She didn’t grow up on a ranch, but Bobby-Jean Colyer fell in love with ranching as a child. Her rural community in Bruneau, Idaho helped her get started. She dreamed of barrel racing and, when Bobby-Jean was 12, her dad traded for her first horse. It ended up being a great investment: Bobby-Jean earned a full scholarship to Montana State University and made the College National Finals Rodeo in team roping, barrel racing, and goat tying—one of only two women in 2002 to qualify for team roping.
Her accomplishments in the sport of rodeo are too many to list! Bobby-Jean is the only woman who has ever won the Bruneau Round-Up All Around Championship. She won Rookie of the Year in the Idaho Cowboys Association in 2003. She has qualified eight times for the World Series Finale along with the RFDTV AMERICAN and the Columbia Circuit Finals. She has competed in the Art of the Cowgirl World’s Greatest Horsewoman in Phoenix, AZ, splitting first in steer stopping and fence work and ending up third overall.
We caught up with Bobby-Jean, who describes herself as a longtime fan of Vogt. She tells us a little about what rodeo and Western fashion mean to her, how she succeeded in this sport, and which Vogt piece she is never without. In the accompanying photoshoot, Bobby-Jean models her favorite Vogt pieces along with her Kimes Jeans. As a Kimes Jeans rep, Bobby-Jean is passionate about sharing what matters to her when it comes to dressing for her sport and representing her community.
Bobby-Jean lives with her two children, Piper and Cruz, in her hometown of Bruneau, where she owns a rodeo entry company called Rodeo Central.
Hi Bobby Jean! First things first: Tell us a bit about yourself and how you grew up.
I grew up in Bruneau, Idaho which is mostly a farming and ranching community. My dad was a schoolteacher and coach. My mom was a stay-at-home mom and I have two older brothers. I had a love for horses for as long as I can remember. I would do just about anything to get close enough to even pet a horse!
One of our close family friends, Marilynn Black, was the horse 4-H leader at the time. She let me join the horse 4-H club even though I didn’t have a horse to learn on or show. With time, she found me a horse to borrow so that I could go to the fair and compete and that is where it all got started.
I will always be forever grateful to the Black family for taking me under their wing and showing me how to do things. I was very fortunate to grow up in this wonderful rural community that was so willing to help a girl who was just plumb crazy about horses and competing. They say it takes a small village to raise a child and I truly believe that.
At what age did you first start riding?
I started riding horses when I was about 10 years old and went to my first county fair to show a horse when I was 12. I learned how to rope around that time and began entering in junior rodeos when I was 13. You see, it’s never too late to start and you don’t have to be a second or third-generation cowgirl to become one.
What made you fall in love with the sport of rodeo?
I love to go fast!!! I enjoyed 4-H and learned a lot about horses and horsemanship but when I got my first taste of rodeo and competing, I instantly fell in love!!!
What would you say is your biggest accomplishment to date in rodeo?
Wow that truly is a hard one!!! Making it to the RFDTV AMERICAN at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas was an amazing experience. I will never forget what it felt like as I waited for them to open up the stadium to let me in, as I of course was the first contestant there. Looking up at a place that holds 80,000 people was a feeling I will never forget. Being on national television was a cool experience too. I truly wish my family could have been there, but it was an experience I will never forget.
I think the accomplishment I am truly most proud of is finishing third place at the Art of the Cowgirl World’s Greatest Horsewomen completion. I have really worked hard and concentrated on bettering my horsemanship skills these last three years and that was the first time I had ever shown a bridle horse and about the eighth time showing in the rein cow horse. The roping part was where I was at home, but the other three events were a challenge with a huge learning curve.
Is there a mentality, approach, or strategy to which you attribute your success?
Absolutely and honestly, I don’t think I really figured it out until I was about a senior in college. The mental part of competition is just as important as the physical and natural talent aspect.
I have seen so many athletes throughout my life of competing and coaching struggle with this key issue. Even if you are one of the most naturally talented athletes, you have to have a good mental game or it ends up biting you and costing. I work very hard on visualizing the perfect run in my head and not allowing any negative thoughts to enter my mind.
One other key tip is competing to better yourself, not necessarily to beat anyone else. One last thing to remember is that someone somewhere out there practicing to get better every single day and if you aren’t, they will beat you. I tell myself every day—especially those days that the weather is absolutely terrible—I need to be out there and working.
Not only are you preserving the old traditions of the West as a standout rodeo athlete, you also have a love for Western fashion. What does Western style mean to you?
You only compete as good as you look. As a coach, I always tell my basketball players that when you look sharp, you play sharp and professional. I would like to think I have my own style, one I take a lot of pride in. I look forward to putting my best clothes and make-up on when I get the chance to compete. Just because we are cowgirls and want to be handy, doesn’t mean we can’t look like a classy lady while doing it!
In this day and age, what advice would you give a young person interested in the Western lifestyle?
Find your own style, one that represents you as a person and how you want to be perceived. To live a Western lifestyle, you don’t have to come from a Western upbringing. I am a prime example of that. Whatever you set your mind to do is exactly what you can become. I am not saying there won’t be bumps on your journey, but those come with anything that has a great reward in the end.
Kimes Jeans is one of your sponsors. As one of the leading denim companies in the Western industry, what does having their support mean for you as an athlete and what do you love about their product?
I feel honored to have the support of Kimes Jeans. I love that they are made in the U.S.A. I was able to go to the Kimes Ranch last November and I fell in love with company and people who work there even more. They are like one big family. Did you know that all the jeans are named after an animal that has lived on the Kimes Ranch? How cool is that! Kimes Jeans are very flattering yet very functional to work in. They have styles to fit any occasion with a precise fit to accentuate you best features.
You’re also a fan of silver and often wear pieces from your Vogt collection. Which Vogt piece do you feel expresses your style best?
The Blair Cuff, without a shadow of a doubt, is my most favorite piece that I wear every day. I love this bracelet because it’s beautiful and extremely functional. I never take it off. I wear it when I rope, show horses, and brand calves. It looks just as amazing with a dress while getting dressed up and going out on the town.
Why does Vogt Silversmiths resonate with you and your understanding of the West?
I love all Vogt Silver because it is only one of a kind, handcrafted, and designed in the U.S.A. The craftmanship is second-to-none and represents the person I am and want to be: Classy and elegant. It is made for Cowgirls and Cowboys by a Cowboy and is made to withstand the Western ways of life.
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Photography: Emma Orthel