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Not Your Average Rodeo Riders

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To get to the riding and flag waving, it takes a whole lot of work.

"They don't realize all the behind the scenes work that goes into it, and how difficult it is," said Catalena Cowgirl Jennifer Duhon. "You can imagine 20 girls being together this long for this much time, it takes a real special individual to get in there and make it work."

For the Catalena Cowgirls, it's not a living, it's a passion. They make no money off their riding and flag waving. Attending 40 to 50 shows a year comes out of pocket. The effort they put in comes out of heart.

"We wash them. We saddle. We don't have anyone that does that for us. There's a lot of work to it," said another cowgirl, Joanna Spencer. She and Duhon are two of the veterans with the group.

"It's about getting off work on a Thursday afternoon to get to wherever that rodeo is, get there in time to wash all 20 horses, and that's an event in and of itself," Duhon said.

From humble beginnings as flag bearers, the girls have become renown nationwide, all based out of Bryan.

"A lot of what we do is a tribute to America or to Texas," Spencer said. "It just makes them proud. It makes them feel something they don't feel on a normal basis."

It's patriotic and inspiring, especially, they hope, for the girls.

"The sport of rodeo is a male-dominated sport," Duhon said. "Normally girls that get involved with horses do things like show in the arena, but it doesn't get the adrenaline pumping quite like something like this does.

"We affectionately call it our travelling circus," Duhon continued. "It's a huge family. We all get along very well because we have to."

"We love what we do," said Spencer. "We love the horses, and we love the crowd."

And while they may not see all the work it takes, the crowd still loves them back.