Soon after the last school bell rang in the 2017-2018 school year, Kylie Bradfield, Houston Elementary second-grade teacher, and Rachel Ibarra, Ross Elementary first-grade Explore Academy teacher, traded in their teacher’s desk for a horse as members of the Catalena Cowgirls.
What followed was an intensive schedule of riding with the performance team at rodeos and festivals across the state. This is Bradfield’s second summer riding as a Cowgirl and Ibarra’s first.
“I’ve loved every minute of my time with these girls,” Ibarra said. “I was a fan of the Cowgirls when I was young and being able to be a part of the team has been a dream come true.”
Ibarra said the team’s training schedule takes up most of her time during the summer, but said, “it’s time well spent.” She said that she couldn’t wait to tell her students about the experience when the school starts back in August.
Bradfield, who has helped mentor Ibarra in her first year with the team, said the experience of riding with a fellow Bryan ISD teacher has been rewarding.
“I love being a part of the team and working with a fellow teacher from my school district has been cool,” Bradfield said. “I think it sets a great example for our students by showing them all the things that are possible to do outside of the classroom.”
Both teachers performed in the Bryan Breakfast Lions Club PRCA Rodeo over the weekend and are warming up for their next performance at the Fiestas Patrias Festival and Parade Sept. 16 in Downtown Bryan.
“We won’t have much traditional vacation time before the school year starts,” Bradfield said. “But it’s totally worth it. I love teaching for Bryan ISD, and I love being a Catalena Cowgirl.”
Children First. Always.
About the Catalena Cowgirls:
The Catalena Cowgirls are a precision rodeo drill team in the Sammy Catalena Rodeo Company, which has existed since 1975. The group has appeared at the biggest rodeos across Texas, including the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, the Texas Circuit Finals, the Southwestern Exposition and Ft. Worth Livestock Show, and the Heart of Texas Fair & Rodeo. Other events include performances for the World Championship Bull Riding Series, the 2001 Olympic Torch Ceremony, and the World Energy Conference. For more information, visit https://catalenacowgirls.com/.
Left: Rachel Ibarra, Ross Elementary first-grade Explore Academy teacher
Right: Kylie Bradfield, Houston Elementary second-grade teacher