That’s Rodeo to Me with Sportswriter Barbara Pinnella

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By Lillian Landreth

Sportswriter Barbara Pinnella has covered the athleticism and mettle of numerous disciplines in her forty-plus years as a professional writer. The 76-year-old from Chino, California, knows the ins and outs of the boxing and wrestling ring and the show jumping course. But one of her favorites remains the bull riding arena, and the athletes—human and bovine—who first endeared her to the gritty sport.

Barbara began covering the PBR in 1993, just a year after the organization was formed. She conducts the bulk of her interviews in person, which makes her a familiar face to athletes from all over the world. This is one of the things she loves best about the sport. “It’s a family, and they’ve just been great. A lot of people don’t like the teams, but it still boils down to one bull and one rider, and I love that competition within the competition. It’s between the bull rider and the bull and who’s going to win this time.”

She is honored to have three PBR buckles, the first of which she won during a PBR blackjack tournament playing at the table with PBR Hall of Famer Clint Branger. In 2013, she and another writer were awarded 20-year commemorative buckles, and in 2022 she received her first PBR Finals team buckle. “I’m really blessed to be accepted that way, and want to mention three women who have been instrumental to me on my PBR journey. They are Denise Abbott, Mandi McCary, and Cally Anderson. Without them in my corner I would not have had all the opportunities I have been offered.”

Barbara’s personal area of expertise in sports is show jumping, which she competed in for many years throughout California. Yet when she learned to focus on the people in each different sport and their goals to make a better life for their families, that humanity drew her in and made it relatable. “In every venue, I’ve met the greatest people involved in all of it,” says Barbara.

In her very spare time, Barbara loves competing in agility with her corgi, Susie. She also teaches jumping lessons, as well as travelling with clients to shows. Her work can be found in Humps N Horns Bull Riding Magazine, THE Equestrian Catalog, and Sports Life Magazine.

#Sportswriter #BarbaraPinnella #BullRiding #PBR #SportsJournalism

About the Author

Lily Landreth and Sugar at the Snake River Stampede.
Lily Landreth and Sugar

Lillian Landreth is a freelance writer and editor. She particularly enjoys writing about rodeo and the extraordinary people and animals who make the lifestyle fascinating. The author of more than 1,000 stories, her writing has appeared in the Rodeo News; The Ketchpen, published by the Rodeo Historical Society and National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum; and local newspapers. She is also working on her first novel. When she’s not writing, Lily enjoys riding with the Snake River Stampeders night light drill team, coaching the EhCapa Bareback Riders, a PRCA specialty act, and teaching horseback riding lessons. She makes her home in Southwest Idaho with her entrepreneurial husband, their dog, horse, and cows.

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