30-year news veteran, Fanchon Stinger moves into her next career as Non-Profit Founder & CEO and PBR Bull Owner as she turns a new page inspiring young ladies to be courageous leaders.
It’s not every day that your local news anchor becomes the owner of two PBR Bulls and launches a Non-Profit, but that’s exactly what news veteran Fanchon Stinger did after nearly 30 years in broadcast news. In addition to being a PBR bull owner, Fanchon has mentored young people throughout her career and always kept her eyes set on launching a non-profit organization that would help shape and encourages the next generation of young ladies in our country. Through her own journey of ups and downs, Fanchon’s message is one of developing both Grit and Grace while navigating life’s challenges and stepping into a much higher purpose. Let’s learn a little more about Fanchon!
About Fanchon Stinger
Fanchon Stinger is a 15-time Emmy award-winning evening news anchor & journalist. Most recently she anchored the evening news for Fox 59 News 5, 6, 7, and 10 p.m. in Indianapolis. She was also the Executive Producer and anchor/reporter for a Community Hero series highlighting people who make a difference in central Indiana (2010-2020) in addition to being an Actress in God’s Not Dead: A Light In Darkness (2019). The list of her professional and personal accolades is quite extensive. As we will learn below, everything Stinger has accomplished and experienced has prepared her for this next chapter serving as Co-Founder and CEO of the Non-Profit Grit & Grace Nation while continuing to speak, host, and create positive content through her production company FLS Media.
In 2020, Fanchon Stinger became a PBR bull owner in partnership with friends Chad Berger and Daniel & Melissa Brunner. Collectively, they own bucking bulls, “Stinger” and “Lil Hott,” under the care of 12x Stock Contractor of the Year, Chad Berger. In 2021, she co-founded and launched the charitable initiative Grit & Grace Nation, inspiring middle and high school girls to lead with courage and excellence. She teaches the life lessons she has learned while also exposing young ladies to successful female mentors and the values of the western lifestyle. Through Grit & Grace Nation, Stinger will be making public appearances, providing mentorship programs, and scholarship opportunities nationwide in addition to appearing at PBR events during the 2022-2023 season. Fanchon Stinger will be hosting deserving girls at PBR events and sharing her unique message of faith, faith, and freedom.
Krysta: Is there anything from your career in broadcasting that may have prepared you for owning bulls and starting a nonprofit foundation?
Fanchon: I would say everything about my career and my life prepared me for this next chapter. I know with the gifts and talents I was blessed with, I was in a career God hand-made me for. I was then able to use my God-given gifts and talents to make a positive impact within communities and in people’s lives across the nation. I have also gone through a lot of hardship, challenges, and trauma, both personal and professional. All of those experiences have prepared me for the leadership aspect of Grit & Grace Nation. Throughout my career, I’ve been blessed with some amazing highs and accomplishments but with that came a lot of lows, lessons, and wisdom. I also saw firsthand what happens when young ladies, in particular, don’t get the good mentoring, nurturing, and life lessons they need. And, once their story gets to the news, more often than not, it ends with a tragic story. Throughout my career, I have always visited elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and churches with the goal of teaching, inspiring, and motivating based on my own life experience, lessons, and journey. All of that has prepared me to take those experiences and funnel them into Grit & Grace Nation.
Krysta: It’s not every day a news anchor decides to get into the bull industry, how did you end up partnering with Chad Berger and the Brunner’s on your PBR bulls?
Fanchon: I grew up in Detroit, Michigan and I spent summers in the south with family loving rodeos, the western lifestyle, riding horses, and the outdoors. Bull riding has always been my favorite sport to watch. So when the PBR bull riding league started in 1993, I was instantly a fan. During college, I told my dad it was my dream to own a bull named “Stinger”, after our family. I didn’t know it at that time, but I had that dream for a reason.
Fast forward to 2009, I decided it was time to start investigating and researching how to become a bull owner. After some research on the business of the PBR, I flew to the World Finals in Las Vegas and put on my reporter hat. I knew I wanted to find and meet Chad Berger. I ended up first meeting the CEO of the PBR at the time, Randy Bernard. We chatted about my aspirations and depth of understanding of the sport then he introduced me to Chad. Randy is still a very dear friend and mentor today. Chad Berger instantly became like a brother to me. He is family. I was going to buy bulls then but the timing wasn’t right.
