I have heard it all.
“EW why isn’t she representing the sport of rodeo better?!”
“She’s so entitled, who does she think she is?”
“I LOVE her she is amazing and my hero!”
“Screw that cow, she is weird”
“What is up with the helmet thing?”
Every word, every insult, and every admiring comment hurts my heart.
I watch Fallon Taylor’s online presence with something more than interest – I watch it with wonder. With sadness.
I remember being 14, the year I started going to Cowboy Poetry Gatherings. A group of girls, who are by now married – with children and leading their own lives – were the first ones in a long line of people who loved to make fun of me.
It never really occurred to me to be embarrassed, even when sometimes I probably should have!
I had a job to do. I had something I loved, their words were just that – words.
But after a while it began to take its toll. People laughed on online chat forums while secretly buying my albums and forgetting I could see the name displayed. They laughed when I walked by, and made jokes about me not wearing the types of clothes the other gals my age wore.
And you know what? It fueled me. It hurt sometimes, but more than hurting – it forced me to want to do even bigger better things because I don’t like loosing. And I believed in what I was doing. And to me, what I was doing was preserving a style and way of life that is in jeopardy from our modern cultural changes, and doing it through a genre of music that basically no young people – or girls that could actually cowboy did. It was considered “uncool” and I was OK with that because I believed in what I sang.
A few years past, and for SOME reason, the young people started going to the poetry gatherings again. The midnight dances and beer kegs I organized to lure them in worked well, but the history and passion for a way of life that they really do love deep down – no matter how “uncool” it was to like it – took precedence.
As I watched this year’s NFR, and carefully to see people’s comments on Facebook. Their thoughts and emotions. Some hated Fallon because she dresses CRAZY (ok she really does, its amazing) and I think a little because she is so damn good. Some LOVE her because she dresses so cray cray (talk about breaking barriers ya’ll!) and admire her kind spirit and willingness to help the young folks.
Eventually all of them have to admit – they admire someone who will not stop. Who will not give up. Who will not let those who make fun of her bring her down and cause her to stop something she loves.
I wouldn’t wear tie-dye pants and hats with sparkles…but for a long time, it was weird that I was a young girl who wore her cowboy hat and pea coats everywhere instead of the current trends. I never wore a helmet when I rode broncs, and I damn sure wish I had now. 7 major concussions later, and a lot of forgetting my words and headaches and I will never make fun of someone for protecting their health.
Folks, be careful whom you mock – they are usually the trendsetters. The outliers, the ones who make things happen – they are the future, the ones we end up teaching our children about and singing the praises of.
Fallon Taylor, you keep on rockin your tie-dye and winning like nobodies business girl, don’t let the haters get you down – they usually end up being your biggest supporters in the end…
And I’ll be watching and cheering from the sidelines, maybe it’s time for a song about a barrel racing legend ;)