, so I could ride those rank bulls without many movements, and I was getting underscored, constantly. Now there’s six foot four bull riders in the PBR. They’re seeing how they can ride, because these judges were used to short guys.
“I was over the top all the time—with good form. [The judges] are like, ‘If he’s got that good of form on that rank of bull, its not bucking the way it normally does.’ False. It is. I don’t have to make as many movements to shift my hips back into place. I’ve got long legs—I’ve got a lot of surface area to cover.
“But now, it’s coming around. See, if I were a bull rider now, I would be getting those 90-point rides like I should’ve been. Because there are enough tall riders that’s it’s undeniable. It’s just because of what people were used to that were in control of the situations. That’s their opinion.”
Jason’s worst rodeo injury resulted in a trip by life flight from Knoxville to Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines.
“I won the first round. It was a two-day deal. We jumped in the truck and drove to What Cheer, rode bulls that night. Came back the next day to Knoxville. The guys that rode their bulls the day before all got bucked off. So basically all I had to do was cover my bull—stay on the eight seconds and I’d have won the whole deal.
“The bull stepped on my head and knocked me out, and they life flighted me to Mercy. I was unconscious for 45 minutes, had blood coming out of both my ears. They thought I was going to die because I was unconscious for so long.”
But Jason’s dissatisfaction with his job while they lived in Kansas hurt him worse than any bull.
“Just ridiculous hours and corporate bologna,” Jason said. “ConAgra is a basket case. They basically own the food stores. Between Monsanto and ConAgra, it’s a monopoly. If you were to take all the products on the shelves today—I digress, this is ADHD kicking in, because I could relate every subject I talk about to some other subject—if you were to do a real, thorough investigation of where products come from, I bet there would be three names—GE, ConAgra and Monsanto. And then, of course, you’ve got your banks. But that’s a different [thread].”
For Holly, modeling became her outlet from corporate America. For Jason, it was a return to bull riding.
The couple moved back to their home, a farm near Humeston, around 10 years ago.
WHISTLE-NUT & OLE
“Because of my bull riding and my horses and my grandpa being a cowboy, showing Herefords all over the planet, I don’t ever want to let it go,” Jason said. “When I moved back, I really didn’t feel like riding bulls again. So I did the rodeo clown thing.”
“He fell into that, too,” Holly said. “He wasn’t looking for it.”
“I made the finals in 2007,” Jason said, “and halfway through 2008, I started training that bull. I started riding that bull, and that’s when I quit. I got on that bull, and he quit bucking, and I thought, ‘I’m going to train this [son-of-a-gun] to ride with a saddle.’”
Jason discovered the star of his show, Ole, when the bull did not live up to his bucking bloodline. Jason offered to buy the animal on the spot, and as a trainer of horses, went about taming Ole for almost two years. He now bills his act as Whistle-Nut the rodeo clown and his tame bull, where people get the opportunity to sit upon Ole. Information about the act can be found at the Whistle-Nut & Ole Facebook page.
“That’s how I try to market it,” Jason said. “You don’t get to put your hands on a PBR bull. Even if you’re at the PBR, you don’t get to really touch them. The grandson of Little Yellow Jacket. That was the hottest bloodline going at that time.”
Riding Ole is not out of the question, but it is a matter of time constraints. At one event, there might be 300 people lined up to sit on the bull, and giving each a ride would be impossible.
For Jason, the satisfaction of training Ole was a different kind of rush from bull riding.
“It’s the exact opposite feeling,” Jason said. “But I like to grow all the time. I don’t ever want to be monotonous. I don’t want to be in a routine. Every year, I want to do something bigger, better, faster, stronger than I did the year before. You’ve got one life to live, and I want to live every ounce of it.
“I tried to get my pilot’s license. I realized as I was flying through the air, it’s really simple. You have to use really light touches. Anything that you do drastic, you’ll crash. Even the rudder. They’re just real easy movements.
“I wanted to get that refinement with my actions. I already knew how to be light in a bridle, training horses. With that bull, there’s no such thing as a light touch. You almost have to use baby whispers. There’s no way you could overpower him. With horses, I could pull them down to the ground. You can manhandle a horse if you need to. You cannot, under any circumstances whatsoever, think about manhandling a bull. They will train wreck you. That’s why I thought, ‘This is a bigger challenge than I realized.’ The ultimate challenge for me.
“If you could get Red Bull to do a contest for the coolest things on the planet—you get a violinist in there, a guy building robotics, a singer—you get the best thing in every category and put them in one coliseum, that bull would be there.”
Whistle-Nut and Ole tour most of the summer. Jason’s next event will be in Ames on Feb. 21.
“Basically, Ole will run the barrel pattern. I carry the flag on him. But, for the most part, I just let people interact with him. I’ve got merchandise, T-shirts and bandanas. I’m just trying to let people know that you can take a bucking bull—it’s all training, maybe it goes back to my character, he’s just amazing—there’s no way he should act like that. It’s the fact that he is a bull.”
“He loves taking pictures,” Holly said of Ole. “He knows when there’s a kid on him. He loves kids.”
Jason won a rodeo clown contest this year as a solo act, but he acknowledges Ole as the force behind his recent success.
“That bull is what got me where I am,” Jason said. “It got us both on the radar. I’ve got a guy that wants to pay me to come up to Montana for a month, and do a bunch of rodeo stuff.
“In my opinion, if anyone on the planet has an event, I don’t care if it is a wedding, I feel like me and Ole should be there. I’m like the circus.”
The couple’s next adventure will be parenthood. Jason already juggles farming with rodeo, and he will add a baby to the mix this spring. As with any of their adventures, Jason and Holly go into this next phase without fear.
“The thing that scares me the most is regretting things that I didn’t do,” Jason said. “It’s going to be amazing. Everyone’s telling me my world’s going to flip upside-down. I’m excited.”