After getting involved with OSU Rodeo early on, she was selected for this honor following last year’s rider, Elise Wade.
“I always admired the program before I came here,” said McClaran. “I was on the (Spirit Rider) team last year … and this year got picked to ride.”
She has also been involved in the Oklahoma Intercollegiate Legislature team and spends most of her time training horses and making a special trip to Tulsa each week.
“I go pretty much every day to Tulsa to ride Bullet,” she said. “He’s such a legend.”
Bullet is a black American quarter horse breed and was introduced as an Oklahoma State spirit icon in 1984. The horse McClaran worked with this season retired at the last home game against West Virginia on Nov. 18. Bullet IV was introduced after halftime.
Aside from the countless hours it takes to work with Bullet, Madeline McClaran has other obstacles she faces on a daily basis to accomplish her goals – but she doesn’t see it as a setback.
“I’m actually blind in my right eye,” McClaran said.
She doesn’t consider it a disability. McClaran was born without depth perception and uses visual cues to adjust in the tunnel while riding Bullet. To ensure safety, one of her fellow veteran ground crew members helps her get ready.
Outside of the normal gameday routine, the Spirit Rider also poses for photos with fans and businesses. She’s worked with magazines and other outlets to promote the university. She’s also hired for different events, parades and other festivities with Bullet.
As for her next step, McClaran plans to attend law school next year after completing her CAS degree.
“I actually didn’t start off as a freshman in CAS,” McClaran said. “I was in animal science and transferred two years in. If I could go back, I would have gone in as a freshman and taken as many political science courses as I could.”
She credits many CAS professors for her success, but says if you’re involved in things outside of school work, you’re more likely to enhance your college experience.
“This organization, the Rodeo Team and OIL have been so enhancing to my college experience and I’d hate to see people miss out on that.”