Driving south from Weatherford, I wend through the region’s renowned horse country, dotted with manicured ranch homes and grazing horses, to my destination: Taylor and Nicole Sheridan’s 600-plus acre Bosque Ranch, nestled along the Brazos River. Here, in an expansive enclosed arena, the 12-day Brazos Bash NCHA Cutting competition is underway, featuring many of the top names in cutting, competing for a $500,000-plus added money purse.
My subjects aren’t the contestants—or even Taylor himself. I’m here to interview his wife Nicole Sheridan, the Utah-born, lifelong cowgirl who is putting her own unique brand on the Texas landscape.
The impressive, air-conditioned arena at Silverado on the Brazos boasts a set of stairs that lead to a sprawling patio with yellow-stoned tabletops, chunky handmade wooden benches, and seating areas where spectators and guests can watch the competition on monitors outdoors. Step inside to enter Nic’s Bar, appropriately paying homage to its new female owner. The glass-enclosed viewing area is complete with a restaurant and rustic seating areas, backed by the ever-so-popular bar. Designed by the Sheridans to represent their own personal brand, the bar itself stands out with bright neon signage of their successful television ventures crowned by the eponymous neon title sign, Nic’s.
A Beehive Of Activity
Nicole works with photographer Emerson Miller in the pastures on her Bosque Ranch.
Nic’s Bar bustled with activity that weekend. In addition to the competitors and their families mingling about the space to relax, eat, and watch fellow competitors in their respective divisions, Nic’s Bar served as a gathering point for the Sheridans, their guests and the film crew crafting episodes of the new Yellowstone prequel, Y: 1883, on locations nearby.
My interview and the cover shoot were scheduled for later that afternoon. Our plan was to frame stunning imagery of Nicole against the backdrop of the setting sun over Bosque Ranch.
As the competitors amble by, an unassuming cowboy stops by to introduce himself as Taylor Sheridan. He welcomes me to the ranch and in a bit, Nicole joins us.
For the COWGIRL cover shoot, Nicole had selected a white vintage 1883-inspired dress provided by the Y: 1883 costume designer, Janie Bryant, and topped with one of Nicole’s many personal and stylish hats.
Her warm welcome was reassuring as she introduced me to some of the crew from Y: 1883 who were there to help with the photoshoot. I felt a hand tap my shoulder and to my delight, I turn to see that it’s Y: 1883 lead actress Faith Hill, who’s come to say hello along with her husband and co-star Tim McGraw.
Nicole Sheridan is worldly. She is poised and polite and possesses a wicked sense of humor, but rest assured, she is all modern cowgirl, exulting in the Western way of life with her 11-year-old son, Gus, and her husband as they navigate the nuances of their new Texas ranch.
Nicole and her son, Gus, on a successful fishing expedition. Photo courtesy of the Sheridans.
A Child of the American West
Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, Nicole’s parents were blue-collar workers who instilled in Nicole and her younger brother to be, above all, kind.
Growing up, Nicole considered herself a tomboy, playing high school basketball and riding horses for “hours and hours” throughout the mountains on her grandparents’ ranch near Jackson, Wyoming.
From an early age, it was obvious Nicole was destined for a career in the public eye. With simmering greens eyes she got from her blonde-haired, green-eyed German mother and dark exotic features from her father’s Mexican/Lebanese heritage, Nicole was born with the features and physical stature that would eventually thrust her in front of the world’s top fashion photographers.
It would be easy to speculate that Nicole would eventually be discovered while out in public, and you would be correct. While shopping with her mom in a local mall, she was approached by an agent from the renowned modelling agency, NEXT, and given the opportunity of a lifetime.
“I was very much a tomboy,” Nicole recalls. “I never wanted to brush my hair. I was always in the dirt. Just super tomboy. And I was like, I don’t know, maybe.” With some convincing from her mom, who herself was a Miss America runner-up, Nicole seized the opportunity and entered the jet-setting world of an international model that earned her success and independence from her early teens and well into her twenties.
Traveling throughout Europe, Nicole would grace the covers of Vogue, Marie Claire, and many other top fashion magazines. She worked in Paris and would move to Italy and live in Milan, enjoying the rich rewards her lucrative career offered.
Along the way, independence was the thing most important to Nicole. She saved her earnings, always maintaining her freedom to move on under her own terms if, and when, she felt it was necessary. She also used her time in these international destinations to visit many of Europe’s great museums, while immersing herself in the local culture.
Nicole and Sweetie at a cutting competition. Photo courtesy of the Sheridans.
Spending time in Los Angeles, Milan, and for a stint in Miami, Nicole eventually ended up back in Los Angeles while she wound down her successful modeling career. Still in her early 20s, she pursued work opportunities in Hollywood.
With her strong agency connection and success as a model, Nicole tried her hand at acting, landing roles in movies such as The Human Contract as well as the TV shows Dark Blue and How I Met Your Mother.
It was while pursuing opportunities in television and film that she met her future husband, actor and writer/producer, Taylor Sheridan, who at the time was just earning his chops as an actor, appearing in the series Sons of Anarchy and coaching actors on the side.
