Jesse Odom – 1926 -2016
We lost a good one on March 14th, as Arizona roping pioneer, Jesse Odom, “checked out” as he wanted, in his sleep, at home, with his wife at his side.
Jesse was best known within the roping world as producer, with partner Richard Mayfield, of the Annual Pot of Gold Roping. The Pot of Gold was a four day event held each year at Rawhide arena in Scottsdale. The Odom/Mayfield team were extremely creative and Pot of Gold was a predecessor to the handicap system, using various age combinations in several divisions. They were also ahead of their times concerning high dollar entry fees. They annually held a $1,000 per team event at the Pot of Gold, age limit combination of course. Although the high dollar event was not ever huge, it did make many people take note of the money potential.
Jesse Merwin Odom was born on April 9, 1926 in Shreveport, Louisiana to William and Madge Odom. Jesse had a twin brother William, also known as Bill, and a sister, Willadean. He also a younger brother who died at very young age. A couple of years after the twins were born, the family moved to a ranch in Globe, AZ. Times were hard on the ranch and later the family moved to Phoenix and Jesse’s dad started his own construction company. The twins made a name for themselves within the state playing football at Phoenix Union High School. But war broke out and the twins joined the Navy at age 17. The Odom brothers served along side each other on the USS Sargent Bay during the “Mariana’s Shootout”. They were involved with six invasions from Saipan to Okinawa during their three years in the Navy. The twins returned to Arizona with several awards and for their courage and dedication.
Following the war Jesse worked for Isbell Construction Company in Silverbell, AZ, for about 8 years. Jesse married the love of his life, Harriet Faith Brawner, on December 23, 1949. In May of 1957, they were blessed with the arrival of Gary Allen, who was the joy of their lives. (Gary preceded Jesse in August of 1981). Jesse move the family to Tonapah in 1958, and shortly thereafter, started Odom Drilling and Pump in Buckeye. He was a strong water conservationist and member of both the National and Arizona Water Well Associations, and even served as President of the National Organization. He was also a member of the Masons for 50 years.
After Jesse started his business, his brother Bill started farming in Tonopah. Bill passed away in 1988. Jesse was devastated after his brothers death and retired in 1989. After retirement , Jesse and Harriet started traveling and eventually purchased a home in Pinetop for summer getaways. They enjoyed many fishing trips with friends and family during those years.
Jesse was really looking forward to celebrating his 90th birthday in April: He had the house painted, the yard cleaned up, and even started lifting some weights. He was a loving honest man who touched many lives in his years. He enjoyed the time he spent with his family and friends.