As a professional, Linda Martinelli is president of Proforma Graphic PrintSource (asi/300143), a Corona, CA-based promotional company. She leads a team that offers printing, promotional products, wearables, multimedia production, signage, e-commerce and much more, and the group prides itself on being a full-service agency that’s involved in all aspects of its clients’ marketing.
As a busy working mother, Martinelli always made time to take her kids to a variety of entertaining events, including car racing, monster truck racing and rodeos. But it was the bull-riding competitions that caught her fancy. “The bull and the rider are both such superior athletes,” she says. “I continued to follow it even after my kids were grown, and I regularly attend events.”
Martinelli became much more than just a loyal fan about a year ago, when she struck up a conversation with Billy Jaynes, CEO of Exclusive Genetics, a bull breeding business, at an event in Las Vegas. As of February 2014, she and her husband own nine bucking bulls, all purchased as babies in a process known as futurities, in which the purchased bull has not yet proven its skills in the bucking arena. “You can even buy them before they’re born,” says Martinelli. “Bulls either buck or they don’t; they’re either studs or duds. When they’re young, you can enter them in events in which their bucking is judged, before they’re old enough to have a rider. The events culminate at the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) with bull owners winning up to $500,000 for the top bull.”
Martinelli’s most recent purchase was a bull she named Proforma, who has become her company’s mascot. “People in the industry follow him in his bucking adventures,” says Martinelli. “He and I have had a long and successful journey to date, and I want that to continue for him.” Her other bulls’ names, which include Crime Scene, Excessive Force and Code 3, hearken back to the Martinellis’ careers in law enforcement.
Martinelli’s attendance at bull bucking events has also led to new business opportunities. She’s done a number of promotional cup, napkin and placemat orders, as well as brochures and wearables. When she designed and wore shirts for Martinelli Bucking Bulls, she solidified her role as a promotional expert. “Everyone wanted them for their own teams,” she explains. “Then the event coordinators wanted brochures and shirts. I didn’t go after this field on purpose, but by word of mouth we’re enjoying more business within this market than ever before.”
While the increasing business is appreciated, the most memorable part of her experiences, she says, are the people she meets when attending events and the expense-sharing owners’ groups she’s joined. “The people of the bucking bull world are just salt-of-the-earth, wonderful people, and it’s about the ride and the adventure,” she says. “The wins are great, but we win no matter what, with all the traveling, the adrenaline rushes, the fun and the friends.” She and her husband were even recently interviewed by Revma Media for an upcoming television series centered on the futurities process.
“We both work a lot of hours, so we absolutely make time to stop every three months and take a couple weeks to do something we love, like traveling,” Martinelli says. “Owning bucking bulls feeds right into that. We’re both fortunate to have the flexibility to work hard and build our dream businesses, but also to play a lot, refresh, renew and enjoy life. It’s a great balance for us.”