Champion barrel racer makes fashion statement for safety

SAN ANTONIO – There is one event in rodeo for women: barrel racing. 

Fallon Taylor, from Collinsville, just northeast of Dallas, won the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas last year for her first championship.

Taylor is known for her riding and her wardrobe.

"I would say I am a little eccentric, maybe a scosche flamboyant, and I pride myself in giving an electric performance," Taylor said.

She is also known for an addition to that wardrobe: a safety helmet.

Taylor was in accident in 2009 while she was training a horse. Something spooked the animal, she said, and he started bucking and eventually bucked her off, causing some serious injuries.

"(I) had a four-place skull fracture and broke all the bones on (the) side of my face," Taylor said.

She still suffers from migraines and short-term memory loss. She has had to make adjustments to continue her career, including putting down the cowboy hat and putting on a helmet.

"I love to wear my cowboys hats. I don't want to take any tradition out of the spurs. However, I do want to protect myself," Taylor said.

She actually won the NFR last year wearing a helmet. She decided to put it on in the third round and now she wears it during every competition and even riding at home. She wants to protect herself and promote safety for young riders.

"I don't swing my leg over a horse without a helmet on," Taylor said.

Taylor has taken a few hits on social media for wearing the helmet and says her next project will be to help kids deal with cyber bullies when it comes to wearing the safety gear.

She is also taking advantage of the wardrobe addition. She has about 60 different helmets to go with all her and her horse's outfits.

"If I can use a little flamboyant nature to bring that into light and make it really cool, then I am going to," Taylor said.

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