Robin Cagle of Fort Worth, Texas, says she’s “46 years old and proud of it.” She grew up on 20 acres in Louisiana, the youngest of four siblings in a horse-riding family.
“I actually grew up riding horses and competed in high school rodeos up until I got out of high school in ’84, and then I kind of got out of riding horses and competing until 2000 … when I bought my first horse.”
She has competed in gay rodeos since 2003. She said she had not won a buckle until this year, when she had several wins in succession.
“I won my first buckle in Oklahoma City in flag racing,” she said. “And then I got on a winning streak. When we went to Canada, I ended up winning the women’s calf-racing-on-foot buckle, and then when we went to Denver, I won flag racing. So it’s pretty cool.”
She moved to Texas as an adult, and now she lives on a nine-acre ranch with her partner, Mari Taylor. They have seven horses, two of which she competes with.
“They’re like my kids,” she said with a laugh. “I get people who say, ‘You need to cull your herd,’ and I say, “It’s like getting rid of my kids, I can’t do that.”
Her partner has been very supportive of her, she said, and they go together to many of the rodeos. Cagle is a global program manager for Avaya, a business communications company, where she has worked for 23 years. Taylor is battling ovarian cancer and is not working now.
Cagle is the first runner-up for MsTer IGRA 2012 and was MsTer TGRA 2011. She said royalty is a great way for non-horseback riders to get involved with their local Gay Rodeo Association.
The royalty team selects charities that they want to raise money for. This year they have added the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, and her partner, Taylor, is “a big reason why we’re doing that,” she said.
Cagle said she also was close to another rodeo competitor, Ty Teigen, who died of cancer in July.
“Mari and Ty were actually chemo buddies,” she said.
Cagle said that she and Taylor enjoy the camaraderie of their rodeo family and that she loves to compete.
“We kind of plan for the expense, but it does add up,” she said.
It’s not uncommon, she said, for rodeo participants to share a trailer to cut back on the cost of transporting their horses.
The expense of keeping horses has definitely gone up with the drought and other weather conditions, she said.
“I can remember in 2000 when you could buy a 50-pound bag of horse feed for six bucks, and now we’re paying $12 a bag. You get used to planning for that. We have friends with the hay situation and the drought and they were scarce with hay. I have rodeo family and friends, and we all take care of each other, so if you get wind of good square bales or round bales of hay at a decent price, you just pitch in and get it.”
As far as the rodeo competition, she said: “I don’t go out to win. It’s fun to win. And it always makes it better, but I do enjoy it. I should end up making it to the world finals in all three events, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.”