Photo by Mike Copeman. Kendra with Trevor Brazile at the 2008 NFR when Brazile became the first cowboy to cross $3 million in career earnings.
Kendra Santos’ family is four generations deep in ranch and rodeo cowboys—and cowgirls. She grew up in the arena with her dad and brothers, and rodeoed her way through college at Cal Poly, where she graduated with her bachelor’s degree in journalism, followed by her MBA.
The “lucky break of her life” came about 10 minutes after crossing the stage for her last diploma. “Bob Tallman, ProRodeo Hall of Fame announcer, had told the PRCA powers that “there was this girl in California from a rodeo family who’d be perfect.” I took that job with the PRCA, and to this day have never applied for one. It’s wild, but it’s true—my career came to me.”
Throughout her career, Kendra has seen the highest highs and lowest lows of the sport. She was there when Ty Murray broke Larry Mahan’s all-around record, and then the day Trevor Brazile broke Ty’s record. She has experienced every emotion in life along the way. “Stepping out onto that National Finals Rodeo dirt to interview Lane Frost while he was still breathless from riding his last bull at the 1987 NFR and “plumb tickled” to win his first gold buckle was a huge thrill. Being there the July 1989 day when he died in the arena at Cheyenne—seeing Tuff (Hedeman) jump into the back of that ambulance with him and putting my hand on Lane’s chest in that coffin while saying one last goodbye—broke my heart.”
“Rodeo people are my people, and the way my career combines my love of cowboy life and telling the stories of cowboy people has been the result of one lucky break and blessing after another. I have had every great gig in my line of work—inside our industry and also delivering our cowboy sport via mainstream media. But my greatest job and joy in life is being Lane and Taylor’s mom.”