After taking home $21,383.00 with a big win in Strathmore, Bertina Olafson is headed to the Canadian Finals Rodeo in 7th position, with her main mount, Alive N Smashing aka Duke, who is by Ante Up Guy (Frenchmans Guy) out of a Lucks Runnin Bug mare.
“Horses were a huge part of my life as kid. I rode daily and competed in gymkhana.” says Bertina. “After my teenage years, it was quite awhile before I began riding regularly again. When my children were close to graduating high school, I knew I’d need a hobby. Barrel racing it was!” she recalls.
“I had a couple horses to play around with at that time. Duke was a horse that I had a connection with since the day I brought him home as a weanling.”
Duke was Olafsons first pick of the pen.
“I sent him for training and in his 4yr old year we began. The goal to jackpot and gymkhana locally escalated quickly to many other events. His talent, confidence and consistency pushed me each year to try new events and learn more. We did futurities, derbies and entered into the rodeo scene. I know I would never have stumbled onto the rodeo life if it weren’t for him. I can say for certain I would not be doing this interview as a CFR Finalist!”
Did you ever almost give up with your main mount?
Yes, when he was five years old! I was lost with how to deal with his quirks and some issues we were having. I was ready to quit barrel racing all together!
With all the miles made, varying ground conditions, and expenses, what kept the CFR dream alive for you this year? Tell us about the highs and the lows.
So many highs and lows came with this year. Kicking off our season at Regina Agribition & good placings gave us a great start to the 2019 season. During the long rainy season this year, it was a struggle for us. Duke began to safety up on ALL the ground during that time! I began hauling him to an indoor arena to gain his confidence back. We hit one indoor jackpot in the middle of our busy rodeo season. It was what he needed. With the confidence boost he came back running strong again.
Which CPRA rodeo was your favourite this year and why?
Strathmore rodeo was my favourite, regardless of all the ups and downs over that weekend.
I ran the first performance, leading it when I left. With the other performances to go and very tough competition, I wasn’t expecting it to hold. I was really sick by the time I left Regina rodeo that weekend. I ended up in the hospital the next morning. I slept all day and woke up to my phone going off with messages “Congratulations on winning Strathmore” I’ve never felt so sick yet so happy at the same time in my life!!
What does your feed program look like, keeping your horses in peak condition going down the road and even in the off season?
Dukes main feed program is Timothy/Alfalfa bales and cubes. Buckeye Grow N Win, Elite Three HP Oil, Equine Choice Probiotic.
During competing season I try to mix up our exercise routines during the week from indoor, outdoor arenas or riding in the field to keep his energy and interest peaked.
What is the best advice you’ve ever been told regarding life, horses, rodeo or barrel racing?
Never let success go to your head or failure go to your heart!
What is the one thing you cannot live without on the road?
Coffee and chocolate
If you could make a run on any one of the other CFR qualifiers horses which one would you choose and why?
They would all be a rush to run. To choose one it’d be Mary’s horse Latte!
What would you be doing if you were not barrel racing?
I’d be crying. (Lol)
I love barrel racing but it’s not all about the race. It’s the adventure the race brings with it. The experiences, the bonding with my horses, the places I’ve traveled and all the friendships made through this adventure is what makes it all so special. I honestly can’t picture what I’d be doing if I wasn’t barrel racing.
Without the support and encouragement from my husband, family and friends I could not travel this road. It takes a team and I’m thankful for everyone that helps us!
I am very grateful for my sponsors that help me throughout the year. Gmack Oilfield Services, Jaycee’s Pressure Testing, Equine Choice, Elite Three, MLS Equine Therapy and Sky’s The Limit Performance Quarter Horses
*photo submitted by Bertina