INSP Mourns the Loss of Ultimate Cowboy Showdown Competitor Jackson Taylor

“Jackson Taylor was a helluva cowboy,” Trace Adkins wrote in a Facebook post upon learning of the sudden and tragic death of one of Ultimate Cowboy Showdown’s most popular contestants in season two of the series.


Cowboy Tough
Taylor proved to be a strong contender, skilled, brave, authentic and upbeat with an unstoppable work ethic. He made it through a respectable seven grueling rounds before he was told by host, Adkins, to “pack his personals” and head home. And true to the cowboy code, Taylor owned up to the mistake that caused him to be eliminated and left the show with dignity and gratitude.

Season three guest host, and costar of The Cowboy Way: Alabama, Booger Brown knew Taylor, and posted, “…Jackson was just as tough as any cowboy I know!!!!”

Fellow competitor (seasons 3 and 4), Eddie Peña, honored Taylor with one of the highest compliments any cowboy could get. “We sure lost one of the very few true cowboys left in this world. When I say cowboy, I mean one of the realest. He breathed it, lived it, and will be remembered as a real hand.”


Cowboy Kind
For all his grit and determination, another aspect of Taylor’s character always shined through—his sense of humor.

“…you lived to make others smile every chance you got. You literally woke up every morning and used humor like a gift to lift others’ spirits,” posted Cody Brewer (seasons 1 and 4).


Cole Wideman (season 2) remembered Taylor as being “…as wild as they come, hard-headed, and [with] a huge heart…He was a true cowboy through and through…There’s one less tornado in Texas.”

In a 2021 interview with MyPlainview, the website entity of The Plainview Herald, a Texas Panhandle newspaper, Taylor described himself as a “glass-half-full kind of guy.”


Roots in Ranching
Taylor grew up in a ranching family near Lockney, Texas, and learned many of his early riding and cattle care skills from his grandfather, Joe. The family left the area in 2003, but as soon as Taylor graduated from high school, he headed back. “I was coming back to the Panhandle,” he said.

He graduated from Clarendon College in 2010, and in the years that followed, Taylor hit the road, working at some of the biggest ranches in the country—from Texas to Colorado to Montana to New Mexico and beyond. He even worked as a ranch hand in Australia for more than two months. But as a fifth-generation Texas cowboy, the Panhandle was home, and the ideal place to pursue his passion—horse training.

How to Speak “Horse”
Taylor was a gifted and intuitive horseman. The bond of trust he built with his horse, Mr. Two Seven was on full display when, during an Ultimate Cowboy Showdown (season 2) challenge, he galloped flat out into a lake, not realizing the depth. When Mr. Two Seven began to struggle and risked drowning, Taylor focused solely on saving his horse’s life. Only when the horse was settled on dry land, did Taylor swim to the middle of the lake on his own to complete his segment of the challenge.

“Your horse is your Cadillac,” he liked to say. At the time of his first appearance on Ultimate Cowboy Showdown, he had trained some 700 horses in the U.S. and Australia and was starting and training horses year-round in Texas. But colts and fillies weren’t the only animals that captured Taylor’s big heart. His other love was for dogs, in particular, his Belgian Malinois, Triss.


Coming Home
Taylor had been living in Amarillo, Texas—but when his grandmother passed away in April, he returned to Lockney to assist his family. He worked at starting colts, riding clients’ horses, and helping his uncle run 1,000 head of cattle near his hometown. Though still quite a character and jokester, Taylor shifted his priorities to the things that mattered most to him—his family, his well-being, and training horses.

Gone Way Too Soon
On Saturday, July 22, 2023, Jackson Taylor, 33, passed away due to injuries sustained in a bronc riding accident at a ranch rodeo. He was doing what he loved. He was much loved here at INSP, and we extend our sincerest condolences to his family and friends.

Ultimate Cowboy Showdown: All-Stars wrapped filming in the spring. Because he played an integral role in the season 4 competition, the show will air as planned in September, paying tribute to Jackson Taylor—friend, horseman, and cowboy. For more details, read the INSP press statement.