C&I talks with barrel racing star Fallon Taylor at NFR.
Fallon Taylor is a cowgirl who dances to her own distinct rhythm with the combined grace of a prima ballerina and ferocity of a Maori warrior. The effect is spectacular and never fails to impress.
You either love or hate the 32-year-old who set the Thomas & Mack Center on fire in the opening round of the 2014 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. This is her sixth Las Vegas appearance in the world series of rodeo. She’s no rookie and a far cry from jaded.
Taylor is the embodiment of the empowered woman who walks a riotous path but one that carefully works to be sure that all women are equally empowered. She produces her own clothing line that puts the average peacock to shame, mentors barrel racing hopefuls through various online sources, and channels Beyoncé in that she believes she’s a performer who requires frequent costume changes.
“Fans came her for a show and I’m just the girl to give it to them,” Taylor said with a grin after her win. She was beltless, her shirt coming untucked over the slick long-sleeved top worn under it. She was breathless and sweaty, but laughed, saying she’d caught her blouse on her saddle horn at a regular season rodeo at a place on the course where announcer Boyd Polhamus caught more show that Taylor had intended.
“I don’t care how hot it is or how untucked my shirt comes,” she said. “Boyd will never get me again.”
As grounded as she is flamboyant, Taylor has championed not only her sport but encourages women in every level of the hotly contested event to embrace and learn from their mistakes as well as their wins. While expounding on barrel racing philosophy is her usual disposition, she is known to climb the soapbox to encourage citizenship and camaraderie in the arena and beyond among the women who are addicted to the lifelong quest for the fastest route around three drums.
And she’s beautiful. In fact, she’s drop-dead gorgeous. She showed up in Las Vegas this year with flowing magenta hair and a neon, tie-dye outfit that she made a winner on opening night with the help of her homegrown mare, officially named Flo’s Heiress but known to the world of horsewomen as BabyFlo.
“I trained and rode her dam, Flowers and Money, and owned and campaigned her sire, Dr. Nick Bar. I’m proud of all of that, but especially proud of BabyFlo,” Taylor told the mob of rodeo journalists who gathered after her win on Thursday night. Her expression flashed that pride, but also a rare humility that comes with knowing that gifts like BabyFlo can’t be truly owned.
You see, the finest of parentage never guarantees offspring of world-class talent. The most gifted trainer can’t make that guarantee. The champion horse is a gift from God, invested with a rare magic that we at once wish could be bottled and sold, and know that if that were possible, it would cheapen the thrill and the game. Everything in Fallon Taylor’s obvious pride mirrors that. Her magenta hair is the closest match she could find to her fire-breathing red mare. They’re more than a team … they’re two halves of a whole.
Her fans are loyal, admire her over-the-top willingness to put herself out there. Her detractors? Well, who ever really knows what drives a hater?
Whichever camp you find yourself in, you’re certain to never be left with nothing to say about Fallon Taylor. Here’s the guarantee. She’ll never leave you cold.