“I started my career with quilting and will likely head off into the sunset with bull riding,” says Battock, who’s 54. Somewhere along the way, she’s adopted the uniform here—she’s wearing a tan fringed suede jacket, jeans, and boots, and while a cowboy hat isn’t always atop her long blonde hair, it’s usually nearby. “It’s a strange world, but it’s all come quite naturally. A long time ago, someone told me: Be the water, not the rock. I’ve tried to keep that in mind.”
During last year’s inaugural PBR Team Series—essentially the second half of the PBR season, with the first focused solely on individual competition and the latter centered around eight teams in eight cities, each with five competing riders, battling each other for points, money, and glory—Battock’s Nashville Stampede team staggered into the finals in Las Vegas in last place. “And then we pulled off a Cinderella story,” Battock says, beaming. “We ended up winning the thing.”
Growing up in Littleton, Colorado, where she attended Columbine High School (before it became famous for all the wrong reasons), Battock planned to be a psychologist before she simply ran out of patience. “I wanted to get into the action, not go to more school,” she says. So she got into the media business instead, first running a series of magazines in the craft space before landing at Morris Communications in Fort Worth, which owns an array of titles, events, and businesses based around “the Western lifestyle,” as Battock and assorted others, from cowboys to bull-breeding specialists, refer to it. “My whole career since then has been a combination of intentional and opportunistic. I’m kind of in the business of saying yes to things and trying them.
“There’s been this renaissance with the Western lifestyle—there’s been a few things in the culture, Yellowstone maybe biggest among them, that have drawn on this mystique,” she continues. “I mean, the cowboy is the quintessential American icon, and that’s true whether you’re in rural Wyoming or midtown Manhattan.”
Battock heads up Morris’s media division—but when she heard about an opportunity for the company to buy into the nascent PBR Teams franchise at the ground level, she convinced Morris’s board to go for it. “My colleagues joke that the bull riding thing is my side gig. Do I have a background in sports management? Absolutely not. But I’ve run businesses, and I know that the first thing you do is hire the people who know what you need to know. So we just started building our team. There was no road map.”