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Flood vicitm remembered as pioneer bull rider

Posted at 9:38 PM, Dec 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-30 23:38:01-05

A pioneer in women's bull riding remembered this week, following a tragic accident.

54-year-old Melissa Phillips was killed this week by flooding in Bixby.

“Melissa truly is a rodeo legend, she's an icon,” Cindy K. Roberts said.  

Phillip's longtime friend, Cindy K. Roberts, remembers her illustrious career.       

“She's the one responsible for getting bull riding sanctioned for the ladies division,” Roberts said.

Leading to the first event in 1992, where she won rookie champion of the year.

Phillips went on to win a many more championships in the years to come.

“She believed in herself, and nothing was going to stop her.”

Her triumphs extend well beyond the rodeo. She successfully beat lung and brain cancer and her story inspired others.

Her fighting spirit, made the news Monday even harder to handle.

“It was one of the hardest things I ever had to hear,” Roberts recalled.

Phillips died when her car was swept away by flood waters near 201st and Mingo in Bixby.

“Knowing Melissa, she would want me to be strong and want me to do what needs to be done.”

For Roberts, that means publishing a book the two had just finished writing Saturday. A detailed account of Melissa’s career as one of bull riding’s pioneers.

“She is a legend and she will not be forgotten.”

Friends and family of Phillips are holding a funeral Thursday.