Just as Dr. Suess once said, “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”
Jane Rivercomb does just that in the rodeo world.
Although it sounds like a story from the wild, wooly west, women contestants competing in rough stock events is making a powerful comeback.
The special television series “Cowgirls”, featured on RIDE TV, brought to light bronc riding being a cowgirls', as well a cowboys’ competition. Not only are these women competing, but they are winning and rodeo fans are loving it.
Getting to Know Jane
Jane Rivercomb, born and raised in Roanoke, Virginia, was not raised up in rodeo, like one would maybe assume. She had a great family surrounding her, including three siblings, her stay-at-home mother, and her father who worked as a preacher. “I was brought up doing activities such as playing soccer, participating in girl scouts, going to church activities, and playing with my neighborhood friends,” Jane shares.
Once graduation from high school rolled around, Jane had no real plans for what she wanted to specifically do. She did know one thing; she was going to compete in college rodeo. Hurrying to apply to Vernon College two weeks before classes, Jane was offered scholarship. With her trailer packed and her dream of competing in college rodeo coming true, she headed out to Vernon, TX.
“That year at Vernon College changed me more than I ever thought possible, “says Jane.
Bronc Riding Fever
During her second year at Vernon, the rodeo loving college student discovered bronc riding. Barrel racing and collegiate rodeo were growing old. After having two close rodeo team friends pass away unexpectedly, it was time for a change. While sitting in a hospital room of one of her beloved friends, Jane decided she was going to give ladies bronc riding a try. She headed straight for Graham, TX to ride her first bronc ever. In the
back of her mind she thought she would probably hate it, but it seemed like something to keep her mind off of all the events she was going through.
“The split moment before I climbed down on my bronc, I felt the life come back into me and a fire rise back up in my soul. I truly was alive again and everything felt right. Even though I didn’t last very long on my first bronc, #44 a little strawberry paint horse, I stood up from the dirt with a smile on my face a mile wide. I instantly wanted to get back on another one!”, Jane explained.
After the rodeo,Jane, along with a few other girls that were riding that day, were approached by a couple men with a video camera to interview them for a prospected new tv show to come about.
Picture Credit:Jackie Jenson
“That’s where “Cowgirls” on Ride TV was born!”, says Jane.
Not having set out to make a turn for women in rodeo rough stock events purposely, she was then given the opportunity that she never expected to happen and was now a part of something bigger.
“Looking back a year ago before I left home for the first time and set out to Texas, I truly evolved so much as a woman by taking a step out and just simply being brave and having faith in myself and God”, Jane says.
Trying Something New
When hunting down Jane on the weekdays, you will most likely find her at Riata Ranchin California. Riata Ranch is a women’s trick riding and trick roping training ranch as well as teaching horsemanship to young riders. Working as the performance horse training help, as well as giving lessons and trail rides, Jane stays busy. The Cowboy Girls r iding team calls this place home and travels across America to perform on the pro rodeo circuit.
“We train twice a day and in between that we are doing trail rides or lessons”, Jane explains.
Picture Credit:Jason Koperski
What’s to come?
Jane is taking life’s opportunities as they come and following what God has put in her path. The bronc rider shares that she plans to buckle down toward her new endeavors ahead and work hard at them every single day to lead her to where she is to be in her journey.
“The rough stock community is wonderful, and I have always had support at every rodeo I have ever entered, except one or two. So many men would always lend a helping hand and they all truly wanted to see me succeed,” Jane shares.
Jane is excited to see where life takes her next and believes that these experiences have changed her life for the better. When asked about her thoughts on rodeo and how it separates itself from any other sport out there, she believes working with the animals that have a mind of their own, humbles the contestants involved and that rodeo events are something you never truly, so call, master. She explains that it takes a strong individual to keep pushing forward with their training and keep performing the best they can to make a living at the sport.
Jane states, “One day you are on top and the next you are right at the bottom and it's truly an endless cycle. Rodeo competitors truly have a heart of gold and are one of a kind.”
By - Monica Stewart
Picture Credit: Jason Koperski