LOMETA — Michael Jordan and Brett Favre were known for their on-again-off-again retirements, and now Jeremy Shed might be following suit.

Shed, a 37-year-old Holdenville, Okla., native decided this year’s rodeo circuit would be his last and opted for the greener pastures of his children’s tee-ball fields.

There is just one problem. Like Jordan and Favre, Shed is at the top of his respective sport and proved it again Friday night with a score of 76, good enough to hold the lead in bareback riding after the first day of the 12th Annual Riata Round Up in Lometa.

“At some point I have to stop because I am getting old now – this is a young man’s game,” said Shed, the No. 1 ranked bareback rider in the United Professional Rodeo Association. “I’ve been talking about it for a couple years and now seems the time – I think.”

To the cowboys that know him best, all the retirement talk is just that – talk.

“I’ve been hearing him go on about this for a couple years but he can’t stop, he is still the best,” said close-friend and travel-buddy Tex Benfer. “Besides that, he is my ride to these things.”

Each weekend Shed and Benfer, along with fellow-cowboy Shawn Jones, pile into Shed’s 1999 Cadillac Deville with the bull horns strapped to the grill and drive more than six hours from Oklahoma to Texas to compete on the circuit.

“I still love it but my body takes a little longer to heal these days and that’s just from the car ride down here,” Shed said. “But I am still No. 1 and I hope to stay there for the rest of this year.”

Of course, like Jordan and Favre, once the competitive juices start flowing, any talk of retirement goes away.

After he scored his 76 and had the lead in bareback, he smiled. “Not bad for an old guy, huh,” he said with a laugh. “Maybe I’m not so close to retirement after all.”

No contestant was able to score in steer wrestling, while Stephenville’s Jackie Hobbs holds the lead in breakaway roping with a score of 3.24 seconds. The other events weren’t completed before deadline. The second day of the Riata Roundup starts tonight at 7 p.m. at the Lometa Regional Park.

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