Let There Be
By Cheyenne Glade Wilson
Have you ever been to a women’s ranch rodeo? I honestly
hadn’t even heard of it until around five years ago. I believe
I first saw it on RFDTV. Something inside me came alive
and I just knew that this is what I’d been looking for.
Let me explain…
I grew up in a traditional rodeo family. We ranched so
our horses were used on the ranch and then taken to the
arena at the end of the day. It was a perfect scenario. My
folks made all of our horses and they were good. My mom
trained barrel horses and competed. She even made the
NFR in 1976. My dad rode rough stock and then eventually
did timed events. In my opinion, there was little my folks
couldn’t do. I competed in barrels, poles, breakaway
roping, and goat tying through high school and college.
Due to my parent’s and our love of rodeo my brother and
I both earned full ride rodeo scholarships for college.
I left the ranch after my time in college and was gone for
ten years. I didn’t rodeo at all in that time frame so when
I came back to the ranch I was eager to get back into
the arena. Let’s face it… you can’t take away that cowgirl
competitive spirit once it takes hold in your soul. I longed
to compete in the arena again, but when I got back to
the ranch, the passion I once had for my previous events
was gone. I am no barrel racer, poles aren’t much of an
option after high school, goats were something my body
wasn’t up for over thirty years of age, and breakaway just
didn’t hold that same excitement for me that it once had.
However, when I saw gals on TV roping steers, mugging
ofthem down and tying them up… WHOA! I was extremely
interested to say the least. Once I actually got a chance to
try this out for myself I was sold – hook, line, and sinker!
I joined the Women’s Ranch Rodeo Association (WRRA)
as soon as I could and I began to get a team together.
Finding other gals that were into this proved to be a bit
more difficult in the beginning, but I eventually found some.
This sport is not for the weak of heart, but in all honesty
it’s the most amazing thing I have ever been a part of. I tell
everyone that if you enjoy ranching and being on a horse
competitively, you will love ranch rodeos!
After I joined the WRRA, I began organizing the first ever
women’s ranch rodeo in the panhandle of Nebraska. Since
joining the WRRA I have partnered with several fair boards
to put on seven different ranch rodeos over the years and
we have four more planned (two in Kilgore, Nebraska and
two in Chadron, Nebraska) this coming summer. My focus
is mostly women-based ranch rodeos, but I have tried my
hand at a few open ranch rodeo on top of the women’s. I
guess it’s plain to say that in my eyes there’s no rodeo like
a ranch rodeo!
As far as producing ranch rodeos, we are now melding
them together. The four that I am producing will have
women’s only teams and open teams. This is a win-win
for everyone because a lot of our competitors are family
members who work together on the ranch. With elevated
gas prices it’s nice to be able to accommodate the entire
family at our events.
Photos by Jodie Baxendale of JodieB Photography Rodeo LIFE 133