Chapter 1: Rianne

2004 Words
Rianne's pov Who I am Growing up a Richland, God, family and rodeo are my life. With or without political titles, my family runs our small town. It's how life has always been. But, while there are many perks to being a Richland, there are also many expectations. As part of the next generation, we are expected to earn our keep. And as the youngest of the cousins, I want to prove that I am not helpless. Everyone knows my family, simply saying the Richland name will spur smiles or glares. Over the years, I’ve learned that the smiles come from those hoping to benefit from my family and the glares are manifested from twisted stories and jealousy. Sure, my life has had challenges here and there, but it’s been nothing that I couldn’t handle. As far as my immediate family, my stepdad adores my mom and my stepbrother.... Well, he prefers to take the road less traveled, or shall I say the road he can carve out for himself. He’s not a jerk, but rather the opposite. He has an unheard-of ability to charm his way through life. In fact, everyone adored Matt. When his man-whorish ways began in high school, he was treated like a king. The girls lusted after him and the guys wanted to be associated with him. You’d think he would be lonely around all the fake people, but he and his best friend Michael ruled the school, the town and had no shame in their game. Where did that leave me? Enemy number one. Once the girls realized I couldn’t help them wrangle down time with Matt, they turned their backs on me. It was amazing how many rumors portrayed me as a w***e even though I had never experienced my first kiss. Even the guys avoided me, knowing they would have to deal with my stepbrother if anyone ever thought of touching me. As you can imagine, I had an empty social calendar. To fill my time, and there was plenty of it, I spent hours studying or working on Rodeo Ways, my own YouTube channel. But in the end, my studies paid off, maintaining a high GPA, and a full-ride academic scholarship to my family’s alma mater, Montana State University. Sure, I had a college fund, every Richland was expected to graduate college, but I wanted to prove I was smart and could survive on my own, without competing in rodeos. Over the generations, with my family’s success on the MSU Rodeo Team, it didn’t take long for the president to contact me about incorporating Rodeo Ways at MSU. Now you might wonder, why a social media blog? Well, have you seen some of the videos that have no direction or purpose, but attract tons of followers? Take my stepbrother as an example. He follows a guy who records his daily driving. No talent, no research, just record and post. At least I would be sharing a passion and educating others. Quickly, I learned that MSU was not how my family had described it. The competitive yet bonding among riders and elite parties for rodeo members only were not on my schedule. I was just another student. Without family nearby, I entered a community that only knew me as a blogger. Few if any people outside of our small town knew about my success with barrel racing and the night it all changed. I can still hear the screech of the tires skidding across the road and the metallic crunch of the trailer. My mind drifted briefly, remembering the accident like an old-fashioned movie. On the road to a rodeo, a moose crossed the medium and rammed into our trailer, forcing it to crash into the mountain side. Having lost my horse, Midnight Star, crushed my soul and squashed any desire to ever compete again. It took months and a lot of effort by my mom and grandma to get me to return to a rodeo as a spectator. But then, one day, my attitude changed. At a local event, I remember sitting next to a young girl who was curious about rodeos. Having spent most of the day explaining the events and skills required to be successful, the idea of creating an instructional social media blog was born. Rodeo Ways! Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, a new passion began to burn within. The enjoyment I once had growing up, and the thrill of the competition was transferred to Rodeo Ways. With my new focus, missing out on college parties wasn’t a big deal. Wondering around campus, I found the IT room and discovered it was always available, with access to top-of-the-line equipment. To be honest, I didn't have time for parties, even if I had received an invite. If I wasn’t in class or studying in the library, odds were, I was experimenting with my latest ideas for Rodeo Ways in the IT room. Unbeknownst to me, maintaining a social media blog was very time-consuming. I had so many ideas but not enough time in the day to execute them on-time. I preferred to work alone, but missing my alarm clock more than once made it clear I could not manage things on my own. Out of the blue, an email from my cousin Heidi presented the perfect opportunity. Having competed in barrel racing and being a recent MSU graduate, she was familiar with the rodeo scene and the MSU program. And to put the cherry on top, she earned a degree in computer programing. I’ll be honest, I had no idea what she did for a living or how much programming could impact Rodeo Ways, but her ability to expand the blog piqued my interest. Okay, so I had a feeling my mom might have asked Heidi to contact me because I was becoming anti-social, but in all honesty, I preferred long hours editing films, than wasting time around horny guys and drunks. After a video conference, Heidi and I decided to join forces and she officially became the co-director and co-editor