Troxel Athlete, Rachel Gagliardi is a member of the Central Pennsylvania Youth Rodeo Association, competing with the Champion Barrel Racing Team and Reserve Champions in Pole Bending, Breakaway Roping, and Goat Tying. She has been riding horses since the age of eight and loves everything about rodeo competition. Here, Rachel shares why she chooses to wear a helmet in a sport heavily dominated by cowboy hats versus protective headgear.
"Tough." Tough is the first word that comes to mind when I think of rodeo for cowboys and cowgirls alike. In a field of athletics so dominated by the traditional cowboy hat, I like to tell people that I am tough enough to wear a helmet because that's exactly how I feel.
My decision to wear a helmet was simple. I compete in a sport that requires extreme physicality from both the horse and rider. I recognize the importance of taking care of myself in addition to my horses, so I may ensure that I am always competing to the best of my ability in the safest environment possible.
My helmet has helped me take care of myself for 10 years. In my experience, my helmets have kept me safe through rain, mud, sun, snow, extreme heat and even a few unauthorized dismounts. My helmet serves as my safety sidekick.
Recently, I had an unauthorized dismount while practicing barrel racing on my horse, "Hammer". As we rounded the backside of the third barrel, Hammer lost his footing and fell, landing on his left side. Fortunately, I had stepped off on the way down! However, as Hammer leapt up from the ground I found myself between him and the barrel (which was still standing). In that instant as Hammer rose, his shoulder inadvertently collided with my Troxel Rebel Rose helmet. The brim of the helmet snapped off upon taking the impact. The structural integrity of my helmet ensured my safety and well-being. Thankfully, I left the barn headache and concussion free.
I feel tough when I am confident and my helmet gives me the confidence I need to compete at the highest level. I'm tough because I wear my Troxel helmet and I hope to inspire others to be tough too.