Kaila Mussell, First Woman to Compete in Men’s Rodeo Since 1941

Kaila ridingWelcome to my guest, Kaila Mussell, a saddle-bronc-riding cowgirl from Chilliwack BC. Kaila is the first and only woman since the 1940s to qualify to compete with men in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

Kaila, tell me how you got involved in riding rough stock?

Grew up on a farm, mainly horses, some cows, dogs etc.  Started off as a barrel racer, steer rider, professional trick rider and then saddle bronc riding. My dad was a saddle bronc rider and bull rider and my mom was a rodeo queen.  My oldest brother CEJ rode saddle broncs and steer wrestled and my younger sister Filene barrel raced and rode steers as well.

How did you earn enough points to  compete with the men in the PRCA?

To fill your pro card (to become a full-card professional) you have to win $1,000 while competing in PRCA approved rodeos. Generally you can enter the smaller money-added rodeos, but you can’t qualify for large big-money added rodeos, or if you can, they draw amongst those who have their PERMIT…you can buy a permit to enter rodeos, once you win the money you have the option of buying your full pro card.

Are there any other women who are getting close?

There is a female bull rider who has won some money but hasn’t filled her pro card

Why do you do it?

Challenge, adrenaline rush, danger, love of the sport – the feeling of being in sync with a bucking horse.

Can you describe the feeling of being on the back of a thrashing, sunfishing bronc who only wants to shed its unwelcome burden?

Thrilling, powerful, connected, reactive, instinctive.

What’s your definition of danger?

Whatever gets your heart racing and seems scary.

What do you feel like when you know you’ve made a successful ride?

Happy, excited, successful, energetic, positive, confident, empowered.

Have you run into any stigma or prejudice against a woman doing a “man’s” extreme sport?

Some, as to be expected but it’s all in your attitude. Doing what I do, if you go after it for the same reasons, put in an honest effort and are serious about what you do, I find for the most part males are relatively accepting, especially the younger generations.

How did your family feel when you decided this was your career?

I wouldn’t consider saddle bronc riding a career. It definitely doesn’t pay my bills. I’d call it a passion, an expensive hobby. My family overall has been pretty supportive but they also have been involved in rodeo so that definitely helps. They support me in what I do.

How many broken bones, injuries etc. have you had?

Lots, broke left collar bone, right collar bone twice, separated right shoulder, dislocated left shoulder twice, two surgeries on left shoulder, one surgery on right, Kaila headshotboth knees, ACL surgeries, broken right wrist.

What keeps you going?

Drawn to the support, invested a lot of time, energy, passionate about the sport, love what I do.

Do you enjoy the travel or does it get old after awhile?

Yes and no, traveling to new places is exciting, traveling by yourself can get old, but with company it is fun. If you are doing well rodeoing the traveling is easy, if not, it is hard

What gets you down?

Not riding up to my expectations, drawing poor broncs, being broke.

What brings you back up?

Family, friends and fans’ support, looking at the bigger picture – my goals, why I do what I do, inspirational quotes.

Do you have an old-time cowgirl heroine?

None in particular but I did look up to and was inspired by a lot of the early cowgirls from the early 1900s.

If you weren’t a bronc-riding cowgirl, what would you like to be?

A professional snowboarder or surfer or downhill bike racer or motorcross…anything to keep up with the adrenaline rush

Do you have a particular philosophy of life?

Live for the now, don’t dwell on the little things, focus on what makes you happy, follow your heart, don’t take life too seriously

A favorite quote or theme you live by?

“I will not tiptoe through life only to arrive safely at death.”

Tell me about the recent competition you went to in Vegas—the Indian National Finals Rodeo (INFR).

I was the first female to ever qualify for the INFR this year in Las Vegas in saddle bronc. It was a very cool feat and I’m proud that I did.  I didn’t do as well as I had hoped in Vegas, but it was a great experience and met a lot of really cool people and had a good time.  There is always next year.

Thank you, Kaila! I have been researching women’s rodeo from the early 1900s, since my grandmother rode bucking stock in Montana rodeos in the 1920s. Back then, women competed in the same arena as men, drawing the same bucking stock they did, and at times even beating the men in steer roping and many other events. Madison Square Garden in 1941 was the last World Champion rodeo where women were allowed to compete on rough stock. Vivian White of Oklahoma won that championship. Kaila Mussell is the first women since that time to qualify and compete with men in the PRCA arena.

Follow Kaila on her blog, on Twitter, on Facebook  and see a post by the Lone Cowgirl.

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Published in: on December 27, 2012 at 6:00 am  Comments (3)  
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Holiday Greetings!

 

christmas-vectors-24I want to wish all my friends a wonderful Christmas and a happy, blessed New Year!

Published in: on December 24, 2012 at 12:20 am  Leave a Comment  
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Give the Gift of Poetry this Christmas

In keeping with the gift-giving this season, I’d like to offer a gift of poetry to all of you!

Multi award-winning poets Carolyn Howard-Johnson and Magdalena Ball figure nothing is more meaningful at any holiday than a poem—a real poem, not sing-songy impersonal verse from the shelves of card shops. They also noticed that many folks remember many people they forgot when it may be too late.

