If there was any question of the power and accuracy of the phrase “Girl Power” the answer was shown yesterday.
This past weekend PBR (Professional Bull Riders) had its season-opening event at the world’s most famous arena. Outside of the best bull riders competing against the best bulls inside Madison Square Garden, there also were mini bull riders competing during the Unleash The Beast season-opening event.
One of those mini bull riders is Najiah Knight, a 13-year-old girl from Oregon who is a lightning rod for press featured in the New York Post and Vogue magazine.
Vogue’s piece from early Tuesday morning was the most viewed article on its web site at the end of the day – getting more viewers and engagement than news on the Golden Globes, Rhianna and Megan Markle. Girl power and western sports are hot, given the topics the article beat for views.
Najiah dreams of one day riding in the PBR, becoming the first girl to do so. Professional bull riding is a brutal, challenging sport, but Najiah is talented and determined and she may just make history.
As she attempts to make history, Najiah is getting inspiration and guidance from Keyshawn Whitehorse and Ryan Dirteater, star PBR riders who were members of Team USA Wolves, an all-Native-American team competing at the PBR Global Cup in Arlington, Texas in February. The Knight family is native as well, part of the Paiute and Klamath tribes in southern Oregon.
Knight has also landed support from her brand new sponsor Ariat who signed her going into MSG, and helped sponsor a fun PBR Fashion show that Najiah walked in, joining PBR riders Ezekiel Mitchell, Cody Nance, Gage Gay, Mason Taylor, and Daylon Swearingen, along with fellow MBR competitor Ryder Carpenetti.
Najiah hung out with IMG Supermodel Faith Lynch – who also sang the National Anthem to open the season and said Najiah’s an inspiration to her and all girls looking to take on new challenges – and met with IMG Models talent scouts, so who knows where that might go. You can watch Faith singing the anthem below:
Ariat wasn’t the first to spot Najiah’s star power the world’s largest modeling agency is now evaluating.
Credit Chad Berger and Cooper tires with spotting the blazing star about to rise, after Berger and the long-time PBR sponsor, which re-upped in 2020 for five more years, first met Najiah in 2018 at the PBR Finals and watched her ride at the mini bull event at the South Point Arena in Las Vegas.
Najiah immediately knew who Chad was; what she didn’t realize was that Chad Berger already a big fan of hers. Both Berger and Cooper Tires added Najiah to their stable of athletes and encouraged her to get into a 100x helmet.
At first glance, it might surprise some people that a 13-year-old would have these big-name partners. If you watch Najiah charm the media – she’s at once adorable yet and tough – and then with steely determination ride the mini bulls, you can see why they were quick to act.
Ariat, Cooper Tires and Chad Berger are proud to throw their support behind a pioneer working hard to make her dream of one-day riding and winning PBR events come true…and now overjoyed their bet is paying off as Najiah shows she can draw more eyeballs than Rhianna and Ms. Markle.
She’s also featured on a RidePass series. The Short Go, with her own episode. You can view the trailer here.
Some people have told Najiah she shouldn’t be doing something so dangerous. Something only boys should do. She tells boys she doesn’t ride 700-pound min bulls for them; she does it for herself.
Sunday afternoon before the Championship Round to crown to the champion of the Monster Energy Buck Off At The Garden, Najiah won her round. She was excited as she got to her feet after her ride and waved her hands in the air to celebrate her ride.
Najiah made history with that round win on one of the grandest stages in sports. It probably won’t be the last time she proves girls can do anything boys can do.