By Amy Patterson
For Duke Wimberly, combin’ broncs is no unusual activity. Hollywood acting and stunt work, however, is new territory.
The 2018 Cheyenne Frontier Days Ladies Ranch Bronc Riding champion mastered these skills in May of this year as she doubled for actress Heidi Sulzman in an episode of the Paramount Network’s TV series Yellowstone. Duke did Sulzman’s stunt work in a scene of season 1, episode 8 (“The Unraveling, part 1”).
Her part starts after a horsefly bites the officer’s horse, “sending it into a broncing, wild horse fit that ends in an out of control runaway because she drops her reins during her bronc ride,” Duke retold. Her scene ends when Officer Skyles disappears going down a hill on the runaway horse.
It comes as no surprise that handling a runaway horse was the easy part, but Mrs. Wimberly says the entire experience was nothing short of a blessing.
“I had always wanted to get into stunt work but never really knew how to go about it,” she said. “It was surreal at first but you just have to treat it for what it is, a job. There were way more cameras and people than what I’m used to and riding a bronc on the side of a mountain, in bulky hiking boots, and a heavy park ranger gear belt was definitely new to me. I started to feel the pressure when the set went silent and all eyes were on me and this bronc…”
The Cowgirls star aced her scene in one shot.
What’s next for Duke? She says she is always fine-tuning her bronc and bull riding skills but hopes to continue exploring the world of stunt work. “I actually just got done doing some stunt work on Season 2 of Yellowstone. I really would like to make a career out of doing stunts,” she explained. “I’m starting down some new territory and broadening my abilities in hopes to further my stunt career, so hopefully y’all will see more of me in the future!”
To see more of Yellowstone, and maybe catch a glimpse of Duke, check out https://www.paramountnetwork.com/shows/yellowstone.