I was raised in the country, but was by no means familiar with ranching or livestock. A country girl? Maybe. A cowgirl? Definitely not! In fact, my first experience with the world of bull riding was when Jeff took me to a little bull riding he put on in Tazewell, Va. When I asked where were the horses or any of the other events, he was quick to inform me that, "This is NOT a rodeo!"
That was my introduction to bull riding, and little did I know that I was soon to be working alongside Jeff as we sorted bulls, loaded them, fed them, branded them, gave shots and fixed fences (not very well in my case). I was in the bull business up to my chin and loving life! It was unlike anything I had ever done, and I really enjoyed being a part of all that he did. He was just a small business then with a handful of bulls and arenas. We each had two kids. I was an RN during the week and most every weekend, I was helping him haul bulls or just going along for the ride. Soon, I became a bull riding secretary, quit my job, had our son Tucker, now 6, and we hit the road again when he was just 3 weeks old.
I was having so much fun getting to know the cowboys and their families, learning a little about their lifestyle and following them over the course of the year. Seeing some of them make it to the Built Ford Tough Series was almost like seeing my kids achieve greatness. I was so happy for them!
How things have changed since then. Chicken on a Chain won Bull of the Year in 2007, our youngest son, Cutter, was born in 2009, and Jeff became PBR Stock Contractor of the Year in 2010, 2011, and now 2012. It was so fulfilling to see all his all of his hard work culminate into the title he thought he would never have. Now he flies to most events, has someone hauling his bulls to and from the events, and is gone way more than any of us would like for him to be. He is living his dream, and I am so blessed to have been able to be by his side all these years and see what he could do with a few bulls and very hard work.
Tucker, Cutter and Laney enjoying their time on horseback.
Things have grown for us, business and family alike. We now have six children, along with all that has to be taken care of when he's on the road. I attend fewer events because someone has to be at home to communicate what's going on. I don't get to work with him as he handles his bulls much now, but I know I have a different calling: being a mom and running command central while he travels to each event. But we are still a team, just more like a ball team, where no one ever sits out because we have enough positions for everyone to play!
We are looking forward to 2013 and all it has to offer. January kicks off the beginning of one of our busiest months of the year, as we have bulls traveling to New York City, Chicago, Winston-Salem, N.C., and Oklahoma City on the BFTS, and bulls going to several Touring Pro Division events, some that we co-produce, in Columbus, Ga., Ft. Pierce, Fla., Denver, Colo., Pueblo, Colo., Battle Creek, Mich., and Montgomery, Ala. We hope 2013 is filled with good things for all of our PBR friends and family!
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