Fallon Taylor, the self-described “unicorn-obsessed, tie-dye wearing, outspoken, helmet chick that is trying to change the world for the better one person at a time,” is more than meets the eye. Her roller-coaster life-story, which reads like a made-for-TV movie, has catapulted her image and following to the front echelon of rodeo’s most famous celebrities. And it is very well deserved.
Fallon was the youngest competitor ever to qualify for the National Finals Rodeo when she was 13, then went on to qualify the next three years, establishing her controversial position as one who bucked the trends and traditions. Dropping the winning streak of her own accord, the ambitious and outspoken go-getter set out for New York City to pursue a full-time career in modeling, something she did successfully for 10 years. After that, it was on to Los Angeles to try her hand at acting, landing roles in several popular TV shows and movies.
Returning to Texas, Fallon met tragedy head-on when she was bucked off a horse during a late-night training session and suffered a nearly fatal head injury. Overcoming what she was told was a 2 percent chance of ever walking again proved to be the catalyst that set her back on the path to professional barrel racing, and qualifying for the NFR in 2013.
In 2014 she qualified again, this time cinching the world championship and further cementing her image as the most flamboyant barrel racer the sport has ever seen.
With her equally famous horse, Babyflo, Taylor has turned her celebrity into a booming business and online enterprise. She has her own apparel, cosmetics, and fitness lines, as well as a barrel-racing college, where she trains and instructs students from all over the world. She is the oft-outspoken advocate for a line of custom designed safety helmets for the Troxel brand, and has close to a half-million social media followers who love her outlandish fashion choices and colorful insights into her personal life on the road.
But the past two years hasn’t always been peaches and cream for the heroic leader of social media followers, affectionately dubbed, Flomies.
In 2015, Fallon’s marriage to professional football player, Ottawa Redblacks kicker Delbert Alvarado, began to unravel and ended in divorce. “I feel like when I was at the NFR (2015), I was cheated on,” says Fallon. “Obviously you go through something that devastating and it just wears on your body. It wears on you mentally. It wears on you physically and you’re distracted.”
People who are used to seeing Fallon in her tie-dyed attire and red-streaked hair might have noticed a different Fallon of late. COWGIRL caught up with the busy entrepreneur and barrel racing phenom in Las Vegas during the 2017 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and asked her about our perceived new groove.
COWGIRL: In the past year or so we have seen a different Fallon Taylor than we are used to. Has something changed?
Fallon Taylor: Every single stage of my life, there’s been change. After my divorce, I went through 2016 and most of 2017 focusing on how I could help other people. Because it’s this self-medication—to go in and take people that are going through something and you can actually help put them back together. Part of it puts you back together.
CG: Your look has changed. What are you doing different?
Fallon: Predictable is so boring. So if you assume that I’m going to be there in full tie-dye, I’m already bored before I leave the house. I took the red out of my hair and decided to go for something more classic. I’m always influenced by a lot of things in pop culture. I love the music industry and I see Nicki Minaj going from wearing blue wigs and green hair and a bow and these costume-y type things, transitioning into something really classic and timeless for her. I was like, “I think that would be a really cool direction for me to go.”
If you think you know me and you think you’ve seen all of me, you’re wrong. I want to show you something different.
CG: There are a lot of young people that are enamored with you. They follow you, they dress like you, they look like you. So you threw them a curveball. Are they changing too?
Fallon: I think they see that I’m just digging deeper to make changes. My mom told me when I was a little kid that an icon is someone you can dress up as at Halloween. So I always wanted that. I was like, “that’s when you’ve become an icon.” And I want to embed something in this next generation of expressing yourself in all these different ways. Whether you’re red, purple, black, blue, gay, or straight. It doesn’t matter.
I think the young people, what they see is just an energy and a hope and someone who’s accomplishing big goals and willing to help them through it. And I think any phase I go through—I call them Flomies—I think Flomies are gonna stick with me.
CG: You’ve been getting a lot of exposure with your YouTube video blogs. How did that come about, and where is it going?
Fallon: YouTube is the coolest thing I’ve done lately. How cool is it to go back to my roots, which I started as this broke chick teaching people how to run barrels? And now to go back with my friends that are videographers and editors to show people what’s actually going on.
To show what happens during the downtime, we’re just real people doing really cool things. The editing and the filming is absolutely exhausting. And every time I pick up my camera I tell myself, ‘pretend it’s Snapchat. pretend it’s Snapchat.’
CG: You didn’t make the NFR in 2017, but obviously you were out there doing your thing. What was 2017 like for you?
Fallon: 2017 competition was, I think, amazing. I entered 20 rodeos and I was in the top 52 in the world. I won Fort Worth. I’ve never won that rodeo before. I went into 2017 with a plan. I looked at it from a business perspective. And was like, the numbers don’t make sense for me with all I’ve been through to not actually go do some clinics, really focus on my business and rebuild the foundation. It costs a lot of money to go up and down the road before you ever leave home. Win, lose, or draw you’re guaranteed nothing.
So getting home, taking care of my fans, my business. Getting everything in line. Every single person that I try to inspire, I ask them why they’re doing it. If you don’t have a solid “why,” you will quit and you will fail. And my why was I wanted to be in the top 50. I wanted to build a really great business. I wanted to inspire more people in the industry. I wanted to contribute to more charity events and be the highest contributing barrel racer in the sport. And I think I was. I wanted to just do those big giant things and rebuild and start over.
And my “why” for 2018 is now strong. If I don’t know why I’m leaving the house, it’s really hard to stay on the road for seven months without friends, family, loved ones, dogs, cats, everything. It begins to be a mental drain. And I’ve been through enough. So I wanted to just rebuild, make it concrete. Now I’m ready to actually take off.
CG: How is 2018 shaping up for you now?
Fallon: I’m in the top 30 in the world right now. It feels really good. I will continue to do some clinics for the year, but my main focus, my why, is to come back as a competitor in 2018 for the WNFR.
CG: You have businesses. You have a website. You’re selling products. You’re endorsing helmets. How’s all that going?
Fallon: It’s been amazing. At first, as a competitor, you start out as an endorsee. So you learn a lot of things about behind-the-scenes business. And I’m still endorsed by a lot of companies that I really believe in. And I’m at a really great place where when I run down the alleyway, I don’t have to think about that run contributing to my financial success. I’m able to be clear-minded and accomplish the goal at hand.
My businesses have done amazingly well. I’ve got a cosmetics line and a jeans line. I’ve got a fitness apparel line, and I also do virtual coaching for people in fitness or in barrel racing. So all of these different ways that I’ve branched out have been amazing. I’ve got a team of girlfriends that helped me from day one. So they rode in the bus, now they get to ride in the limo. And that’s really awesome, because they’re able to see this whole thing grow.
And I think that’s what’s made YouTube so special for me. Because there have been people that have gotten to see it grow. And they’ve seen me come from borrowed trucks and trailers, not able to pay my entry fees to actually enjoying a little bit of the good life where I’m able to actually give back to my parents and give back to my friends. That’s something that should inspire everyone, and I love showing it all.
Photography and interview by Ken Amorosano.
Location provided by South Point Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas.
Wardrobe provided by Pinto Ranch, Las Vegas.