As far as the Brunner’s go, when I was in the movie “God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness”(2018), I hosted a VIP screening for then-Vice President, Mike Pence. I ended up meeting the Brunners at the screening that night and we became fast friends. One day, a couple of years later, I was at their home, talking about the PBR and I mentioned I wanted to be a bull owner but I thought the dream was dead. They made the comment that if I wanted to do it, they’d do it with me so we set up a meeting with Chad and two months later we signed a deal on Stinger and Lil Hott.
Krysta: Where did the idea for Grit + Grace Nation come from?
Fanchon: The idea of a foundation was there my entire career. After purchasing my PBR bulls, I felt like it was time. I talked with Randy then had a meeting with Sean Gleason, current CEO and Commissioner of the PBR, and explained to him why I felt now is the time. We are at the point in our country where people are increasingly looking for family-friendly and purely fun entertainment based on the values most of us grew up with. I told him I want to share the sport I love with new fans and create a foundation that will honor and encourage girls in leadership. That was April of last year, Sean listened and looked at me on top of the chutes, the first night I saw Stinger buck professionally, and Sean said, “Go build it.”
I consulted with some dear friends and various mentors in Indianapolis. One of those dear friends is Katie Lucas, VP of Strategy and Philanthropy for Lucas Oil. I had lunch with Katie and Melissa Wonser from Lucas Oil in May of 2021. I shared my heart, my journey, where I was in life then, and the legacy I now want to leave and inspire. I knew I was being called to do something with the PBR, the bulls, and highlight girls in leadership. Katie didn’t miss a beat. She said, “We want to do this with you, whatever you’re doing, we are behind you.” That was the encouragement I needed. In June, the Brunners and I sat down and came up with the name Grit & Grace. Next was filling out the framework for this foundation with the guidance and wisdom of Katie and her team.
Forrest and Charlotte Lucas are Katie’s in-laws, they also founded Lucas Oil and have been like family since I’ve been in Indianapolis for over 10 years. Their family also believes deeply in the PBR. Fast forward to a year since the day I sat down with Katie, on May 10th, 2021. I retired from broadcast news on May 10 2022 to serve as CEO of Grace Nation full-time and contract my professional services through my company. The timing was not intentional but it was like one of those God moments when you know this is not my plan, it’s God and His plan.
Krysta: How do you hope to influence and shape the younger generation of the western industry?
Fanchon: We are not only equipping our young ladies with the skills they need in their adult lives, but we’re also bringing together an entire community of women who are role models exhibiting these values at every level of personal and professional life. My hope and desire are that we mute this negative cancel culture that is leading so many young ladies to negative choices and elevate an honor culture that equips them for success in whatever they do in life. That’s kind of where my career comes in because I’ve seen and reported on so many negative things that distract our young girls and lead them to make unwise choices. My goal is to offer an alternative that’s positive and grounded in values and principles to teach young ladies how to live a life filled with courage, grit, and grace.
Our first season alliance with PBR started on January 1, 2022, in Indianapolis. The momentum was more than we anticipated and the excitement continues to grow nationwide. This past May, we awarded our first scholarship to our first Grit & Grace Nation student ambassador at PBR World Finals in Texas. Crosslyn Gracia is a dynamic 13-year-old young lady who exhibits all the core values that Grit & Grace Nation stands for. Our scholarship is valued at over $10,000 and is geared to help with leadership development and career preparation in her field of interest. I am grateful to our scholarship partners and sponsors including FFA, Tractor Supply, Ariat, Western Sports Foundation, Express Ranches, The Cowboy Channel, and Elanco for helping us make this student ambassador experience so special.
Krysta: You recently retired from broadcasting to pursue Grit and Grace Nation full time, can you describe how that feels for you?
Fanchon: It is exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. When I say terrifying, it’s not in a bad way because I know this is what I was created to do and the vision God has given me is bigger than me. Everything I’ve done until now was in preparation to leave a legacy of excellence, faith, family, and freedom. I want to lead well, serve well, love well, and I want to honor every relationship and everything God has blessed me with to the best of my ability. I have a niece and nephew who are my heart. I also want to leave them a blueprint for success. I want young ladies to walk away from this experience with life lessons and wisdom they can use to be incredible leaders and achieve whatever they were designed to do.
Krysta: What does the future look like for Grit and Grace Nation?
