Laurel Thatcher Ulrich stated, “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” Well, I have always liked this quote, even though I do not exactly consider myself a “wild child.” But, I think all women have that vivacious streak within them, even if it may be buried beneath societal norms or life’s circumstances.
I think it is those “break the mold” occasions that define us. The times we as women jump out of our comfort zones and straight into something completely out of character…or maybe, it is completely WITHIN our character and we just forget about that part of ourselves over time? Those times, those seemingly crazy, hair-brained, or invigorating instances that keep us alive and hungry for adventure also keep us in touch with the woman that we truly are, in all beautiful aspects of our identities.
Lately, I have been privy to listen to some of the Rhinestone Renegade members as they share their personal experiences since entering this phenomenal program. I know I have mentioned before that women of all walks of life are eligible to join, and this year’s members range from high school-aged young ladies, to mothers, from novices, to veteran cattle enthusiasts. There are even two mother/daughter pairs! But, one thing remains the same for each and every member – every woman I have been privileged to meet has found value, belonging, and a profound sense of accomplishment from having joined the Rhinestone Renegades. I have witnessed a couple ladies, meek and quiet at first meeting; discover a new-found pride and confidence in working with Joy and their heifers. They now stand confident and strong, moving fluidly and knowledgably behind the chutes, flanking their sometimes less-than-cooperative bovine teammates. It is honestly heart-warming and inspiring to behold, and their smiles and cheers reach somewhere deep within those observing their transformations.
Christy, one of the 2012 Rhinestone Renegades members told me, “I’m excited to be a part of the Rhinestone Renegades. I have some really close friends in this group and already have some great memories and stories. I have learned so much and learn more every time we are together. This is a remarkable adventure for women who have ever thought about becoming stock contractors.”
Ruby, one of the Renegades’ youngest members, said, “While following my bulls on their circuits, I observed Joy Hawks [Rhinestone Renegades founder] numerous times with her bulls at events. I was intrigued and eventually met her. She has been an inspiration to me, and led me to the decision to become a Rhinestone Renegade. I purchased a Rhinestone Renegade heifer that has bloodlines that go back to 555 Neon Nights, 807 Slim Shady, B16 Copenhagen Charlie, and -79 Panama Red. It has been a GREAT experience thus far, and we’ve only begun!”
Joy Hawks has developed a niche within the predominantly masculine industry of bucking bulls to welcome women into the world of stock contracting. She brings them opportunities to develop skills and attain knowledge, but also transcend boundaries and usher self-discovery alongside.
Next week, I’ll be back to tell more about the Rhinestone Renegades program and the women who make it so extraordinary, so tune in!