It was through his coaching that Nicole met Taylor, and they began dating. Before long the couple were inseparable, moving into a flat in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley where they welcomed the birth of their son, Gus.
Initially, times were tough with the couple struggling to make ends meet, but those hard times were short-lived when Taylor got several big breaks as a screenwriter.
“At the time it was like ‘let’s just make enough to pay a mortgage or rent or food.’ We were literally starving,” Nicole recalls. “That’s when Taylor started writing, and two years later, we were at the Oscars … I still can’t believe it.”
First was the screenplay for the feature film, Sicario, starring Emily Blunt, Benicio del Toro, and Josh Brolin. Shortly after, Taylor wrote the script for Hell or High Water. The independent film, starring Jeff Bridges, became a box-office hit and earned Taylor an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
Yearning to get out of the city and with their newfound success, the Sheridans and their young son moved to Park City, Utah, closer to the rural elements and wilderness environment they so much desired.
At the time, they were reaping the rewards of Taylor’s writing efforts and the phenomenal results of his epic series Yellowstone, but they were not finished moving.
“We were living in Park City, and Taylor really didn’t like the snow,” says Nicole. “So, he rolled over one morning and said, ‘Honey, we’re getting the hell out of here,’ and I’m like ‘Where are we going?’ ‘We’re going to go to Texas,’ he replied.”
“We actually bought the house before I’d ever seen it,” Nicole remembers. “With the hectic schedule of Yellowstone, he was like, ‘Maybe we should go see the house.’ So, I flew there on a weekend, and I loved it.”
Since moving to Texas, the Sheridans have accumulated more than 100 horses, many in training for the reining and cutting sports both Nicole and Taylor love and participate in. Nicole mainly focuses on two, her cutting horse mare Sweetie and her 5-year-old, Simba. Her first cutter, Red, is now retired. Of her 5-year-old Simba, she says, “We get really good and then the wheels fall off … I get very humbled by riding.”
Left: Nicole, with her husband Taylor, is all smiles after winning her cutting division at the 2020 Careity Foundation Celebrity Cutting Event. Right: Taylor plants one on Nicole during a cutting event.
Nicole is an avid cutter. She is most excited talking about the Careity Cancer Charity she and Taylor support. In December of 2020, she and Sweetie won the charity’s cutting horse competition in Fort Worth. The event benefitted the Careity Foundation, a nonprofit that helps cancer patients who are struggling financially to get through the treatment process.
“My mare Sweetie and I won our first buckle,” says Nicole. “That was a special night. My grandma passed away of cancer. I was so proud to have won it for someone I loved.”
Bosque Ranch Boss
Short of a brief cameo in Yellowstone, Nicole’s role at Bosque Ranch is independent. She is a wife and mother and directs the operations of an expanding working ranch where she hosts many guests, pursues her passion for cutting and horses, and supports her husband, who is perhaps one of the busiest men in the motion picture business.
Nicole sits on the board of the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame and donates her free time to charity and several elderly care institutions.
Clockwise from top left: Spectators in Nic’s Bar overlooking the Brazos Bash Cutting competitions; the neon Yellowstone brand; neon logo of the Sheridan brands topped by Nic’s in Nic’s Bar; yellow-stoned tables adorn the outdoor patio just outside the arena.
As for hobbies outside her passion for cutting horses, Nicole says she loves cigars, with the Cuban Monte Cristo No. 2 being her favorite and she is a huge Broncos fan. She also loves to fish but “hasn’t quite figured out Texas fishing.”
For working out and staying fit, she loves to box, donning the gloves and working with a trainer. She has her own heavy bag and claims to be fast on the speed bag.
I love Texas,” she says. “It took me a minute to figure it out, but I’ve made great friends. We have 12 dogs, some chickens, and cats because I love to rescue. It’s nice to have the space to do that.”
“And my son, Gus, loves it here. He’s never on his phone. He’s never on his X-Box. He’s always outside with the dogs, fishing with his buds, or roller-skating in the barn. He also ropes, so he’s often on horseback. He’s just always doing something.”
“It’s fun seeing my husband have his own brand,” Nicole says. “He comes from here. Between the horses and the TV side of things, I don’t know where it’s going to go, but it’s always a roller coaster going somewhere fast.”
Photographed exclusively for COWGIRL by Emerson Miller.
Stylist: Janie Bryant
Assistant Stylist: Rocio Ramirez
Makeup: Greg Moon
Hair: Tim Muir
Location: Bosque Ranch
Fringe Skirt: Intermix, intermixonline.com; Fringe Vest: Chad Isham Leather Vintage, chadisham.com; Boots: Isabel Marant, isabelmarant.com; Jewelry: Resale Secret Hudson Oak, theresalesecret.com; Hat: Lone Hawk Hats, lonehawkhats.com. Dress: Janie Bryant’s personal dress, Hat: O’Farrell Hat Company, ofarrellhatco.com; Neckerchief: Vintage Cotton Print, Boots: YSL, ysl.com/en-us.