Fanchon: We just launched our Grit & Grace Nation App which is available on both Apple and Android. We are now establishing Grit & Grace Nation chapters for young girls and their parents in addition to launching a national TV show and podcast this year. Through my production company, I have a contract with the Cowboy Channel to host new content that will be uplifting, inspiring, and encouraging to girls, women, and families. All in all, the goal is to continue to raise up a nation of young ladies who are equipped to be amazing leaders, moms, and wives.
I’m also excited to co-host the PBR Now show airing on The Cowboy Channel and PlutoTV covering the new PBR Teams league and all things PBR. Hosting PBR Now is an unexpected honor I am really enjoying.
Krysta: What would you say to anyone looking to get involved or make a difference in the western industry?
Fanchon: I would say, identify your passion no matter what industry you have an interest in. As soon as your passion lines up with your purpose, go for it and never quit. Once those two things are in alignment, you will be unstoppable. I always tell young ladies, to do everything with compassion, truth, honesty, integrity, class, and of course, grit and grace. If you do those things you will step into every blessing and purpose you were created for. For me, it was never letting go of my faith and praying about every step along the way, especially in difficult times.
Krysta: I always like to leave this opportunity at the end for you to add anything I may not have touched on. Is there anything you’d like to wrap this interview up with?
Fanchon: A lot of times people ask, “What does bull riding have to do with girls in leadership?” Think about it. It’s a metaphor for life. We will get knocked down in life and sometimes we’ll get hurt like the bull riders do when riding those 2000 lb animal athletes. It’s the toughest sport on dirt. Those guys get up, often in pain, and fight to get back on and keep riding. No excuses! It’s how we respond when we get knocked down in life that develops grit and grace.
Throughout life, there are things we experience that we may think are random. For example, if you go to my website www.gritandgracenation.org, you’ll see a picture of me when I was little, touching a baby calf in my grandfather’s barn. When my parents took that picture, they probably thought it was a random picture from a brief moment in time. When I was growing up I loved cattle and had no idea why. It’s the same with bull riding, I didn’t know why it was my favorite sport to watch, but all those things led to Grit & Grace Nation and me being where I am today. I’ve gone through hardship that could have caused me to give up, become bitter, or dejected, but learning to get back up and fight through, taught me how to have grit and grace. That picture was not random, it was an ordained part of my story. Every detail was. I love the sport of bull riding because professional bull riders exude grit and grace. The animal athletes are well cared for and honored for their majesty. That is very important to me as an animal lover. Who knew all of that would lead to Grit & Grace Nation? God knew.
Sometimes in life you’re gonna get knocked down or stomped on, you may suffer broken bones or a broken heart, and all of those things are designed to make you lose faith and hope. But we have to get back up no matter how challenging circumstances are, get back on the bull of life and hold on just like those bull riders do. For me, it was holding on to my faith and holding on to what the Lord was teaching me. Through that process, I experienced His amazing grace and it has given me the capacity to extend that same compassion and grace to other people while living out the purpose He has designed me for. I am forever grateful.
About Grit and Grace Nation
Grit and Grace Nation was officially launched at the 2021 PBR Finals in Las Vegas, Nevada. As you can tell, there are lots of exciting things in store for this organization. If you have a young lady in your life who might be interested in getting involved or applying for a scholarship through Grit & Grace Nation, you can learn more about Fanchon Stinger and the organization at gritandgracenation.org.
Grit & Grace Nation Mission Statement
Equipping young ladies to lead with courage and excellence in the areas of self-development, character, and career preparation. ( Service, Personal Growth, Community, Ministry, Animal Welfare, Western Sports, Sports, Tech/Innovation, Agriculture, and Arts.)
Grit & Grace Nation Values: Girl Grit / Courage / Self-Respect / Selfless Compassion / Graceful Confidence / Patriotic Spirit
What Grit & Grace Nation Believes
No matter where you are from, what school you attend, or whatever country’s flag you fly, Grit & Grace girls have the courage to live out their convictions with excellence while honoring faith, family, and freedom.
You can follow the organization and Fanchon Stinger on Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube. Make sure you download the new Grit & Grace Nation app for daily inspiration and motivation!
2022 Scholarship Winner: Crosslyn Gracia
Cowboy Lifestyle Magazine
This article was created for the Summer Issue of the Cowboy Lifestyle Magazine which was released in early July. You can catch this article and many more by checking out the full issue. For more information on Cowboy Lifestyle Magazine, visit the website here.
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