MEET THE COWGIRLS: JANE
Q: Were you involved in rodeo before competing in the bronc riding, if so what events did you do and do you still compete in them?
A: "I competed in barrel racing in my 4-H club and local events when I was younger. In high school I starting competing in the Virginia High School Rodeo Association in barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying, and even was the Miss Virginia High School Rodeo Queen 2015, my senior year. I qualified for the National High School Finals Rodeo twice in my events. I then went on to receive a rodeo scholarship to Vernon College in Vernon, Texas to compete on their team in barrel racing."
Q: Tell us about yourself/background and what led to you to trying out riding broncs competitively?
A: "I am from Roanoke, Virginia and have two brothers and a sister. I am the only one in my family that rodeos. I started rodeoing when we adopted a horse from a rescue. I worked and trained that horse and started entering several barrel shows and rodeos. I loved the sport and the competition! I found out about the Virginia High School Rodeo Assoc. and joined, and it changed my life... I started competing in bigger rodeos and traveling further away and knew this was the life for me. I qualified and competed in the National High School Finals Rodeo twice and talked with coaches from different colleges and ended up going to Vernon College in Vernon, Texas on a rodeo scholarship. I also won the title of the PRCA Miss Rodeo Virginia 2016 and competed in the pageant at the 2016 National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nevada. I have always wanted to ride broncs and I finally had that opportunity when I was rodeoing in college. I saw a flyer for the first TBRA Womens Bronc Ranch rodeo in Graham, Texas and I went ahead and entered; I was super excited but was still unsure if I actually wanted to get on. Then, on the day of the rodeo, one of my best friends from my rodeo team that had been in a car accident passed away, and I felt like I needed to go ride for him... and after that I was hooked."
Q: What is your way of getting ready before a ride and preparing yourself physically and mentally?
A: "I have the same routine at every rodeo I go to. I try to allow myself plenty of time and have all of my gear organized and ready to go when getting there. The first thing I do after I pay my entry fee is to put on my shin guards, knee braces, and baby powder my riding boots (so they can slide off easily if caught in my stirrups). During that time I like to have a quiet place where I get to clear my mind and talk to God about how thankful I am to be able to do what I love and to be with all of us and the stock that night. I put on my vest and RideSafe helmet and then I like to do some stretching to loosen up my muscles, dance around to the music starting to come on, and start saddling my horse in the chute."
Q: What would you tell women/girls who also want to do things other than the mainstream events such as what you're doing?
A: "I would say to go for it! At the very least you can go, try it out, and experience something you've never tried before. Most people are afraid to step out of the box... and a lot of those same people think women should stick to the norm and not even try events that aren't traditionally "womanly." I think you can, and should, do anything you are passionate about. Life is too short to be limited by what other people think. You should be the best you can be no matter the event that you choose to compete in."
Q: What was the best career advice you have ever received?
A: "It's just another bronc" probably sticks in my head the most. Whenever I get nervous or try to overthink things, I think of my friend looking at me on the bucking chute and saying, "It's just another bronc" which means, it's going to do the same thing that it always does. It's just going to go buck. Just like the same thing you've done ever other time. Nothing is ever going to change that and if I can ride a bronc, I'm pretty sure I can face any obstacle that comes my way."
Q: Explain one of your best ride/proudest/memorable moments in bronc riding competition.
A: "One of my proudest moments was probably when I won an Open Ranch Bronc riding against several men in northern Colorado last Thursday. I was the only one of the night to even cover a bronc and it felt great to show everyone that even though I'm a small woman I could still put up a fight. I remember the crowd going wild and it was the most amazing feeling to hear your name at the top of the leader board."
Q: What has been the biggest challenge of being a bronc rider?
A: "Probably having to deal with injuries and negative people along the way. I cracked my wrist about 5 weeks ago and it still affects my ability to grip my rope well. I try to avoid injuries by wearing shin guards, knee braces, vest, helmet, and mouth guard. And plenty of tape, of course! I also work out to make sure I am as fit as possible and have a strong core to help with balance. As far as negative people, I have never had anyone be rude to my face about me bronc riding at a rodeo, but on social media I've been faced with several negative characters who hide behind a key board to try to put me down, but I just laugh it off and it gives me more motivation to keep doing what I'm doing and to prove them wrong!"
Be sure to tune in to the premiere of Cowgirls on September 27th!