Ta Da! We  are offering you our “rational” Christmas chapbook to procrastinators free. Enter the KDP Select free e-book feature. All you do is go to http://amzn.to/BloomingRedKind on Dec. 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 and click.

Anyone can send it free to anyone they’d like to have a thoughtful—and fast—Christmas gift with a click of a mouse (no not the same mouse that’s in “The Night Before Christmas” poem!). Blooming Red: Christmas Poetry for the Rational was honored by the Military Writers Society of America and USA Book News award.

It’s a mini gift and greeting card in one!

Blooming Red includes Magdalena’s science-inspired and Carolyn’s nostalgic poetry. It also includes some humorous poems for fair measure.

Magdalena Ball runs the highly respected CompulsiveReader.com review site.  She is the author of the poetry book Repulsion Thrust, which was published to unanimous 5-star reviews.  Her novel Sleep Before Evening was a Next Generation Indie Book Awards Finalist. Her latest novel, Black Cow, has been called “an intelligent, deeply reflective novel of our time.”

Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s poetry appears frequently in review journals. She is listed in Poets & Writers and her chapbook of poetry, Tracings , was given the Award of Excellence by the Military Writers Society of America and She Wore Emerald Then won its highest honor of gold. One of her poems recently won the Franklin Christoph Poetry Prize. She is also an award-winning novelist and short story writer and instructor for UCLA Extension Writers’ Program.

For more information on any of the chapbooks in the Celebration series, contact either of the authors, or visit media rooms at How to do it Frugally or Magadalena Ball’s website. To learn more about artist Vicki Thomas and to see her selections of her work, go to her website.

Celebrate With a Free Book and My Recommended Books List

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Come and help me celebrate my birthday, which is Monday the 10th, and I will give some lucky commenter  your choice of Cowgirl Dreams or Follow the Dream.

All you have to do is share this post on Facebook, Twitter or any of your other social networks, then leave a comment with the links. I will put your name in the Cowgirl hat for the drawing! The more links you post, the more times I’ll put your name in. (Paper books limited to the U.S., out of the U.S. will receive an electronic version.)

And, my Christmas gift to you is FREE SHIPPING on orders for autographed books from now until Dec. 25! (Also in the U.S.)

Books make great Christmas gifts. They are inexpensive, they take the reader on great adventures, and you can read them again as many times as you’d like (even share them with friends and family!)

Here are a few of my recommendations:

Tubob-CoverTubob: Two Years in West Africa with the Peace Corps, by Mary E. Trimble. This memoir describes her and her husband’s life in third-world country The Gambia. As Peace Corps volunteers, they struggle with cultural differences and do what they can for people who are often reluctant to change. Hardships abound, but so do strong friendships. Humor is abundant, but so is misery. Early on, the newlyweds were told that Peace Corps would either make or break a marriage. Mary and Bruce find out how true that is.  To learn more about Tubob, click here  To order Tubob, click here

Dividing SeasonThe Dividing Season, a novel by Karen Casey-Fitzjerrell. In The Dividing Season, Karen Casey Fitzjerrell celebrates the redemptive qualities of the human spirit and raises the question:  What are you willing to give up in order to calm those  secret longings that beg for something more?     Near the end of her life, Nell Miggins decided all her years spent on earth could be divided into two parts, each equally content but separated by a season of bewildering uncertainty and death. She remembered the stinging edge of desperation the day the dividing season began and understood clearly that if it hadn’t been for the Windmiller she’d have lived the last half of her life as a shriveled old fool never knowing the grace and simple joy of just being. Order here

wrecker1Raising Wrecker by Summer Wood, A WILLA Literary Award Winner. By turns funny, moving, and gripping, Wrecker is the story of a nearly-broken boy whose presence turns a motley group of isolated eccentrics into a real family. Real enough to make mistakes. Real enough to stick together in spite of everything ready to tear them apart. Order here

Moonshine Murder coverMoonshine Murder a Young Adult novel by Erin Gray.  When seventeen-year-old Lenora Giovanni’s father dies from tainted moonshine, leaving her alone, she is forced into a life of danger. Lenora is determined to find whoever sold the poison to her father–a determination that leads her into working as an undercover agent in the town of Durango, Colorado. Falling in love with a bootlegger, how will Lenora choose, with her head or her heart? Order here

The InheritorsThe Inheritors by Judith Kirscht, the author of Nowhere Else to Go. Raised in Chicago’s Latino working class community during the Sixties, Alicia Barron uncovers her mother’s Caucasian roots when she inherits a time-worn mansion, the remnant of the estate of a Chicago industrialist who, she discovers, is her grandfather. Her search of the house takes her into the lives of past generations of women whose love carried them across forbidden boundaries, and into the conflict of class, nationality, and race that is the history of the city itself. The identity she finds there, however, leads to increasing conflict with her first great love, Ricardo Moreno, who wants Alicia to reject her gringo roots. Order here

Can you add any books to this list?

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