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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Thursday Cardinal Couple -- Professional Bull Riding Is Not Just For Men


-Dads...don't let your daughters grow up to be Bull Riders 

-WE finally found a picture of the UofL billboard in Springfield, OR. 

( Commish Mark continues with his reports on Bull Riding today. He looks at some of the female riders on the PBR circuit.) 

Dads Don't Let Your Baby Girls Grow Up To Be Bull Riders....or something like that--(with apologies to Ed Bruce, Waylon Jennings, and Willie Nelson).

The Commish's understudy 
In keeping with the tradition of Cardinal Couple as a site dedicated to Women’s Athletics, readers may be interested to know that bull riding is not just for men. Women ride bulls as well. Today's article focuses on four women Bull Riders-- Kaylynn Pellam, Maggie Parker, Wendy Persons, and 13 year old  phenom Tayler LaFlash. 

Kaylynn Pellam

Kaylynn Pellam's claim to fame is that on  January 8, 2011 she competed in a PBR Touring Pro Division Event (division below the Built Ford Tough Series) in Grad Rapids, MI.  She was the second Woman to compete in a PBR event.  (Four years ago, Sarah Bradley competed in three Challenger Tour events, attempting to ride five bulls, but she did not reach the eight-second mark.) 

Unfortunately, Kaylynn didn't make the 8 second mark either. She bucked off a bull named SUPER HOU in 1.4 seconds. The Bull must have bucked pretty well since he received a score of 43 from the Judges. (If Kaylynn would have ridden him, she could have scored at least an 86.) Note: The Challenger tour was what the TOURING PRO DIVISION is now. Before the Touring Pro Division there was the Challenger, Discovery, and Enterprise Tours which were the Minor league PBR events. 

Kaylynn Pellam (22) is from Murrieta, California and attended Oklahoma State University (OSU), where she competed in a variety of rodeo events for the OSU Rodeo Team. The events she specialized in were Breakaway Roping,Team Roping, and Goat Tying. (Wonder if she tied down Bill the Goat? I believe when Paulie would fall down on hard times he would send Bill the Goat out on the rodeo circuit in order to make some extra cash to help make ends meet). She also served as Ag Council representative for the Oklahoma State University Rodeo Team.

( Editor's note: Bill likes to tye-dye but isn't especially fond of being tied down. Peace, dude!) 

Her ride was not a publicity stunt.  She is an experienced rider and Cowgirl and has several awards to her credit:

She won the Open Bull Riding Championship at the Vinita County Fair (in Oklahoma) in 2009. She also qualified for the National Junior Bull Riders Association Finals for eight consecutive years (from 2002 to 2009), finishing both fourth (2005) and seventh (2007). She also won top sectional titles in Southern California (2004 and 2005) and Northern California (2005 and 2006) championships.

She attended California’s Paloma Valley High School where she earned varsity letters in track and field and Volleyball.  (How did The University of Louisville Track and Volleyball coaches miss out on this recruit?)

In College she majored in biochemistry and molecular biology (with a minor in microbiology). Kaylynn graduated from Oklahoma State University in May 2011 and  has already applied to several veterinary schools, such as OSU, Washington State University and California’s Western University.

She plans on becoming a large animal-vet. Perhaps in the near future she will be taking care of some of the bulls in the PBR.

Here are links to two articles about Kaylynn and her historic ride:

Maggie Parker 

Another Cowgirl is 19 year old Maggie Parker. Maggie was born and raised in Shaftsburg, Mich. She now lives in Edmond, Okla. where she works at National Saddlery selling rodeo equipment, spends one day each week horseback at the livestock auction, and in her spare time also shoes horses. She started riding at 16 and would drive 2 hours to the practice pen where she would improve her ridng skills.

She rides bulls in the Professional  Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA). (The PRCA is an organization whose members compete in rodeos throughout North America, primarily in the United States.) She is the first woman ever to win money in a PRCA Bull Riding event.  She was 1 of 38 riders that competed  at the May 31-June 2 Bennington Rodeo in Kansas.  She rode a Bull named B12 for 70 points which was enough to qualify 6th and place in the money.  For that ride she earned $190.  She also received an additional $270 in "day money". Day money is money given to each contestant that makes a qualified ride during the event.  She left the event with $460 in her pocket. She had this to say about her feat: "The important thing is how many girls and women I inspired. This shows that women can do anything they set their mind to."

Below is video of her historic ride where she scored a 70.  Notice the bull did not perform very well. He just basically "cut a trail".   The bull B12 received a score of 35 from the Judges. Maggie received 35 points as well for a total score of 70.  The bull score was low since he just jumped forward and up and down with no spin. (If the bull was better, Maggie could have scored higher).  This was a PRCA event so I do not know if she was offered a reride.  If it was a PBR event, she would have since that bull was not up to PBR standards: 

Video of Maggie's ride

Here is an article about Maggie's ride:

Wendy Persons

Wendy Persons is another female Bull Rider.  She is 28 years old and from  Aliso Viejo, Calif., where she works at an equestrian facility that specializes in English riding. Persons gives hunter/jumper riding lessons and trains horses along with working at the feed store. She feels that this experience works to her advantage when riding a bull. 

 According to Persons:  “The position that your body is in when you ride a jumping horse is very similar to the position you are in riding a bull. The muscle memory and leg use also has some comparisons.”

She started riding bulls because of a rodeo she attended with her father when she was little. She decided she wanted to try it and has been ever since.  She drives 40 minutes one way to get on practice bulls three to five times each week.

