Rules for Rodeo Wives

By Summer McMillen

If you’ve missed the sign that I carry around my neck that says “I’m a rodeo wife” then allow me to reintroduce myself… I am Summer, ranch wife extraordinaire and rodeo wife rookie. When it comes to staying home and tending the cattle and kiddos, I am an absolute pro, but when it comes to traveling with my husband to every rodeo in the continental United States, I am still trying to learn the ropes.

Which brings me to the question: Are these ropes ever fully learned? I have been doing this for going on four years now and I still make mistakes, I still forget things and I still lose my gourd at least once every 48 hours. In order to survive I have developed a four rule system that helps me get through the rodeo season. So, I thought I would share them with you. You may find them helpful; you may find them entertaining or you may find yourself dialing 9-1-1 telling the operator that there is a lady in Central Oklahoma who needs a lot of help. Medical or otherwise.

1. Carry money in your makeup bag. Whatever the weather may bring you at that particular rodeo, I promise you are not going to want to carry your purse. I am usually carrying a toddler, a dog, all their toys and snacks. So the last thing I want to be carrying is my purse. I also do not want to forget money for that coveted concession stand snack, so I put money in my makeup bag. The last thing I am doing before we leave the trailer is dabbing some lipstick on my already sunburnt lips. When I see the ten dollar bill lying next to that lip gloss, I slip it in with my makeup and out the door we go. I’m ready, Sonora is ready and our concession stand fund is easily accessible. Everybody wins.

2. Put a first aid kit in the trailer. Somebody is going to get hurt. Whether it’s you falling out of the trailer because, well, HEELS. Your husband because, well, he’s a man. Or you child because, well, children are determined to make as many memories as possible during their childhood, emergency room trips included.

3. Always know more than your husband. When he asks what time to enter the rodeo, your response is, “No worries, honey.  It’s in my phone.”  When he asks what time slack is, you say, “Honey, I’ve told you 4,700 times it’s at 8 a.m.” When he wonders where his horse is, you simply say, “I’ve sold him for college tuition.” See? Knowledge is power.  

Read more in the July 2019 issue of Oklahoma Farm & Ranch.