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On The Record

Justine Elliot CFR 2019

Headed to her second Canadian Finals Rodeo, now at the age of seventeen, is our number one Canadian Professional Rodeo Association Ladies Barrel Racing Qualifier, Justine Elliott.

This year Elliot won Moose Mountain, Wainwright Short Go & Average, Lea Park, & Grande Prairie, and brought home a grand total of $38,421.00.

Justine has been around horses her entire life, as her father, Jody Elliot is a well known cow horse trainer in Alberta. She began barrel racing when she was twelve years old, and started rodeoing in sixth grade in the Junior High School Rodeo Association. She won Provincials three years in a row in the Alberta High School Rodeo Association, was the season leader for the Wildrose Rodeo Association and Lakeland Rodeo Association in both the 2016 and 2017 seasons, and placed third at the National High School Finals Rodeo in her grade nine and grade ten seasons.

Riding in the trailer to Red Deer will be Blondys Starlight aka Blondy (by Von Starlight, out of a Small Town Baker mare) and Maduals Playboy aka Jackson. Blondy has no running bloodlines, all cow horse bred, and was shown as a working cowhorse her three year old year. During her four year old year she was ran at the Canadian barrel horse futurities.

Photo by Roughstock Studio

What quirks does Blondy have?
Blondys quirks are she’s the boss. It’s her world and I’m just living in it. She has the typical mare mood and is a picky eater. 

How would you describe your horses style?
Her style is simple. She stands up around her turns and you just have to help her through them. She is very free running in big pens so you have to help her rate down but she can get short in the small pens so you need to push her a bit more. 

How have you and Blondy grown from last season? What will you be doing differently from last years CFR?
I think we have grown this year and got more confident in each other. I’m still learning how to ride her perfectly every run but that learning will never stop. This years CFR I’m going into with a better idea of what’s coming and how to handle it better. 

With all the miles made, varying ground conditions, and expenses, what kept the CFR dream alive for you this year?
I had quite the mixture of highs and lows this year. I didn’t make any money at the beginning of the season until Grande Prairie but before that I was either tipping or just wasn’t riding how I was supposed to, but when I started clicking with Blondy again, things started to fall into place. I knew Blondy had more then enough ability to get me to the CFR again, and that’s what kept me going. 

What do you do to keep a sharp mental edge in the game of rodeo? How do you stay motivated throughout the season?
I try to keep a good mental game by not letting the bad runs get to my head, but also not letting the wins get to my head either. It’s rodeo, your luck can change in the split of a second. 

What does your feed program look like, keeping your horses in peak condition going down the road and even in the off season?
I don’t give Blondy any extra things that she doesn’t need. I give her grain, Purina Pro-Athlete, and Calf-mana. 

What do you do to condition your horses leading up to the season, and what does your pre CFR routine consist of?
At the end of the season I’ll give her a few weeks off then ride her once or twice a week doing lots of long trotting. During the season I give her a day or two off after I get home from the rodeo then I’ll ride her once or twice a week again just long trotting and breezing her out. Leading up to CFR nothing really changed, I might make the workouts more intense. 

What is the best advice you’ve ever been told regarding life, horses, rodeo or barrel racing?
A good piece of advice is never take anything for granted. 

What has been your most memorable run over the years?
My most memorable run is from the CBHI in 2014 when Blondy was a 5 year old and she ran a 17.0

What is your favourite barrel racing bloodline, and what do you look for in a prospect?
I really like the Good As Nick Gets horses as all of the ones I’ve seen turn out to be pretty amazing horses. When looking at prospects I look at what other horses from that stud or mare have done. 

What’s the one thing you cannot live without on the road?
On the road my Dad would tell you that I couldn’t live without my phone which he’s not wrong, but I also need snacks to keep me going especially on those long drives. 

Which of the other CFR Qualifier horses would you swing a leg over if given the chance?
If I could ride any one of the other qualifying horses it would be any one of Taylor Manning’s horses. 

Who is your barrel racing idol?
My idol is Sherry Cervi.

What would you be doing if you weren’t barrel racing or rodeoing?
If I’m not barrel racing or rodeoing I’m doing school or beading. 

I also want to say thank you to my Dad for driving me literally all over the country, giving me all the things I need to be successful and giving me the chance to ride Blondy. 

