Bull riders are known to be tough, fast, and fearless. Most people think all bull riders are men but Sierra Limb is trying to change that perception. She isn’t trying to prove anything to anyone else; she is just trying to do something she ahs wanted to accomplish for a long time — ride bulls.
Limb is 17 (and the all important, “and a half”). She grew up in Evanston and her family has a long history of involvement in local rodeo events. Her father Shad competed and most of her cousins and uncles. Her grandmother, Kristine Limb, has worked with Cowboy Days rodeo for years.
“My grandmother is not doing too well, she is battling cancer, so I dedicated my first ride to her,” said Limb. “She is an amazing woman.”
Limb’s first ride didn’t go very well. The bull turned around in the chute and her cousin pulled her off the bull. Since it was a problem with the bull’s performance, Limb was given a re-ride. In her second attempt she lasted about four seconds and was thrown, and stepped on in the process, giving her a nasty bruise on her calf.
Her previous experience with rodeo was participating in the chicken chase.
“Last year, after watching the rodeo, I decided I wanted to ride a bull,” she said. “I practiced by riding a horse bareback and learning how to use my arm for balance.”
She did ride a mechanical bull once but that was three years ago.
Her first two times on a bull have provided a couple of lessons.
“I now know that you never know what a bull is going to throw at you,” she said. “It’s a lot like life. Now that I know a bit more about what it is like I will be practicing more.”
Limb is not planning on making a career of riding bulls; she is working to become a registered nurse because she enjoys helping others.
She is planning on getting back on a bull July 15 at the Evanston Rodeo Series.
“I was surprise she went through with it,” said Andrew Walk, Limb’s boyfriend. “But she didn’t have a second thought. She knew what she wanted to do and she went through with it.”
“I liked it,” she said. “I can’t help it; I’m an adrenaline junkie. I must admit, I kind of shocked myself because when it came down to it, I had no hesitation. My grandmother’s battle with cancer has shown me that I can’t control what happens and we will always have fears to face, fears to overcome. I was afraid but I had to overcome the fear and do what I have wanted to accomplish.”
Women in rodeo are nothing new. Of course, there are the women who compete in barrel racing and sometimes, trick riding, but in the 1920s and 1930s, women competed in all facets of rodeo, across the nation. In 1918 Mildred Douglas, who is in the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame won the saddle bronc event in Cheyenne. Sisters Alice and Marge Greenough, were both accomplished bronc riders and Alice once traveled to Spain to ride fighting bull. Fox Hastings enjoyed success as a bulldogger and Prairie Rose Anderson won the bronc riding championship in Cheyenne in 1917.
Limb is in good company.
“Everyone has been so supportive,” Limb said. “Behind the chutes the other cowboys and staff were all telling me I did a good job. It was great to have so much support. I know my dad, Shad Limb, was very supportive; even though he was afraid I would get hurt, he helped all along the way.”
Walk supported his girlfriend’s decision but admitted to holding his breath during her ride.
So why wouldn’t Limb follow the lead of other women involved in rodeo and do something a little less dangerous?
“I don’t know, I’m just that way,” she said. “I’m not about the glam — I’m about the dirt.”