Here is a short interview with Maggie and Wendy and why they ride bulls:

Tayler LaFlash

Finally, let me save the best for last.  While researching this article, I came across a young lady who seems to have a PBR career ahead of her. Her name is Tayler LaFlash and is from Plantersville, TX.  And from all indications she is NO "FLASH IN THE PAN".  And did I say she is 13 years old? YES---13 years old.  According to the article she has all the natural ability to be a successful Bull Rider.  Another reason for her projected success is because she is riding for all the right reasons:  The LOVE of the sport.  Hopefully in 5 years she will be on the PBR circuit competeing with the men.  That would be a historic day that I would love to see.

Here is the link to an excellent article about Tayler.

Today we learned about four women doing something they love to do. It just so happened that SOMETHING was riding bulls.  They were not seeking publicity and Bull Riding was not the only thing they excelled in.  From training and shoeing horses, to even becoming a veterinarian taking care of large animals, all four young ladies are well rounded individuals and I am sure they will be a success in any career they choose---even Bull Riding. (Wonder if Bull Riding is covered by TITLE IX?)

Commish Mark

( We can just see Sean Moth announcing the 2014 starting lineup for the UofL women's Bull Riding team in the KFC YUM! Center against UK. Bet we'd get at least 15,000. ) 


Better late than never. Our writer Jenny O'Bryan found and forwarded to us a picture of the UofL billboard in Springfield, OR and near Mercedes Russell's home. 

( No truth to the rumor that UNC WBB has put up a billboard of Coach Hatchell outside Mercedes' bedroom window or that Tennessee actually has Pat Summit sitting on the Russell front porch bringing in the daily paper and mail. Who loves ya, Mercedes? Why the best college sports town  around, that's who! L1C4 !! )



  1. How many times a year do they ride in Louisville and where? Would like to go see an event live.

    1. Usually the Touring Pro Division has an event here once a year. It was here Feb 24-25 at Broadbent arena. A few of the riders/bulls from the Built Ford Tough Series competed in that event.

      The Built Ford Tough Series Riders will be in Nashville Sept 7-8 at Bridgestone Arena. (That is where I saw my first PBR BFTS event)-- Most fans attend one day or the other---some both days.

      Here is a link to the remaining BFTS schedule with ticket info, TV schedule, etc.

      The Touring Pro Division (step below BFTS) is still touring but all remaining events are mostly out West. Here is a link showing remaining schedule to give you an idea of where they ride. Usually they are in Louisville early Jan or Feb.

      If you have a chance to see a BFTS event do so. It is a "step above" the Touring Pro Division with more "bells and whistles". However, watching a Touring Pro Division Event will give one an idea of what to expect at a BFTS event since some of the same riders/bulls compete. (BFTS is like watching a Cincinnati Reds baseball game while watching a Touring Pro Division would be like watching the Louisville Bats.)


    2. Ooops---Forgot to post link to Touring Pro Division Schedule:

      Here it is:


  2. Hey, Mark

    I saw a bit of professional bull-riding on TV last night. Think it was on Fox Sports South. That's some brutal stuff. Admiration for those who compete. Looks very dangerous.

    Curtis Franklin

    1. Curtis,

      Believe you were watching the CBR (Championship Bull Riding) on Foxsports South. The CBR has been around since 2002 and is another venue for riders to compete and earn a living. Not as big as the PBR---the PBR attracts over 1.5 Million fans a year at events. The CBR---350,000. (I did notice a couple riders that once competed in the PBR ride in the CBR).
      But--Bull riding is Bull riding and it is still brutal regardless of the league.


  3. We stumbled across that bull riding last night as well while channel surfing. Watched for about 10 minutes and was impressed with the toughness exhibited by not only the riders but the bulls as well.

    I used to ride the mechanical bull from time to time years ago at a popular nightspot. No way I could get on one of the real ones these days. It hurt just watching.


    1. My Granddaughter is Tayler LaFlash and at age 9 she started riding the mechanical bull at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. She did this for 2 years. At age 11 she entered the Grimes County Fair N Rodeo Steer Riding and won her first buckle in 2009. That was her first time on a live animal. We are so proud of her accomplishments and we stand behind her 100%. Good luck at World Finals, Tayler. Ride Rank!!!!!

  4. Bull riding is tough but it is only a few seconds. Try going up against a mean defensive front four for four quarters that is intent on putting you out of the game by any means necessary.


    1. However, look at the following two videos and see what can happen in just a few seconds. After these wrecks, the riders had a football season's worth of injuries--one had to have reconstructive surgery done to his face:


  5. my step daughter rides. Google Kallie Kautzman she just turned 13.

    1. Much respect and admiration for such dedication at an age when most kids are OMG about Facebook and not strapping in and leaving the chute.


  6. Great! Just Googled and read the June 2010 article about her. Wish I would have known about her earlier--I would have included her in my article.
    Kallie would be more than welcome to submit an article about herself---how she got started Bull Riding, why she does it, events won, etc. and email it to for posting on "Reader submitted article Fridays". I'm sure our readers would love to hear about her. I know I would!

    Hope to see her in 5 years Riding Bulls in the PBR! (Although I believe I read that she hopes for a career in Barrel Racing).

    Hope to hear from Kallie soon! And the Very Best of Luck,


  7. I have seen more girls(young kids) doing the sheep riding and even the mini bulls so HOPEFULLY as they grow up, it's more acceptable to encourage girls to ride bulls in the big leagues.
    I've seen pictures of when rodeo was new and there were women riders then. Apparently women were then sort of banned after a woman was killed(or injured?) at an event. The excuse was that the crowd was more upset over a woman being hurt than the men being hurt so they quit letting women ride.


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