10 photos of badass rodeo girls who play by their own rules.

During a recent visit to Canadian, Texas, photographer Ilona Szwarc was pleasantly surprised to see how many more girls were competing in rodeo competitions than she remembered.

Szwarc first encountered the rodeo as an exchange student in high school, but on a return visit years later, she was blown away by the young, female competitors. In watching them compete, Szwarc was struck by how the girls expressed their femininity in a stereotypically masculine sport while also adopting and adapting the masculine demeanor of rodeo competitors for themselves.

This sparked the idea for her new series "Rodeo Girls," which captures the spiritual connection the girls have with their horses.


"[The girls] love the feeling of being one with the horse," Szwarc says. "They would talk to me how much they loved adventure and the feeling of speed and risk taking."

Here are 10 of the incredible young rodeo riders featured in Szwarc's series:

1. Tierra, 9,  on her family's ranch in Adrian, Texas.

All photos by Ilona Szwarc, used with permission.

2. Karlie, 10, of Bushland, Texas, stands by a horse walker.

3. Bayley, 16, sits behind the Cowboy Church building in Amarillo, Texas.

4. Camree, 7, practices goat tying just outside Canadian.

5. Kaylee, 10, relaxes after a full day of competing.

In the background is the truck she drove with her parents from New Mexico to Texas, where the rodeo finals were held.

6. Sam, 15, relaxes in her bedroom in Clarendon, Texas, which is decorated with portraits of John Wayne.

7. Rylee and Kenli ride horses on their family's ranch in Happy, Texas.

8. Tayln, 7, lays on her pony in Canadian.

9. Sisters Rylee, 11, and Kenli, 9, stand arm-in-arm on their farm in Happy, Texas.

10. Chaley, 10, poses with a donkey on her grandfather's ranch in Canadian.

There is a deep tradition of women in rodeo from Annie Oakley in the late 19th century and into the present day.

These girls are part of a new generation that have taken up that mantle and are proudly pushing the boundaries of the sport, carving out their own space in an area often dominated by men and clearing the way for more generations of girls and women to follow.

More
Facebook / Mikhail Galin

Putting your pet in cargo during a flight isn't always safe. In 2016, the Department of Transportation reported a total of 26 pet deaths and 22 injuries on flights. Because conditions in cargo can be uncomfortable for animals, the Humane Society recommends taking your pet aboard when you fly, or just leaving it at home.

It's not surprising that one Russian man didn't want to put his overweight cat in cargo during an eight-hour flight from Moscow to Vladivostok. What is surprising is the great lengths he took to fly with his four-legged friend.

Russian airline Aeroflot allows pets to fly inside the plane's cabin, as long as the cat weighs under 17.6 pounds and stays in its carrier during the flight. When Mikhail Galin went to check in, he was told he couldn't fly with his four-year old cat, Viktor. Viktor weighed in at 22 pounds and would have to be relegated to cargo.

But Viktor was sick from their earlier flight from Riga, Latvia to Moscow. And besides, Viktor had been allowed to fly inside the cabin during that flight. The airline staff didn't even bother to make Viktor sit on the scales. Galin was unable to persuade staff to bring his fur baby on board.

"To all attempts to explain that the cat won't survive there on an 8-hour flight with the baggage and would haunt her in her nightmares for the rest of her life, she (the Aeroflot staff member) replied that there are rules," Galin wrote in a Facebook post translated from Russian.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Photo by Kelvin Octa from Pexels

Newborn babies don't seem to do much beyond eating and pooping and, of course, hiccupping. A lot. Parenting advice on how to cure a baby's hiccups runs the whole gamut. It's recommended parents try everything from nursing to stop feeding the baby so much, from giving the baby gripe water to letting the hiccups play their course. But when your baby hiccups too much, you shouldn't freak out. There's a good reason why.

A new study published in Clinical Neurophysiology found that hiccups play an important role in a baby's development. Researchers from the University College London found 217 babies for their study, but only looked at 13 newborns with persistent hiccups. Ten of those babies hiccupped when they were awake, and three hiccupped during their "wriggly" sleep. We have no idea how the scientists got any work done with all that cuteness lying around.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon / YouTube

Actress Kristen Bell and "The Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon showed off their vocal and comedic chops on Tuesday night when the performed a medley of 17 Disney songs, spanning nine decades, in just five minutes.

The duo started with 1940's "When You Wish Upon a Star" and ended with 2013's "Let it Go" from "Frozen."

Bell will reprise her role as Anna in Disney's upcoming "Frozen 2."

Keep Reading Show less
popular

Ask almost any woman about a time a man said or did something sexually inappropriate to them, and she'll have a story or four to tell. According to a survey NPR published last year, 81% of women report having experienced sexual harassment, with verbal harassment being the most common. (By contrast, 43% of men report being sexually harassed. Naturally harassment toward anyone of any sex or gender is not okay, but women have been putting up with this ish unchecked for centuries.)

One form of verbal sexual harassment is the all too common sexist or sexual "joke." Ha ha ha, I'm going to say something explicit or demeaning about you and then we can all laugh about how hilarious it is. And I'll probably get away with it because you'll be too embarrassed to say anything, and if you do you'll be accused of being overly sensitive. Ha! Won't that be a hoot?

Keep Reading Show less
popular