A memory came to me earlier this month as our team was finalizing its coverage of the Women’s Rodeo World Championships. You see, we decided to put the winners of the event on this cover of the magazine months ago, because we deeply value the growth of this sport and believe great events targeted at great ropers are what helps make that happen.
Now back to the memory—I was attending one of my very first events for Spin To Win Rodeo back in 2013. It was the Wildfire Open to the World in Salado, when Chad Masters and Jade Corkill won the event. I’d planned for a photographer to shoot a special cover photo of the two of them, and as we were getting set up for the portrait, Chad and Jade came to me with an idea: They wanted to pass their cover-photo opportunity to WPRA World Champion Lari Dee Guy, who’d just won the Wildfire Ladies Only with Jimmi Jo Montera.
“She deserves it more than us,” Corkill argued.
I remember calling my boss that night, asking if he thought that would be an option. He’d already planned for Chad and Jade on the cover, and advertisers were counting on it, too. We’d never had a woman in that spot, and the powers that be weren’t sure if the general population of ropers was ready for a woman on the front of the biggest magazine in the sport when the guys had won so much more at the Wildfire.
Ultimately, we took the photo of Chad and Jade, and we ran it. It was a nice shot, and they deserved the credit, whether they wanted it or not. But I’m telling you this story now—nine years later—to highlight what those two did that day. Chad and Jade stood up, and they pointed at Lari Dee, acknowledging what she’d done so far in the industry and lobbying for the credit she deserved.
As breakaway ropers fight for equal money and opportunities, it’s moments like that—when the best guys in the world stop and point to their counterparts with a XX chromosome—that we see progress in sports, and any industry, for that matter.
I’m grateful that we’ve now had quite a few women on the cover as we’ve transitioned to The Team Roping Journal, and I’m looking forward to more like this one from the $750,000 Women’s Rodeo World Championship in Fort Worth. Plus, you’ll again find The Breakaway Roping Journal in this issue on page 80, with a cover of Martha Angelone, too.
We’ll see you on the road this summer.