Evelyn Wright-The Matriarch of the Rodeo Wright Family
Evelyn Wright, A Mother And Grandmother Who Raises Champions Not Only In The Arena, But In Life…
You know of her Saddle Bronc Champion sons, Cody, Alex, Jacob, Jessie and Spencer, but there are many things that you might not know about their mother, Evelyn. We at Cowgirls In Style Magazine had the privilege of interviewing Evelyn Wright and came away inspired to live a better life…
Evelyn inspires hope in all of us as she relays her life experiences raising 13 children. Her story is one who encourages faith and optimism in all of us. She realizes what is important in life and lives this way. Evelyn and her husband Bill have raised their children with a foundation of faith in the Lord, service to others and hard work. We are sure you will feel uplifted as you get to know her. Her story begins in Fresno, CA…
(This is a condensed version of the article and interview taken from our NFR 2015 issue of Cowgirls In Style Magazine. )
Cowgirls In Style: Where did you grow up? How many siblings?
Evelyn Wright: I have two older brothers and one sister. I am the baby of the family. I grew up mainly in Fresno, California. When I was 11, my mom left my dad and moved us to Toquerville, Utah. That was where I spent the remainder of my growing up years.
CIS: What was life like as a young girl?
E.W.: I was a baby boomer, born in 1956. My mom and dad met at the end of World War II. It was a time of prosperity during the 1950’s, but in the 1960’s things were politically tense in our country with the Viet Nam War and the Civil Rights Movement. Drugs were ramped and the morals of our society were under attack. My dad was always involved in politics and it seems the events of the day were always the topic of every dinner conversation. He and mom clashed not only about politics, but how to raise kids as well. Once we got to Utah though, life seemed to settle down for most of us kids, even though it was hard on my mother. I was greatly influenced by the love and nurturing of my Grandma and Grandpa Watson. They were the salt of the earth kind of people. My grandparents were the stability we needed. Grandpa was an Idaho farm boy with a magic touch for growing things and making things beautiful. He always had a huge garden with orchards and trees and hogs and cattle to feed. He kept horses too for the grandkids. I was one of those grandkids. In the summertime, my sister, Silvia and I spent countless carefree hours on horseback.
CIS: How did Bill and you meet?
E.W.: We met at the old Eugene Theater in Hurricane, Utah. Billy was working in the Candy Shack and I could come to the movies with my older brothers and sister about once a week when they had a new picture come in. I was only 12 years old and he was 15. I would hang out and visit with him until he cleaned up and closed the Candy Shack and then we would go up in the balcony and watch the rest of the movie, sort of. He used to ride his horse to Toquerville and we would ride our horses in the surrounding hills together. When he got old enough to drive, he would come and get me in his black, two door, 1958 Chevy. Bill was the son of a rancher and there were always cows to tend and things to take care of. Billy was a top cowhand and worked all the time for other ranchers and broke a lot of horses for people. We didn’t see each other as a date situation until I was about 14 years old. (They have been married for 47 years.)
CIS: Tell us about your family. How many children? Sons and daughers? How many compete in rodeo?
EW: We have 13 children
The oldest is Selinda. Cody is the oldest son, then Lauralee, Calvin, Michaela, Monica, Alex, Jacob and Jesse (twins), Spencer, Kathryn, Rebecca, Stuart.
I have 6 daughters and 7 sons. It was tradition in our house to get the new baby on a horse for a ride within the first week. They grew up riding and working around livestock. Four daughters competed in local rodeo queen contest and high school rodeo.
All of my kids have been to college. Education is big in our house.
CIS: How often do you get to attend the NFR or other rodeos your sons compete in? Is it stressful watching?
EW: I have always gone to watch the NFR ever since Cody made it in 2003. I used to go the first weekend on Friday and then come home on Sunday night and teach school until Thursday and then go back for the Thursday night round and then stay until the end. That completely ran me ragged. I now take the week off of school, much nicer.
CIS: What advice would you give a mother raising a family today?
EW: I personally don’t know how anyone can raise a family without the gospel of Jesus Christ to guide and bless your life Read your scriptures and other good books that invite the spirit to be with you. Be prayerful and live for the spirit. Do good toward and speak kindly about others. Set a good example of Christ like attributes in your personal life. How you choose to live personally speaks volumes and will preach a daily sermon to your children. You can’t give what you don’t have. Be the kind of person you want your children to be. Take time to be a wife. Nurture your relationship with your husband. They say that the greatest thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother. Likewise, we need to love the father of our children.
CIS: Any future goals, plans you would like to share?
EW: Future plans? At this point, I am just taking life one day at a time and trying to be the best I can be. The bigger my family gets, the smaller I feel. I think that is because I want to do and be so much more and I am just one, small, moral woman and I have trials and imperfections of my own. All I can do is love, love, love and serve, serve, serve where I can and however I can.
From the 2015 NFR issue of Cowgirls In Style Magazine.
Update: Stetson Wright, son of Cody Wright and grandson of Evelyn and Bill won two world titles at the 2020 NFR. The coveted All-Around World Champion and Bull Riding World Champion. Stetson has won back-to-back All-Around World Championships.
Ryder Wright son of Cody and grandson to Evelyn and Bill won Bronc Riding World Champion at the 2020 NFR.
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