*photo submitted by Justine

On The Record

Mary Walker CFR 2019

Coming to the Canadian Finals Rodeo in the number two position will be the 2012 World Champion, Mary Walker. This year Walker and her great horse, Perculatin aka Latte, who is by Dash for Perks out of a Silver Lucky Buck mare, won Cranbrook, & Rocky Mountain House, bringing home $31,585.55.

Mary’s grandfather raised Quarter Horses, so she began riding at a young age.  

“We lived in the Dallas, Texas area, so if I wanted to ride we would either go to his ranch or we kept our horses at a stable.  We had one of his stallions whose name was, Wimpy’s Scooter.  I did all the events on him.  When I went to high school I had a big bay horse named Jet Barb.  He took me through high school rodeos, and then to the amateurs.  I won two championship titles on him in the amateur associations.”

Mary eventually got her Womens Professional Rodeo Association card in 1983.  She continued to run Jet Barb and after a few years running in the WPRA, she sold him.

“That same year I married Byron and we rodeoed to get him to the NFR.  After I sold Jet, I trained and rode several different horses, nothing ever to Jets caliber.  I made the Texas Circuit Finals several times, but never tried to go down the road hard.” 

In 1989 Mary and Byrons son, Reagon was born.

“Reagon and I would go to several junior rodeo’s throughout the summer.  Then we went to high school rodeos where he was really good at all the events.  In 2006 and 2007 he was the Texas All-Around Champion and the steer wrestling champion.  After he went to college I started looking for a better horse.  I kept seeing Latte at some jackpots and started asking about him.  There was just something about him that caught my eye.  The girl that owned him ask me to ride him for her.  I jumped at the chance and said yes.  Byron wasn’t too happy with me because I never charged her to ride him.”

That was in the fall of 2010.  

April of 2011, Reagon was in a terrible car accident and succumbed to his injuries.

“I thought my life was over.  Then Byron surprised me and bought Latte.”  

In June 2011 Latte fell at Crosby, Texas rodeo and broke Marys hip. “I couldn’t believe all that had happened.” she said. 

After several months in a wheelchair, then rehab, Mary was ready to ride again.  

“Truly scared to death, my first rodeo back was at Odessa, Texas in January 2012.  Just not wanting to stay at home, we set out on the rodeo trail.  I was getting stronger towards the middle of the summer and Latte was getting more seasoned.  We qualified for our first NFR, and became the 2012 World Champion and Top Gun Winner.  In 2013 we were the Reserve World Champion.”  

In 2013 Mary was inducted into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame. “That was the most amazing moment.”
 
Mary and Latte made the finals again in 2014, 2015 & 2016.  In 2017, Latte sustained a serious injury so the pair went home to get him healed up. Fast forward to 2019 & they received the go ahead to run him.  

“Being a little timid and not knowing day to day if he would hold together. Latte doesn’t owe me anything.  So Byron and I sat down and decided to try and make the Canadian Finals and just stay up there where he likes the ground and see how it goes. Now we have qualified for our first Canadian Finals.”

What do you do to keep a sharp mental edge in the game of rodeo? How do you stay motivated throughout the season?
As I get older it gets harder to stay motivated.  I like to just ride my colts and think about how I can do better.   

What has been your favourite CPRA rodeo this year and why?
I have several favorite rodeos.  My favorite Canadian rodeo and the one that has been the hardest for me is Ponoka. I have placed in the first round a couple of times but always come back and hit a barrel.  This year I finally made it ’til the end. Wainwright is another one I really enjoy.  It is as good wet as it is dry.

What does your feed program look like, keeping your horses in peak condition going down the road and even in the off season?
Latte has been on the same feeding program since I have owned him.  He eats Omalene 200 and Alfalfa Hay.  I try to feed him the same time each day.  He will start kicking the stall if you are late.  I feed Platinum Performance for his supplements.  He has been on Platinum since 2010.  It seems our season all runs together so I just pay attention and either increase or decrease as I see he needs.  I try to keep hay in front of him at all times.  He is just happier that way.    

I use Horseware products to keep him feeling good.  He gets his Ice-Vibe boots on after every run and between runs to help his tendons.  He has his vibrating massage blanket and he has his Ionic sheet that he wears for keeping him feeling good. Also when he is at home he stands on the Theraplate after his workouts.  I stand on it to.

