Five Women Redefine the Power Suit
By Kristina Grish
Photo Credit: Jeff Harris
VANESSA HODGSON, 22, professional bull and bareback horse rider.
THE JOB: "When I'm the only girl in an all-boys rodeo and they announce my name, I feel really proud. There aren't many girls who compete in this sport. At guys' rodeos I strut, but when I'm at the women's rodeos, we're like a big family and cheer each other on. We're competing against the animals more than each other. When I first started riding, a lot of guys looked down on me, but now they are behind me. In 2006, I placed second in the world in bareback riding, and in 2004 I finished third in the world in bull riding."
THE REAL ME: "I was raised on a cattle farm in Michigan. As I got older, I hung out at rodeos. I wanted to try riding a bull to see what it was like and when I did, I loved it. I'd been riding only horses for the past two years, and I figured that since I went so far in that sport, I should challenge myself in a new one. My clothes perfect my performance. When I feel good, people look up to me especially the kids and it makes me ride better. I have four cowboy hats right now. I bought my favorite one in Texas. It's very old school. When I buy new shirts or jeans, I'm superstitious about wearing them. I stomp all over them and rip them up so they look worn."
Hodgson wears gloves to help protect her hands and give her better grip.
"When I compete, I wear chaps over my jeans."
"I have such a shoe fetish! I own a dozen pairs of cowboy boots."