We see what some of our favorite ladies of rodeo are up to at the Wrangler NFR
You read about them in our November/December Issue 2014, the women of Cowgirl Grit, the ladies who have had an impact on the sport of rodeo inside the arena and out. This week we caught up with a few of them at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo to find out what makes the event so hectic, yet so special.
Mary Walker wakes up early so she can be at the Thomas & Mack Center at 6 a.m. to work her horse and give him some much-needed time out of his stall. Then she comes back to the hotel, gets ready for the day, and that’s when things really kick into high gear. “My sponsors have me booked pretty good throughout the whole week,” Walker says. “This is their time to shine. We get to go to their booth and sign autographs, which we love doing. I just enjoy going and meeting all the people. I try to come back and rest a little bit before we travel to the arena about 5 o’clock. We start getting ready for grand entry, get all the horses taken care of.” Then it’s go time. Walker just focuses on giving it her best shot in the arena each night.
She also says she’s amazed at the grandness of the NFR. “The amount of people that are here for the rodeo and how crazy it is is just so exciting,” Walker says with a laugh. “You really kind of don’t expect it to be this way until you get here and see all the stuff going on. There are so many different activities for everyone to do, and the shopping, I’ve never been anywhere where they’ve had this much shopping. It’s just an experience everyone should get.”
Pam Minick echoes this sentiment. “You just cannot beat the rodeo; the best of the best in the arena for two hours and 15 minutes, fast and furious,” she says. “If a person hasn’t been to the NFR, they need to come at least once in their life. It’s definitely a bucket list [item].”
Minick, a former Miss Rodeo America, has kept busy with the Miss Rodeo America pageant during NFR. Minick not only co-hosted the coronation ceremony, she helped with special events and appearances. And still she made time to enjoy the arena action.
Kadee Coffman is well-acquainted with said action. As the PRCA sideline reporter, she interviews round winners at each rodeo. She gets to the arena around 3 o’clock to do pre-interviews. Before too long, it’s lights, camera, action, and Coffman loves every minute of it. Even if sometimes she only has 15 seconds to prepare. “I really prefer live TV over tape, because there are no do-overs,” says Coffman. “This is as real as it gets, and it’s a lot of fun.” She credits the large production team with making everything work.
And work it does. The NFR is a spectacle in precision and organization and these women all play their special part.