Back in the saddle; counselor rides in SA Rodeo

Pamela Zablocki Wilson is living out one of her childhood dreams during the 2022 San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo.

The counselor at the Agriculture Science and Technology Academy is an alternate rider with the Bexar County Palomino Patrol. For 8 shows at this year’s rodeo, Wilson takes part in the Grand Entry, a tradition since 1951. She’s one of the 12 riders bringing in the flags with the Palomino horses that wear 250-pound silver saddles.

“I’ve loved horses my entire life,” Wilson says. “When I was a little girl and went to the rodeo, I saw women riding in with the flags. I always wanted to do that.”

Last fall, she tried out to participate and was evaluated by a horsemanship committee. She’s been practicing since then to prepare.

“It’s a surreal experience to ride a 1,200-pound live animal into an arena with a Jumbotron,” Wilson says. “It takes an immense amount of concentration to hold the flag, ride the horse, smile, and follow the pattern. You don’t want to look terrified.”

The 2000 O’Connor HS graduate says her passion for riding was reinvigorated during the pandemic as she found it a safe, outdoor activity.

“It’s never too late to find something that makes you happy and pursue it.”

Watch what it’s like to participate from the rider’s perspective with this GoPro video.