Women of the PBR: Jody Ruhland

Jody Ruhland and her husband Rick have become a pillar in the PBR Australia family.

Highlights

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Growing up as the daughter of a cowboy I took for granted that I would always be involved in the sport of rodeo. When I went on to marry my husband Rick at the age of 21, it was no surprise that he was a bull rider. Three children (Jack 17, Dan 13 and Piper 8) and many miles later, it was only when Rick retired from the sport that I began to question if that was the end of our involvement. I think I found his retirement more difficult than he did. Rick retired when PBR Australia was in its infancy. When Glen Young asked us to come on board as part of the PBR team I saw it as a chance to remain a part of a sport that had given us so much and hoped that we would be able to give something back.

Rick And Myself
Jody and her husband Rick.

Initially, we were asked to put a team together to come in and build the arena at our Cup events. From there we have become part of the production team and it has become tradition for our international riders, entertainers and announcers to stay in our & my parents’ homes when they visit each year for our events. In this time we decided to go a step further and start breeding some bucking bulls.  

Having spent a lot of time on the road throughout Rick’s career, we recognize how important it is to feel like you have a bit of a home base when you are so far from your own home. Our hope has been that by opening our homes to our international guests that they would feel welcomed and rested while away from their families and that in turn would enable them to compete at their best while in Australia. By getting away from the big cities and motels they have also been able to experience some of our beautiful country in a way that they might not have been able to otherwise. Over the past five years we have had visitors from America, Mexico, Canada and Brazil stay with us. This has been such a blessing to our family and earned me the title of PBR Mum. We have formed some lifelong friendships, have seen weddings and babies and in turn the boys have watched our children grow. We have also become a halfway house for some of our Australian riders; they all know there will be a bed and a hot meal for them anytime they stop by. We have one Aussie rider that came for two weeks and has been here 18 months.

Jordan Hupp And Fransico Morales
Jordan Hupp and Fransico Morales.

Guys like Harve Stewart, Fancisco Morales, Gustavo Pedrero, Matt Merritt, Matt West, Skeeter Kingsolver and Zane Lambert now consider this their Aussie home as they have visited several times. There’s always plenty of laughs and practical jokes when the boys come to stay. It’s in our Aussie humor to terrify our guests with tales of our dangerous wildlife. As pay back my father Darryl got a nice wake-up call one evening with a couple of the internationals deciding to put a rooster in his bed.  One American, who shall remain nameless, has a gate post on our ranch named after him due to an incident with him, a runaway horse and a permanent scar on his forehead.

Our family is always sad to see them go but know that we will see them somewhere down the road and build more memories. My parents are heading off on a dream trip Mexico, Brazil, Canada and America next month to catch up with many of our international friends.   

2015 Cristiano Cunha Robson Guedes Our Daughter Piper Mum Shirley Gustavo Pedrero Myself
Cristiano Cunha, Robson Guedes, Piper (daugher), Shirley )mother), Gustavo Pedrero and Jody.

Heading into our tenth season, I am struck by how much PBR Australia has grown. Our July Cup Series has been one of the most successful to date with sold out crowds in Cairns, our National Finals in Sydney and our very first Last Cowboy Standing event in Brisbane. Being the wife of a former rider as well as being a contractor and part of the PBR production team, I am lucky to see the growth on all levels. The opportunities our riders now have with being able to qualify and compete on the American tour is something that Rick once only dreamt about. The thing that strikes me the most is that bull riders are pretty much the same no matter where they come from. Most are simply driven by their pure love of the sport. It’s not about money or fame but merely a passion for bull riding. 

Myself Bull Houston And Rick
Jody and her husband Rick with their bull Houston.

The thing that makes PBR Australia unique is what we have affectionately termed the PBR Family. Every person involved from production, administration, contractors and riders has a deep connection to the sport and all want to see it grow to its full potential. 

Between my job with the PBR, my family, our bulls and working full time on our cattle property in Mt. Walker QLD, my plate is always full, but I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. Not many people can say that they love their job as much as I do. I truly am blessed. 

 

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