What do you do to condition your horses leading up to the season, and what does your pre CFR routine consist of?
I will start setting my barrels in a smaller pattern to try to shorten him up to get ready for the smaller arena at Red Deer.  I will take him to my vet and get anything that needs to be done taken care of so he will be ready.  He will get exercised daily.  I will go to Billings, Montana NILE rodeo on my way to the CFR. 

What has been the best advice you’ve been given?
The best advice I have been told was from my father in law.  “ The hardest thing is finding a good horse, because you can’t, it will find you, and harder then that is to manage him”

What is one thing you cannot live without on the road?
I probably should say I couldn’t live without is my husband but I have a little long haired weenie dog named Buster that has been every mile with me.  

My sponsors mean the world to me.  They are always there for me when Latte and I need something.  My sponsors are: Justin Boots, Panhandle Rock and Roll Denim. Platinum Performance, Horseware of Ireland, Kawasaki, American Hats, Jeff Smith Saddles, Relentless, Texas Equine Hospital, Theraplate, ViaGen,
I would also like to thank a few people for helping me along the way, Hayley Johnson who is from New Zealand has been with me for about a year.  She had to go home so won’t get to go with me to the CFR.  She was so much help and love her like a daughter.  Also to Copper Springs Ranch, Lisa and Brian Anderson for all their hospitality and letting us stay as a home base.  Doug, Karen, and Brandy Yuckert for our home base in Ellensburg. Sue Smith for tuning on me when my bad habits appear. Our Canadian homes: Monty, Whip and Dawn Gertner, thank you for putting up with me.   Also Lyle and Jan at Madison Avenue Training Stables who gave us strangers a place to stay and became good friends.

On The Record

Stacey Ruzicka CFR 2019

Sitting in third position in the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association standings, with $25,996.67 won, is Stacey Ruzicka. With her mare Known to be Wild CS, aka Bay Kaye, who is by Known For Dash out of Running Wild Annie, a Page oh Bobby mare. Together they won La Crete Field of Dreams Stampede, Bruce Stampede, Teepee Creek Stampede, Innisfail Pro Rodeo, Hand Hills Lake Stampede, & the Leduc Black Gold Pro Rodeo. Wow.

Photo by Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye @jeffphotodude

Stacey grew up in Viking, Alberta being around Percherons and Quarter Horses that her Grandpa and Uncle’s raised. It was her Uncle John who got her hooked on the need for speed by taking her to roping jackpots and putting her on his many rope horses to run barrels.

At 15 years old, Stacey made her first LRA Finals. Fast forward over twenty years later and she is competing against Canadas best, showing not only that we should never give up on our dreams, and that when the timing is right, and with hard work and dedication you can achieve them.

“Making the CFR has always been a dream since I was little and I thought unattainable for me. Finances, getting time off work, and to afford to go, (which I’m so grateful to my dental office in Ponoka for giving me this opportunity to follow my dream) I finally gave it a shot after years of people telling me to go. I just didn’t think we’d “have it”. I mean, all these years of watching and in awe of all the gals who’ve been there and never did I think I’d be “one of them”! At the beginning of the year I started going to the amateur ones and was doing good, then went to the first pro rodeo in Med Hat was was a couple tenths out and thought to myself, “yep, this is how it will be, just out of it” but I kept going. I had my Semi Pro gifted to me for Christmas from Kyle from winning the Lakeland Rodeo Association. When I start something, I was darn sure gonna finish it and if I’m going to go Pro, I’m going to GO! Two weeks in with a win in Leduc and Hand Hills I was like, holy s@$t, is this really happening to ME?! Six wins later, here I am and can’t wait for the ride! A very close friend and travelling partner Diane Skocdopole, (who used Kaye at the CFR last year in a few rounds) told me at the beginning of the year to “trust the process” and I’m so grateful for her that I did! She is a very special person whom I can’t thank enough for all she did for me this rookie year.

Stacey has had someone else riding beside her throughout this adventure.

“My Mom, Cathy who passed away suddenly in 2002, would have been the most proud of me. She hauled me to all the rodeos as a young teenager and I know she’s been with me on this journey. Without her I wouldn’t have even been down this path. Enjoy the ride mom.”

Photo by JKW Photography

Where did you purchase/find Kaye? 
I bought her from Melissa Anderson as a green broke 3 yr old that she had purchased from Colin Balan, her breeder.  She is 15 now. 

