Meet the Member Sharon Mendell

by Rodeo News

story by Lindsay King

Growing up on the back of a horse is the typical rodeo path, for Sharon Mendell from Talala, Oklahoma, the announcers stand was and is her playground. “I grew up in rodeo because my parents did but they had a stock contracting business for 49 years. That is all I ever really knew,” Sharon said. From 1955 to 2004, Willie and Minnie, her parents, ran the Mendell Rodeo Company full time. “When they first started, both of my parents also had jobs in town. But the last 20 years of the business they made a living doing it.” Sharon and her brothers, Curt and Paul, spent a lot of time with their grandparents until they were old enough to go to the rodeos and help their parents.
Sharon never really competed but Curt steer wrestled and Paul roped calves. “My dad used to ride bulls but quit when he started the company since it would be odd to ride at your own rodeo. People thought my brother competing in our rodeo meant he got a leg up but it probably was more of the opposite really.” Sharon grew up helping her mom time and keep the books for their rodeos, something she has yet to quit doing.
“I am just a secretary and timer with an ACRA card. I periodically work for five different contractors on the weekends.” As a secretary the work begins long before pulling into the arena. “My phone rings constantly the week leading up to a rodeo. I hand write everything still but I do have a computer program that helps me figure out the payout once I have everyone entered and draws made.” Sharon has worked at the local electrical coop for the past 24 years, and continues to use most of her vacation time to attend two or three rodeos each month. But she would not have it any other way. “This is something I was born into like most other rodeo people. It got into my blood and has never left.”
As a contractor, Willie owned all of his livestock, including: roping calves and steers, bucking horses and bulls. He even raised some of his own bulls. “I have always had something outside to feed, without those livestock I think I would be lost. I can remember loading everything up and getting to the rodeo a day early so the animals would be well taken care of. We had, and still do, a lot of pride in our animals.”
Sharon now has 10 bucking bulls of her own, ranging from yearlings to five and six years old. “I live in the house where I grew up so I am trying to progressively fix everything as it deteriorates so it looks like I always remembered it growing up.” Sharon takes some of her bulls to futurities. “There is a lot of competition out there. It is fun to enter a bull but if you do you better have something pretty good to keep up with the competition.” Her brother also keeps some bulls on hand but he takes them to buck in the PBR.
The ACRA finals rodeo secretary once before, Sharon is honored that she got to go back this year for it. “The ACRA is great because they are not too small but also not too big. Since the rodeos are more centrally located in my area, I don’t have to travel as far either.” Week after week, Sharon sees the same contestants making her extended family in rodeo continusly grow. “I grew up with a lot of the contestants’ parents riding and roping in the ACRA, now their kids are competing. It is neat to see some people who are my age still competing, it is like spending every weekend with my family.”

© Rodeo Life Media Corporation | All Rights Reserved • Laramie, Wyoming • 307.761.9053

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