Hometown Ponoka cow rider Seana Rousseau is hoping to prove she can bull ride with the best of them at the Turn Up The Heat event in San Saba Texas this weekend.
Rousseau is going with her roommate and fellow cow rider Katy Praught from Stony Plain. The pair live in Red Deer with another cow rider.
Rousseau, 19, has been cow riding at smaller rodeos in central Alberta for four seasons, and Praught 23, has been competing for five seasons.
She was introduced to the sport through a family friend who convinced her to ride her first junior bull.
“I was kind of hooked after that.”
Without many opportunities in Canada for female bull riders, the two participate in cow riding events where they can.
There is currently only one local, amateur association that has cow riding. In Canada, cow riding is done two-handed with the same goal of staying on top for a thrilling eight seconds.
In the States, they will up the ante, riding one-handed on junior bulls.
Giving an interview over the phone from the airport before she caught her flight Aug. 22, Rousseau said, “I’ll think we’ll do just fine,” adding the pair both have strong abdominal and leg muscles.
Both women have jumped horses, which Praught said, “is the best cross-training you can do.” Praught has also tried some cows one-handed before.
Without much awareness of the sport locally there aren’t many sponsorship opportunities so the ladies are paying their own way, and participating for the sake of the experience.
Rousseau says they want to go to the event to see if female bull riders are more respected in the States.
There are about six other women competing in the bull riding at the event in San Saba this weekend.
“I’m hoping we can prove we can ride one-handed,” said Rousseau.
“It will be nice to show them we can ride too.”
In a couple of weeks, Rousseau will be travelling to New Zealand, where she has signed on as a ranch hand at a show jumping barn where she’ll work with horses every day.
Next fall she plans to attend Red Deer College (RDC) for massage therapy.
Praught will be starting a nursing program this fall at RDC’s satellite location in Stettler.