PRCA Woman bull rider makes history in Kansas
June 18, 2012
Move over Kaila Mussell, you have company in ProRodeo’s most exclusive club.
Maggie Parker, a 19-year-old permit holder from Shaftsburg, MI, became the first woman in PRCA history to earn a check in a bull riding competition June 2, at the Bennington PRCA Rodeo and joined Mussell (a saddle bronc rider) as the only female contestants to place in any roughstock event.
Parker, coached by 1970 World Champion Bull Rider Gary Leffew, scored 70 points on New Frontier Rodeo’s B12, to finish sixth in a field of 38 and earn $190 (plus $270 in day money), the first step on her way to becoming the first woman to qualify to buy her PRCA card.
“I’m in this for the same reason the guys are,” Parker said, “because I love doing it. I didn’t set out to prove a point beyond being able to prove myself.”
In truth, Parker came within one second of qualifying to buy her card a night earlier when she got bucked off David Bailey Rodeo’s Shambala at the seven-second mark at the 75th annual Flint Hills Rodeo in Strong City, KS.
There were no qualified rides among the 24 entered contestants in Strong City. One more second and she would have had two checks and her first win on the same weekend.
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“I’ve been kicking myself all weekend about that,” Parker said. “I was so close. It was just one of those things. I thought the bull was going one way (on the final jump) and he went the other.
“I work for David Bailey Rodeo, so Shambala is right in my backyard. He’s mean. He chases after me when I’m by the fence. I thought I’d get back at him by riding him at Strong City, but I just came up short.”
So, maybe Parker was due a little luck when she went on down the road to Bennington, and she got it when she drew B12.
By her own account, the bull didn’t turn back, but “bucked hard and kicked for the whole ride. He kicked so much that I kept resetting my feet and spurring on every jump; it almost seemed like a bareback ride.”
The first post-ride phone call went to Leffew at his place out in Santa Maria, CA.
He was just about as excited about the breakthrough as Parker.
“Maggie Parker has been a pleasure to train,” Leffew said. “If there’s going to be a girl make it in professional bull riding it’s going to be her. She has the heart and grit in her soul that it’s going to take to get it done.
“I had her switch hands, where she could learn to build all new habits, and I wanted her on at least 100 bulls before she entered rodeos. She is about halfway there, but is entering anyway, so any wins between now and her 100 will be a bonus.”
The two Kansas rodeos over the June 1-3 weekend were the fifth and sixth for Parker since buying her PRCA permit last November – she’d previously competed at California rodeos in Auburn, Stonyford and Riverdale, and in Poteau, OK.
The win at Bennington went to Wrangler NFR qualifier Trevor Kastner, whose 89 points on New Frontier Rodeo’s Price Sherriff was the same score he had in winning at the Old Fort Days Rodeo in Fort Smith, AR, this weekend.
The other Bennington champions were bareback rider Jared Keylon (83 points), steer wrestler Chancey Larson (4.4 seconds), team ropers Quincy Kueckelhan and Christopher Young (5.1 seconds), saddle bronc rider Isaac Diaz (86 points), tie-down roper Hunter Herrin (7.9 seconds) and barrel racer Kyra Stierwalt (16.27 seconds).