DICKSON, Okla. - The bucking bull industry is experiencing some real landscape changes as women are being acknowledged as key players in all facets of the industry. D&H Cattle Company's Johna Page-Bland is a true example of the talented women playing a part in this historically male-dominated business.
"Well, I've never actually thought about everything I do here," Page-Bland modestly says of the longstanding family ranch that's situated on the banks of the Washita River, just north of the small Oklahoma town of Dickson. "I've always just said I'm the secretary."
Seemingly satisfied with this unpretentious explanation, Bland reveals more after some immense prodding from this reporter.
While Dillon and H.D. are the faces associated with the D & H brand, little may be known about the other women behind these men. Dillon's wife, Vickie, and his other daughter, Shawna (Johna's twin), are also instrumental in the day-to-day tasks and success of D & H.
"This industry has grown so much and I feel the women play an important role in the growth and the future of this business."
But the real firecracker is Johna. She plays multiple roles and crosses the gender boundaries repeatedly in her daily tasks.
Initial inclusion in this male-dominated industry
was not easy, she admits, but that's slowly changed throughout the
"I think the bucking bull industry is like any other industry when women and men co-mingle," Page-Bland says. "There are going to be some that don't appreciate what women can bring to the table and some that do. I can say from experience that since I've been a part of D & H I am taken much more seriously now than I was in 2005. I remember a gentleman who wouldn't even talk to me about the animal he had questions about. He said, 'Sweetheart, I think I should just talk to Dillon.'
"I think most people assume women involved in the industry are just there to be buckle bunnies looking for a cowboy. The reality is that the women I know in this business are strong, hard-working hands who take a lot of pride in the animals. This industry has grown so much and I feel the women play an important role in the growth and the future of this business. Overall I think most men in our industry have become more open-minded when it comes to women being a part of their mostly male-dominated world. It doesn't take long to recognize if someone knows their stuff or is just there for the wrong reasons. Once that's established, I think the industry has no problem embracing women."
Page-Bland may have faced some challenges with acceptance early on, but today has come into her own as a credible source of the D & H franchise. In fact, if you called Dillon with intricate questions tomorrow he'll likely pass you on to Johna.
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