of Rodeo Ways. Get this, she was able to access my laptop from her home, allowing us to collaborate and make updates at the same time. Starting with instructional videos, Rodeo Ways showcased guest speakers explaining how to compete at different levels in each event. As you can imagine, the number of our followers skyrocketed when my stepbrother, Matt and his best friend, Mike, participated in a team roping episode. They brought in more female followers than we had expected, encouraging reoccurring visits from the Deadly Duo. A name given by a journalist who was in awe of their team roping skills back in high school. But then again, I think the reporter had a romp or two with the Kings. Either way, the nickname was created. Agreeing to participate in various episodes, Matt and Michael traveled to MSU, insisting their exposure on Rodeo Ways did not impact their personal lives. Yeah right! Ever since high school, the Deadly Duo have gone through females more often than most people changed their underwear. It has always been that way and I don’t think it will ever change. But I can't deny their charm and above-average looks attracted thousands of followers. It was always entertaining watching females gravitate toward the duo. A simple smile and panties were dropping. Rolling my eyes to stifle laughs was hard at times. I actually felt bad for some of the females, but the duo never hid their intentions about never dating. If a female came back for more, it was her problem or addiction. Okay, so I probably shouldn't have rolled my eyes because, as embarrassing as it is to admit, as a college graduate, I have never had a real boyfriend. Yes, I "dated" a guy named Rick, but he was mostly about the attention connected to Rodeo Ways. Okay, enough about my pathetic love life, back to my blog. Working together, Heidi and I have earned over two million followers, as technology expanded our ability to go just beyond speaking in front of the camera. Most recently, we incorporated a virtual reality experience from a rider’s perspective. Using Go-Pros, we capture a rider’s experience as well as from multiple angles, as cameras are strategically located in the stadium. It’s not the experience from Oculus, but comments from followers continue to be positive and asking for more. In fact, over this past year, we recorded rodeo arenas of thirteen colleges and all the small towns on the Montana and Wyoming rodeo circuit, gaining us an additional 100,000 followers. Thousands of hours have been logged by both Heidi and I, but nothing has gone to waste. Most recently, we piqued the interest of EA Sports in creating a rodeo video game. I admit, after launching Rodeo Ways from my small hometown, everyone was supportive and accepting of my unique adventure. In fact, within the first year, I managed to get an interview with our rodeo president, thanks to family connections. Impressed that a high schooler could pull off such a coveted interview, I earned the support of the local radio station and newspaper, which helped increase rodeo ticket sales as well as a jump in followers. But our luck had just begun. At MSU, one of my tutorial videos was used to identify hand and body placement on the popular rodeo Cowboy Channel. My past was revealed with a short video of my state championship run, one of my last rides with my horse Midnight Star. Within days, I started receiving smiles from strangers as I walked across campus. I went from an unknown geeky tech girl to a respected rodeo supporter. Eventually, a handful of MSU rodeo members asked me to record their rides to help improve their performance. Within a month, my existence on campus became a necessity rather than an avoidance. And, after enough inquiries, the MSU rodeo president provided funds to cover more riders (barrels, roping, broncs, bulls and wrestling). Working with the MSU Rodeo Program became a full-time job, not to mention the riders from different colleges who scrounged funds to cover my travel costs in order to get me to their campuses. Bunked up in dorm rooms or apartments, everyone was welcoming and allowed me to post videos of my visits. As my ability to support others was spreading, I was earning a solid reputation. I finally got a chance to "experience" college. And, good luck kept rolling in. Thanks to large "blog" paychecks that arrived monthly, Heidi was able to quit her “boring” job and dedicate more time to Rodeo Ways, which gave me time to further expand our small business by visiting more college campuses and rodeo arenas. Over the past couple of years, my life has turned upside down, but in a good way. I constantly dreamt of innovative ways to improve the blog, made attending my classes and studying a priority while trying not to spend too many hours in the IT rooms on campus. It wasn’t the life for typical college students, but my A-type personality thrived with order and getting items crossed off lists. My life was perfect. Okay, so my social life existed mostly due to business relations, but I loved the challenge and I loved…. Oh, who am I kidding? I kept myself busy to avoid the fact that I have no social life and longed to have a guy hold me in his arms and keep me safe. Well, there is one guy who has always had my heart. He has a tough exterior and acts like he doesn’t care. But I know who he really is and I know why he pretends to be someone who he is not. I know I could make him happy, if he ever noticed me. But how can I get him to see me for who I am, when all he sees is a sister?
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