What kind of quirks does she have?
I’ve had her so long that all her quirks aren’t even quirks anymore, they are just her!  She can get impatient at times (like her owner!haha) she gets along with all horses and hauls well with anyone too. She can get high headed while warming up sometimes and prance around but will always go to do her job. Her and I are so much alike, it’s scary!!

How would you describe your horses barrel racing style? 
She is free running horse.  She’s not one to get underneath herself and can shoot off a barrel like a rocket!

How have you and Kaye grown from last season? 
Well we just know each other so well and I still learn from her. I try to stay out of her way and let her work….easier said than done sometimes.  We will never stop growing, there’s always things we learn from each other.  I think we both just trusted each other more this season and “went with it”.

What would you say is your horses weakness?
Mud!  I hate mud and so does she, I don’t blame her one bit!  She tries but would rather have ground she can get into.

Did you ever almost give up with Kaye? 
Oh my that’s a huge subject!  I had her for sale 3 years ago, because she just wasn’t herself…fat, depressed, irritable and  no matter what I did she wouldn’t get in shape.  Vets couldn’t find anything concrete and I couldn’t afford to keep trying things like injections that I just knew she didn’t need. I knew It was “something else”. I was just about to send her back to Colin Balan, her breeder to be a broodmare the following week when my friend and vet Bailey Stanton said, “no Stacey, you can’t give up on her!”  Of course I didn’t want to but money was an issue. Bailey set us up to see her and Dr Renou and he agreed she was sound (as I already knew) and wanted to do one more test, more bloodwork for $400 I think. I said nope, I’m done!  Then he said let’s try one medication, for her thyroid.  I said how much?!  It was $45/month and in 3 weeks my horse did a 360!  That fall of 2017 I went to one of the last FCA rodeos and won 2nd with her still overweight, then tipped to win the next one. She was back and not even in good shape!  I went on to win our second LRA championship in 2018 and had my horse back!  She was Diane Skocdopole’s back up at CFR last year and helped her win second in the aggregate. I’m so thankful to have my horse back!!!

With all the miles made, varying ground conditions, and expenses, what kept the CFR dream alive for you this year?
Well I never imagined I’d be here my first year going Pro. I think a lot of other people believed in us and I really had no expectations.  I just went and seen what would happen.  Winning two in one weekend (Leduc and Hand Hills) were definitely highs and filling my card in the spring. I had been juggling amateur rodeos and was making it very stressful and hard to enter.  Once I filled it I was committed and was letting what was meant to be, be. Going to places we’d never been before and winning were pretty cool, The lows were the mud, so much mud this season and we both don’t like mud. 

What do you do to keep a sharp mental edge in the game of rodeo? How do you stay motivated throughout the season?
Just keep going, sometimes getting into a slump brings you down but always remember there’s bumps in the road that level out.  Never give up, keep going and working hard for what you want.  

What does your feed program look like, keeping your horses in peak condition going down the road and even in the off season?
I feed Calibre working horse ration from Co-op in Rimbey, CEP Impact lll, Crystal Crystal Creek Equine Products By Integrity Ranching Loose Mineral and hay.

What do you do to condition your horses leading up to the season, and what does your pre CFR routine consist of?
I mainly just exercise and where we live now has a gradual hill and that helps build muscle to help keep my horses strong.  Pre CFR will be the same.  I do very minimal barrel work and when I do it’s short and sweet. I want my horses to love their job and not drill daily.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been told regarding life, horses, rodeo or barrel racing?
My good friend whom I travelled with, Diane Skodocpole, told me in the spring sitting in my truck at an amateur rodeo I was in, to “Trust the process” 
It worked and I have her to thank for all her advice and help this rookie year of mine!  “Forward Forward Forward” Connie Combs “Give yourself permission to win” (Melissa Hollingsworth recently told me this) and lastly, “Do good, be safe, and don’t fall off” (boyfriend, Kyle Rock) was told or texted to me before each run!(haha)

What has been your most memorable run over the years?
Most memorable was my first win at Leduc and then Hand Hills the same weekend!  Tears of “holy sh@$!” We just did that?! Most exciting was our Innisfail win by one one hundredth of a second.  Another “holy sh@$!” moment!  Each win brings tears to my eyes, even though I’m not a crier, I guess I did 6 times this summer! Haha. This horse is my everything and without her I wouldn’t be here.

