PHOTOGRAPHY BY BOONE THOMPSON
Being the horse girl that I am (and a huge fan of Yellowstone), I am very excited about the Franklin Rodeo returning this month! After two years of not taking place - cowboys and cowgirls, broncos and bulls, and the thrill of the ride - will embrace Williamson County again.
Kicking off the rodeo events each night is the flag presentation on horseback. The flag girls gallop around the arena carrying sponsor flags and signifying that the nightly events have commenced. These cowgirls are a staple to the Franklin Rodeo. I recently had a chance to learn more from Linsey Kincaid, who helps head up the group of talented riders along with her partner, Marlee Stephens.
“Being a part of the Franklin Rodeo is a blessing. We enjoy being involved in the Franklin Rodeo because we know that there are little girls out there that look up to the flag girls and dream of being a cowgirl,” says Linsey. “We try to emphasize to all the girls how important this role can be. To put together a group of cowgirls for little girls to look up to is very rewarding to us. It is also important to recognize all of the wonderful sponsors of the Franklin Rodeo, and the flag girls are able to assist in showing thanks to all of those sponsors.”
To be a flag girl, one must have excellent horsemanship skills. “It takes skill and knowledge for it to run smoothly behind the scenes, as well as in the arena in front of a huge crowd,” explains Linsey. “The girls are carefully picked so that we know the girls can handle the task of being a part of such a big show. The girls must qualify to be a part of the rodeo.”
Almost all the flag girls also rodeo and compete in competitions too. “They compete in High School Rodeos, IPRA rodeos, Jr High Rodeos, STAR Rodeos, barrel races, roping competitions and more. Almost all of them have grown up with horses,” says Linsey. And, when it comes to the horses, you can imagine that it takes a well-trained horse to do the flag presentation. “Not just any horse can handle the Franklin Rodeo crowd,” Linsey says. “It’s a huge show with lots of noise and most horses are very scared of that.”
“The sport of rodeo and the western way of life is patriotic, and we aren’t afraid to put God first,” says Linsey. “Women in rodeo represent hard work, morals, respect, responsibility and toughness. We learn that when you fall, you get back up. We are strong God-fearing women, and rodeo represents this very well now.”
Learn more about the Franklin Rodeo, nightly events, competitions, vendors and get your tickets at franklinrodeo.com. And, go cheer on the flag girls!
2022 Franklin Rodeo Flag Girls
Kaitlyn Abbott, Mary Beth Brennan, Jayden Gossett, Kayla Hipp, Gracie Long, Bailey Kremling, Grace Magee, Macie Minor, Maggie Minor (Tennessee High School Rodeo Queen 2022), Karli Pieropan, Mattie Pinkerton, Valerie Preston (Miss Rodeo Tennessee 2022), Brooke Smith (Star Rodeo Queen 2022)