'Saddle Bronc Girl' is the name of Ian Tyson's song written about Chilliwack's own Kaila Mussell.

Ian Tyson song about Chilliwack bronc rider

Lone woman riding bronc on the pro circuit, Tyson’s new song, Saddle Bronc Girl, is an ode to Kaila Mussell's uniqueness and strength.



Bronc rider Kaila Mussell has been immortalized in song by Canadian songwriting legend Ian Tyson.

As the only female to ride broncs in the professional rodeo circuit in North America, Tyson’s new song, Saddle Bronc Girl, is an ode to her uniqueness and strength.

Here are some of the lyrics: “She’s a saddle bronc girl/ She is one of a kind/ Drives a beat-up chevy hatchback/ and it moves her down the line/

“Big bronc awaitin’ in a town just up ahead/ Better hold on tight/ Get tapped off just right/ Saddle Bronc Girl.”

Tyson is coming to the Chilliwack Cultural Centre Nov. 14 for one memorable performance.

“I consider it a big honour that he’s written about me,” Mussell tells The Progress. “It’s a little

surreal.”

She says that Tyson managed to encapsulate her life quite well, especially since they only met for one afternoon in Kamloops a few months ago.

“He said it was the furthest he’d ever driven to write a song about someone,” she says.

Tyson, in his late 70s now, lives on a ranch in Alberta and he travelled from there to meet her in May. Kaila’s mom, Cindy Mussell is friends with a mutual friend of Tyson’s, and it was through her that the Saddle Bronc Girl song came about.

“He was really down-to-earth,” Mussell says of meeting Tyson in person. “We talked and found out we’re from quite similar backgrounds.

She grew up in Chilliwack on the Skwah reserve as part of a family for whom rodeoing is a way of life. She spent about five years in Texas, before returning home to Chilliwack a couple of years ago.

Tyson’s prodigious music career started in the 1950s with Ian & Sylvia, and has flourished through the years, to his more recent albums like Songs from the Stone House from 2011.

“Ian used to work on a ranch in Harrison Mills and we’ve been to the same rodeos through the years, and know some of the same people.”

They talked about her early years of rodeo competition in Canada, followed by her break into the Pro Rodeo circuit in the U.S., and even touched on her injuries like dislocating her shoulder, undergoing surgery, and then re-injuring the same shoulder.

The 33-year-old is at a crossroads of sorts, deciding which way to head in the future.

“The song couldn’t have come out at a better time,” Mussell says.

One of the lines from the song seems to echo this reality: “Hey Kaila! Hey Kaila, whatcha gonna do?/ How far are you gonna go to make the dream come true?”

The song has only been out a few weeks. The video can be viewed at http://youtube/Xv6TK_0aRjE.

“But anyone who’s heard it who knows me really well, it makes them tear up,” says Mussell.

She found it pretty meaningful, “especially the line about travelling the rodeo road and choosing the warriors’ way,” which is a reference to her Sto:lo ancestry.

Mussell has been through the wringer with professional rodeo in some ways, trying to come back after a series of injuries.

“I’ve been through a lot with my sport and it’s been challenging,” she admits.

Most people would be surprised to discover she’s had to bankroll her own career since joining the professional circuit in 2003, without the financial backing that some rodeo stars enjoy.

“Realistically it’s like an expensive hobby,” she says.

Her time at home has been good for personal reflection and physical recovery, and she has been mulling over whether to put “a cap” on her 11-year career or keep going.

In the meantime, Mussell has been busy “rehabbing it pretty good” and getting ready for rodeo next season. Just in case.

She made it to 50 or 60 rodeos this past year.

“Home is home, but it’s not necessarily where I belong,” she says candidly.

The old drive is still there, and she’s feeling a little itchy to make a move.

“It’s not all been a piece of cake. I’ve learned a lot about myself along the way, but I am still capable of a lot more.”

Ian Tyson,  Monday, Nov. 14 at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre, $48, doors 7 p.m. Showtime 7:30 p.m. 604-391-SHOW (7469)) or www.chilliwackculturalcentre.ca.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Handgun pointing complaint draws strong RCMP presence at Chilliwack residence Wednesday night

One in custody after brief standoff involving Emergency Response Team and canine unit

Iconic Chilliwack store passes clothing racks on to downtown neighbours

Chilliwack Mission Thriftstore given racks and fixtures as downtown store closes for good

Exercise and cancer to be explored via webinar

UFV’s Dr. Iris Lesser to lead Zoom event for cancer patients and supporters

Overnight closures for Vedder dike gates this summer rather than full closure

Working with anti-dumping and angling advocates, City of Chilliwack came up with compromise

Fiscal statement from the feds lacked clear plan for economic recovery: MP Strahl

While Conservatives backed emergency supports, it’s now time for ‘transparent plan to guide recovery’

B.C. identifies 20 new COVID-19 cases, travellers specified in count

Pandemic total 3,028 cases, 51 people from outside Canada

Mayors welcome rideshare expansion to eastern Lower Mainland

As of Thursday, Lyft is now offering service throughout Metro Vancouver

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

B.C. appeals judge’s decision to leave three clubhouses in Hells Angels hands

The province has filed two notices of appeal related to the B.C. Supreme Court decision

Conservation officers relocate Spirit bear known to roam northwestern B.C.

Bear roamed valley north of Terrace for many years

Most Read