December 2022/January 2023 Rodeo Profile – CLASS ACT



Written by: Kelly McCoy

It all started with a yes. “I was 6 years old when Dad
asked me if I wanted to ride a calf. Everything that
has happened since then in my rodeo career began
with that first ‘yes!’” says Andrew James Class, known
on the Florida rodeo circuit as AJ Class.
AJ Class started chute dogging and calf riding in the 2BY
Youth Rodeo Organization in Sanderson, Florida. That
first year he was reserve champion in chute dogging, and
although he didn’t place at all in calf riding, he had a taste
of what he wanted to do in the arena.
With the support of his parents, James and Heather Class
from Bell, Florida, AJ competed in the youth rodeo circuits,
including Little Britches. It wasn’t until he got to high
school that he got his first sponsor, Bill Caldwell with
Rodeo Hounds Knotty Things.
AJ remembers his first sponsor fondly, saying, “Mr.
Bill gave me everything I needed to get started in
saddle-bronc riding. Without him, I would have
never been able to get on a bronc.”

Saddle-bronc riding and bull dogging would be AJ’s ticket
to the National High School Rodeo Finals. “It was 2020 and
everyone was struggling with Covid,” he recalls. “We didn’t
have a lot of extra money to get me to Nationals, even
though I had qualified in two events.”
AJ’s father had shared the bittersweet news of qualifying for
Finals on social media.
Florida’s Rickelle Mathis and Shane Holland saw the post and
decided that AJ would be the first competitor to be sponsored
by their newly formed company—Off R Rocker. “When Off
R Rocker reached out to my dad and said they would sponsor
me,” AJ says, “it was an amazing feeling knowing I had people
other than my parents behind me. They stepped in and got
us through, then took it one step further and went out to
Oklahoma to watch me represent Florida and ride.”
AJ was one of the top qualifiers in the state and earned his
spot representing Florida in 2020, 2021 and 2022 in
bull dogging and saddle-bronc riding. “There was a
lot of pressure and pride in representing the state

AJ Class was
a top qualifier in the
state and earned his spot
representing Florida in 2020,
2021 and 2022 in bull dogging
and saddle-bronc

of Florida at Nationals. It was amazing going to famous
arenas that I had only seen on TV before,” AJ says of his
time at the National High School Rodeo Finals.
“If I could give young rodeo competitors some advice, it
would be to keep pushing through,” he adds. “The injuries
will happen. I’ve never had any huge setbacks. By the Grace of
God, just a few weeks down but I kept going. It was a lesson.
Take care of yourself and treat yourself like an athlete.”
In spring of 2022, Dodge City Community College in Kansas
contacted AJ to join its rodeo team. He is currently coached
by Jarrod Ford and Ty Moffitt as he competes across the
country against other collegiate teams. He is majoring in
Agriculture Production Farm Management and would like
to take over the family farm when he graduates.
No matter where rodeo takes him, AJ Class will always call
Florida home. FCM