Words: Laura Stewart
Driving the 126 highway through Powell Butte, a cattle ranch appears with a small wooden sign reading Two Bucks Rodeo. Set back from the road lies an open field dotted with barns and houses. A young woman stands in her blue jeans, long brown hair and thick brown jacket; her feet firmly planted on the muddy ground. Lindsy Houston is the main caretaker of her family: a family of bucking rodeo bulls.
Lindsy grew up with parents who always encouraged her to chase her passions. She spent most of her childhood around rodeos and her family’s Angus cows. Lindsy and her twin sister, Kyley, wanted to redefine the stereotypical male-owned rodeo bull industry. So, during high school, they bought two bulls and joined Oregon FFA. Lindsy won local competitions and placed third nationally with her bucking bull project. Meanwhile receiving Grand and Reserve Grand Champion ribbons, Lindsy excitedly expanded Two Bucks Rodeo, breeding competitive bucking bulls.
Rodeo men looked at Lindsy raising rodeo bulls as slightly comical and unrealistic, but Lindsy silenced their snickering when her bulls started to show up strong at bull-riding events across the Northwest. Lindsy brought her first few bulls to rodeos, and continued to grow her herd as she found success such as placing second in the yearling bull competition in Oregon and Colorado.
During one of Lindsy’s long days working with the bulls, she opened a gate to let a bull into the nearby pen. As she turned around, she was hit squarely in the chest. “He tossed me up, up, up in the air,” says Lindsy. “He kicked me in the head. He threw me over the tall gates and into the other pen. I literally looked like a rag doll.”
Lindsy suffered a severe concussion but no broken bones. Although she is more cautious approaching bulls nowadays, she didn’t allow this life-threatening moment to become an obstacle in her path towards success.
Over the years, her tenacious spirit kept on shining as she raised bulls and competed to win. “In the beginning, we were in a guy dominated world,” says Lindsy. “The guys said we were just girls and came there to meet guys. Pretty much pushing us out.”
Nowadays, Lindsy has earned respect in the rodeo world. “I’m just another “guy” to them now,” says Lindsy.
Although raising bulls takes hours of daily dedication, Lindsy feels complete when she’s working with her bulls. Breeding bulls is more than a hobby or a lifestyle for Lindsy, her face just lights up when she talks about her work.
“When you love it, it’s not really a job,” says Lindsy.
The bulls are like family to Lindsy. One of Lindsy’s first bulls, Redwater, lived to be thirty-two years old. Every year on his birthday, Lindsy would take photos with Red Water. The portraits now hang on her living room wall.
“Just like your kids, each one has their own personality,” says Lindsy. “I get attached. There’s always some little thing about each that I like.”
Her parents, husband, Mike, and son, Emmet, share in her love for bulls, but her mother shares an extra spark of affection. Lindsy’s mother drives a large tractor and works the ranch—peering from her tractor over the heads of bulls. “That’s my mom,” says Lindsy, pointing to a photo. “That’s the woman behind it all. She is the rock here.”
“A motto I’ve always lived by is to learn, lead, and succeed,” says Lindsy. “You learn every day. You lead because people are looking at you. I think we’ve already succeeded. We’ve been a lot of places and done a lot of things, but there is always room for improving.”
Lindsy went from winning ribbons for her FFA project in high school to receiving 50 awards from Professional Bull Riders (PBR), Professional Rough Stock, Northwest Pro Rodeo Association, and Challenge of Champions. She is also a member of Oregon Cattlewomen.
Lindsy’s eyes glisten when she talks about her dream of taking one of her “kids” to the PBR world finals. “What we’re doing now, I love it, but to make it to the PBR world finals with a bull we’ve raised would be the ultimate heaven,” says Lindsy.
Until then, she wakes up every morning to the quiet countryside, feels the chill of the morning dew, and looks out over the field where her family of bulls rest. Another day begins.