Meet the Member AJae Griffin
story by Michele Toberer Anna Jae Griffin goes by AJae, and the Mississippi native has been a cowgirl for a lifetime, and a Southeastern Professional […]
story by Lily Weinacht
“Rodeo is all I’ve ever known as far as sports,” says Dylan Hallmark, a bull rider serving his second year on the SPRA Board of Directors. “I was raised to be a cowboy from watching my daddy work cattle and horses. Rodeo got in my blood, and it’s not coming out anytime soon! I was always told that if you’re going to do anything, put 110% percent in and do the best you can.”
His best has sent him to the SPFR in the top five all but one year since joining in 2012, and last year, the 24-year-old from Boaz, Alabama, was just six points away from winning the bull riding champion saddle. Though his favorite rodeo, held in 2012 in Savannah, Georgia, was where he won his first check and put his boot in the door for the SPFR, his favorite memory is from the 2013 finals. “I won my first buckle during the first go-round on Jim Buckner’s bull, Gator Made. He’d been to the NFR several times, and they’d blacklisted him because he was so dangerous, so that’s one of my biggest achievements riding bulls.”
Dylan is a second generation roughstock rider, his dad, Jacky, primarily riding bareback until switching to tie-down roping. “I’ve tried my hand at every one of the events, and I enter the bareback riding sometimes, but bull riding is what caught me,” says Dylan. “When my dad was competing, I started getting on sheep, then rode calves at the house. I rode horses until I was 13 and tried to be a roper, but that didn’t work out, so I got on my first big bull at an IPRA rodeo when I was 13.” He’s also grown up around bulls from the stock contractor’s point of view, helping his dad raise bucking bulls and haul them to SPRA rodeos for Double Creek Rodeo Company, and other associations. “I’m around every day helping feed and sort the ones we’re hauling. I’ve always looked to my dad for inspiration, and he’s always been behind me to help push when I feel like I can’t do it. And my buddies that ride bulls are around telling me to keep at it, and helping out any way they can.”
Also serving as the bull riding director for the SPRA, Dylan describes himself as the go-between for the stock contractors, rodeo committees, and contestants. “I’ll help them find more bull riders, or clear up a re-ride, plus we have our board meetings before the finals.” Throughout the week, he works for Sand Mountain Stockyard, catches the stray cow, and trains horses for the public. “I have several of my own horses for working at the stockyard and working bulls, and then I train for whatever people want. It might be from the ground up, or just finishing a horse. Spring and fall are my busiest times, but I can pretty much work it around my rodeo schedule.” He practices on his dad’s bulls, and goes to either Tim Cox’s or Charle Lowry’s practice pen to add diversity to his practicing. “When I get time, I usually go trail riding – there’s some places near my house and a few state parks – or I’ll float the creek or go hiking, with a little deer hunting in the winter.
“My main goal in rodeo is to win an SPRA championship, and go on from there to something like the CBR. I want to keep going higher and see where I end up!”
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