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John Paul “JP” Gonzales: “Diversity in entertainment could one day help to end racism”

I believe it is important to have diversity in television because it shows the younger generations that there are no limits to what they can accomplish, and I hope to be part of that inspiration. Diversity in entertainment could one day help to end racism. As a part of our series about pop culture’s rising stars, […]

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I believe it is important to have diversity in television because it shows the younger generations that there are no limits to what they can accomplish, and I hope to be part of that inspiration. Diversity in entertainment could one day help to end racism.


As a part of our series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing John Paul “JP” Gonzales.

Taught to give 110% and go the extra mile by his father, John Paul “JP” Gonzales abides by that lesson in all he does. From his wife and two boys to his work life, he always gives his all. A man who wears many hats, JP’s skills in roping and ranch rodeo have earned him countless wins, and his love for music has led to a career as a Country Western singer. John Paul is a competitor in season 2 of “Ultimate Cowboy Showdown.”


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

Growing up was tough. My parents kept me very busy between working cattle with my dad, participating in rodeos and feeding horses. My dad was hard on me, but he always said that one day, I would thank him, because I would make a good “hand” (cowboy). My dad also would say, “The day you stop learning is the day you die.” I believe that. I’m very grateful for everything my dad taught me.

Both of my parents instilled in me respect, humility, and to have a good heart. I wouldn’t change a thing about my childhood or how I grew up. Both of my parents worked hard for everything we had, and I never missed a meal. My dad worked late at night with two ranch jobs, in addition to training horses; my mother worked at the local bank. We were very blessed, because we had everything we needed.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

It wasn’t my mom’s decision, that’s for sure. She wanted me to finish college and do something that paid better than cowboying. I was in college for two years, but I felt like I didn’t belong. Being a cowboy was all I’d known. I’ve been training for it since I was five years old. It’s just part of me and I wouldn’t feel right doing anything else.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I’m not much of a storyteller, but I’ve had a lot of interesting things happen to me, form roping bulls who were trying to eat me, to training colts who thought they were mountain lions. Catch jobs have made the most interesting stories. For those who don’t know, a catch job is when an owner needs cattle cleared off of property, or when there is a maverick bull or cow who doesn’t want to be gathered. Usually, when we go on catch jobs, it’s a lot of fun running through brush mesquite, cactus and black brush, trying to beat your buddy to the stray bull or cow; it’s exciting! All the laughs and memories made will forever be treasured.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I’ve made plenty, but every mistake I’ve made has molded me into who I am today. The mistakes I’ve made have been working cattle incorrectly, or training a horse incorrectly, but I’ve been lucky to not only have my father as a teacher, but also, a lot of cowboy friends to teach me.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

At the moment, I’m working on a hobby of mine, writing music and singing. I don’t have a lot of material, but I’m working on an original single that will probably be released in April or May 2021.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

I believe it is important to have diversity in television because it shows the younger generations that there are no limits to what they can accomplish, and I hope to be part of that inspiration. Diversity in entertainment could one day help to end racism.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

To thrive in this industry, you have to have morals, humility, a good work ethic, and be a person of your word. Never think you know it all! Always allow room to improve your skills.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

In South Texas right now, I feel like it’s becoming more difficult to make a living being a cowboy, between big deer operations and the oil industry. People no longer see the importance of owning and raising cattle (which is such a large part of our food source), and this needs to be brought to the public’s attention.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My father was very hard on me, but I am very grateful. He always wanted me to be the best version of myself. He would take me on difficult jobs when I was little (when in reality, he needed a grown cowboy), but he didn’t cut me any slack. He expected me to work like a man. When we were gathering cattle, he would tell me to be two men instead of one. This took me a while to comprehend, but as I grew older, I understood that he meant that it didn’t matter if we were shorthanded; we had to do our own work and that of the man we didn’t have. I’d like to say that my dad made me a good cowboy.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I don’t trust words, I trust vibes. People can tell you anything, but a vibe tells you everything. I learned that the vibe you get from a person will tell you more than what they speak.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

I’d sure like to meet George Strait. He’s my favorite country singer and I believe he’s a pretty good cowboy.

How can our readers follow you online?

Readers can follow me on Facebook or Instagram, John Paul Gonzales.

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