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By Deanna Kristensen @cowgirlcalamity
In the last half of the 2014 Calgary Stampede, barrel racer Fallon Taylor of Whitesboro TX, certainly made waves north of the border with her flamboyant attire and speedy fast times. After she won the $6,000 barrel racing pot on Wildcard Saturday, a Calgary newspaper photographer labelling his photos, looked up from his computer and asked around the media room to see if anyone thought if it would be inappropriate to describe her as… “the lady in pink.”
Lady in pink, “bright-banana-yellow-wonder-woman” or “tangy-tangerine-orange-superstar” – how else does one describe the look of today’s Madonna or Lady Gaga of pro barrel racing? However after over a decade of adversity, Taylor doesn’t need to tone down her style… heck she deserves the spotlight.
“This is an awesome sport – this is my time,” says Fallon Taylor at the Calgary Stampede. “I’ve followed all the rules and I did all the hard work to be here and I’m not going to be subtle.”
She actully describes her style as “delightfully tacky.” When Taylor charges into the arena, she shouldn’t have to be subtle. Not only does her fashion sense bring more colour to a rodeo, but her champion cowgirl style is also inspiring.
Last season she qualified for the WNFR, after 15 years of heartache. In 2009, Taylor faced her own adversity when she broke her C-2 vertebrae in her neck during a horse accident and it was questionable if she’d ever ride a horse again.
Taylor is a five-time WNFR Qualifier and currently rides her homegrown 8-year-old mare Flos Heiress aka “Babyflo” (Dr. Nick Bar x Flowers and Money); which is the 2013 AQHA/WPRA Horse of the Year. In 1995, at just 13-years-old Taylor qualified for her first WNFR aboard Babyflo’s dam Flowers and Money aka “Flo-Jo” (On the Money Red x Floralie). Riding both Babyflo’s dam and sire Dr. Nick Bar (also sire of Lindsay Sears’s great two-time World Champion mare Martha) she made four consecutive trips to Vegas, but then drifted into the shadows. Taylor’s next top horse was expected to be Babyflo’s full brother, Nicks Huachuca (Chuck Taylor). Sadly Chuck Taylor was injured in a fence, lost his foot and passed away in 2013. Over the past decade and a half, Taylor has felt her share of adversity and now it is undoubtedly her time to shine.
Outside of the pro rodeo spotlight, she has walked the runways of New York as a model, was the Axe Body Spray girl, and has appeared in television shows including “Two and a Half Men.” Currently she works at Dynasty Equine and now her latest business adventure is her own line of clothing called Ranch Dress’n.
Currently this Texas glamour girl is ranked number two in the WPRA standings and has earned the rights to light up and become an icon in the rodeo arena.
“I like to make a splash,” laughs Taylor.
Her style certainly grabs a photographer’s attention. But through the eyes of the media, Taylor says she hopes to inspire people to become more involved with the sport.
On the other side of the fence, Taylor’s bright presence has created a lot of buzz in and around the rodeo arena – filled with supporters and negative commentary. However Taylor says she feels that everyone has critics, “…but that is what is so cool!”
“For every person that criticizes you for what you’re wearing, there’s 300 people that are exposed to what you are wearing.”
She says it’s an honour to be part of this really cool movement in the arena, which is pushing the lid on what is the style of rodeo today.
Wild and spirited – cowgirl glam has always been a part of what fills the grandstands at an event. Taylor points out that rodeo evidently is a show for the crowd, which she is proud to be a part of.
“We are performers, it is called a performance. So there are tickets being sold to the performance and I can’t sing – so this is all I got!”
While she draws attention to the arena, Taylor feels she has paved a trail for other aspiring barrel racers who may be scared of standing out of the crowd.
“I always say for every door I open, another girl can walk through. If there is a little girl somewhere that got made fun of for dressing silly, maybe I can make it cool and she can do what ever she wants.”
While walking back to the Calgary Stampede barns to tend to Babyflo, Taylor says that every barrel racer rides in the arena for a reason.
“We all earn our spots here, everyone of us have our own unique style… and mine is just a little bit brighter.”
You go get’m Taylor! It’s a great thing to be confident in yourself enough to show your true colors. Keep’m shinin’ bright!