Ty passed away after a long battle with ovarian and other cancers during the evening of July 8, 2012
Taryn "Ty" Teigen
Ty's love affair with rodeo, specifically horses, began at the tender age of 2. Born in Kimball, NE, the family moved to Scottsbluff, NE when she was 3. Starting on her mother's Palomino mare "Fleet", Ty rode many different horses through the years. Her dad would bring home horses to try, some of them barely broke, and they would be "figured out" by Ty along with her sister Tracy & brother Todd. By the age of 8, she had moved through the saddle clubs & horse shows into Little Britches Rodeo. Here she found an outlet to combine her love of horses & competitive spirit, excelling in roping, goat tying & pole bending. During these years she competed on "Wise Robin", aka "Robby", a horse that still holds a special place in her heart. She even found time to compete in the rodeo princess contest, skills she would later draw on the win the coveted CGRA Snow Queen contest.
Ty's love of horses & rodeo stayed with her into adulthood, joining CGRA in 1995. Always willing to help teach folks how to rope & offer a suggestion but most always in the background. For several years she competed only at the rodeos in Colorado. That was before the arrival of a beautiful brown pony, "Show Me Roan", aka "Hershey". Ty found "Hershey" on a trip to visit her Dad over Father's Day in 1999 and she fell in love with the green-broke stud colt. Doing most all the training herself, it didn't take long to realize she had something really special. This soft spoken, sometimes shy cowgirl was about to blossom into one of the toughest & talented Cowgirls on the IGRA Circuit. In 2002, she loaded up with a friend & headed off to her first out of state rodeo on the IGRA Circuit. Since then Ty has been a top competitor at most every rodeo she attends and holds several IGRA Finals Championships. She won the first of many All-Around Cowgirl Titles in 2003 at the Calgary Rodeo, with her proud Dad in the stands.
Ty often speaks of the gift of the IGRA "Family" in her life and she has responded with hard work in many different areas. She has served on the CGRA Board of Directors as Metro Outreach Chair, Rodeo Events Chair, Membership Chair, & two terms as President. She was instrumental in the formation of the CGRA Rocky Mountain Challenge Barrel Race held in conjunction with RMRR. Her skills have also been utilized on the International level, serving as IGRA Contestant Liaison, an IGRA University instructor and Rodeo Rules Co-Chair.
Recently Ty has inspired us with more than just her hard work & talents in the rodeo arena. After being diagnosed with Ovarian cancer, Ty has shown incredible courage & determination, not only in battling the disease, but in continuing to live her life to the fullest. With Janie by her side, Ty has continued to compete in rodeos & support educational & fundraising events. Her "get'er done" attitude in the face of such adversity is an incredible inspiration to all of those who know & love her.
From the July 2002 issue of Diverse City magazine
Ty Teigen has been riding horses since she was two years old.
A software engineering manager at JD Edwards, Teigen has been involved with gay rodeo for seven years. But she is no stranger to the western way of life. "I'm kind of the oddball of the group," she says. "I started rodeoing when I was eight years old. I grew up doing that. My family got into horses when I was little...junior rodeo, I did that from when I was eight until I was 18."
It was after she turned eighteen that a number of circumstances took Teigen away from the rodeo for 12 years.
"My parents got a divorce and sold everything, and that's ahout the time that I came out. I didn't see a way for it (being gay and being in rodeo) to work together so I gave it up. Traditipnal rodeo is so heterosexual and homophobic. So I gave it up and moved to Denver."
Although she says that her decision to quite rodeo was based more on her parent's divorce and the selling of the family ranch then traditional rodeo's bigotry, it was a decision nonetheless that was filled with regret.
"There wasn't a day in my life that I didn't miss it. Once you've got horse fever it never goes away."
It was when Teigen was living in Denver that rodeo unexpectedly came back into her life.
"I met two girls who were involved in the rodeo and I started hanging out with them because they have horses and they train and have their own facility," she says. "They (let) me ride their horses. And they brought me to my first gay rodeo in Denver, and they said 'here, ride. our horse,' and they let me get back involved and it was really nice. And then a year later I graduated from college and bought my own horse."
That was eight years ago. And she has been rodeoing ever since. This is the first year Teigen has traveled on the circuit. And she plans to compete in five rodeos including Denver-and hopefully finals.
Teigen says she is proud of the way gay rodeo has evolved over time.
"Gay rodeo has done a really good job and improved over the seven years that I have been involved. The level of skill has increased so much. I see an awful lot of people in the gay rodeo who can win straight rodeo-absolutely."
She says she wants those who attend the rodeo to see gay rodeo for what it really is:
"What I want them to mostly see is that it's fun and to enjoy it. The partnership between the horse and the rider is something that I think is amazing and that's what draws me in."
It is this partnership that really draws her to rodeo.
"I have a thousand-pound animal that trusts me completely. We are friends. Horses have personalities like dogs and cats-they're all individuals. Different horses match or don't match your personality. The one that I have now absolutely matches my personality better than any horse I've ever known. We totally get each other. It's just cool. When you're out there and you lift your hand and move your leg and the horse responds and does exactly what you ask it to do at a high rate of speed-the trust is not only the horse trusting you that you're not going to put them in a situation where they're going to get hurt, but also you trust that animal to go at a really high rate of speed and that you're not going to fall down and you're not going to get hurt."
Teigen has had a lot of memorable rodeo experiences over the years. But her highest achievement came just a year ago at the Denver rodeo when she won the belt buckle for breakaway calf roping.
"That is by far and away my favorite event. I love to rope more than anything," she says. "When I was a kid I used to do that a lot. And I had been struggling with finding a horse that was good to rope on and follow cows, and my horse just worked really well for me-better than he should have because he's never been trained really well because I don't have access to cows. It just meant a lot to me, more than anything else at that point. And to have done it here in Denver in front of my friends was extra special.
"But to me just being at a rodeo-every bit of it is good. There are no bad moments. It's like being a teen-ager again."