ProRodeo Sports News - Sept. 4, 2020


Captain Cowboy

Photos courtesy Jason Bell Tow boat captain Jason Bell has been in his position since 2003 and spent the last two years as the captain of the tow boat above, pushing barges carrying gasoline and diesel fuel.

BY TRACY RENCK J ason Bell grew up with rodeo in his blood. His father, Tom, was a tie-down roper. By the age of 7, Jason had already followed in dad’s footsteps and had dreams of roping at the National Finals Rodeo. But life took him down a different path. At 30, Bell, with the encouragement of his father, embarked on a new career. “The water and boats had always interested me,” said Bell, 52. “My dad Tie-down roper has spent 17 years as boat captain

told me I should do something with water and boats, so I thought I would try it.” That was in 1998. “I started off as a green deckhand,” Bell said. “I knew nothing about tow boats, push boats, whatever you want to call them. I became a tankerman, which is a Coast Guard-licensed professional who can unload chemical barges, dangerous cargo.” In 2003, Bell was promoted to tow boat captain. “I had a couple of guys who took an interest in me as a deckhand,” Bell said. “They saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. They passed their knowledge and wisdom to me, and I’m carrying their torch.” Bell took a moment to describe his job. “Whenever I’m latched on to my barges, I’m 675 feet long,” Bell said. “I push barges all over the place in the Ohio River, lower Mississippi River, Intracoastal Waterway. You name it. If it has a river system and takes a barge,

ProRodeo Sports News 9/4/2020


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