What is the one thing you cannot live without on the road?
Ask any travelling partner of mine: pretzels, a shrimp ring, and some sort of fruity coolers!

If you could make a run on any one of the other CFR qualifiers horses which one would you choose and why?
I think it’d be cool to run any of them.  They are so talented and so many different styles, it’d be a rush to jump on. 

Who is your barrel racing idol?
Connie Combs, I have taken her clinics and can always hear her southern drawl while practicing. I wish she lived here, Kaye loves her voice just as much as I do!! Brook Robertson, one of my best friends who will tell you what you need to hear, good or bad, and she has always been in my corner for advice and confidence!

What would you be doing if you were not barrel racing/rodeoing?
Probably the same as I do now, dental assisting  like I have for the past 22 years! I’m so fortunate with my new job this year to do both.  I guess we that do this sport all know if we sold everything and didn’t  spend money up and down the road all summer, we’d have a lot in our pockets to do anything, like travel the world I guess.   For me, it’s what I love and am able to do now.  My tattoo says, “live love ride” so that’s what I’m doing and am grateful I can live my dream of going the the CFR!

Favourite podcast to listen to on the road?
I haven’t even downloaded any, but have good intentions to next year after hearing  Fallon Taylor’s travelling with Diane Skodpapole this summer.  I really enjoyed her real life story from her accident to now and the obstacles she had to overcome. 

Stacey would like to thank her sponsors, Brook Robertson With Arbonne and Seven Saddles, Bailey Stanton with Stanton Equine Veterinary, Hansbo Canada, Jenny Massing with CEP Canada,  Evergreen Co-op Rimbey, Bronco Farm and Feed Supply in Rimbey, & Crystal Creek Equine Products By Integrity Ranching

*photo submitted by Stacey

On The Record

Taylor Manning CFR 2019

Headed to her third consecutive Canadian Finals, in fourth position after $25,819 in the 2019 season, is Miss Taylor Manning.

“When I was four, I had a grey pony named Silver. My mom says I would go out and catch her every morning around 7:30 and spend a good hour cleaning her feet. I just loved to brush and clean her feet I guess.” said Taylor.

Her care and attention to detail with her horses is still very strong today, as you can always find her with her horses.

“My first barrel horse was Tivio. My mom said I wasn’t allowed to go to my first rodeo until I was seven, but my dad said I could enter earlier because I would do extra chores and always unsaddle his horse when he was done team roping. I followed in my moms foot steps to become a barrel racer.”

And what a barrel racer Taylor has become. Not only with multiple Canadian Finals qualifications at such a young age, Taylor competes at many futurities throughout the year as well, on what seems like at least twenty horses. But it’s not just who Taylor is on the back of a horse that always impresses me. I could sit here and list off her accomplishments; instead I want to make mention that Taylor is noticeably kind and supportive of her fellow competitors, lending horses when in need and always offering a warm smile, no matter where I see her.

Taylor will be bringing her main mount Good Little Nick aka Matlock, who is by As Good As Nick Gets, and out of Fols Dream of Cash as well as Ima Hot Bug aka Merlin, Hot Colours and out of a Copper Bug mare, and Justmoveslikejagger aka Jagger, who is sired by Dinero and also out of a Fols Dream of Cash mare.


What quirks does your horses have
Matlock gets very jealous and doesn’t like to share me with the other horses. Merlin is sassy and tries to buck sometimes. Jagger is scared of his own shadow. Matlock and Merlin boss Jagger around, and Jagger bosses me around. 

Where did you purchase/find your horse? 
Matlock, Merlin and Jagger were trained and raised by Grant and Rayel Little. Jagger is owned by Robin Walker. 

How would you describe your horses barrel racing style? 

My horses style are all the same, as they were trained by Rayel. I try to be consistent with the way Rayel trained them and to keep learning from her. 

With all the miles made, varying ground conditions, and expenses, what kept the CFR dream alive for you this year?
I was very lucky to be able to run multiple horses this summer. As Matlock tied up before Ponoka, Merlin had West Nile and Jagger jumped a fence and cut his stomach. We gave Matlock a lot of time to heal, and he came back amazing. Knocking barrels at Medicine Hat and Regina to be in the money. When we found out Merlin had West Nile, I gave him time off and ran Jagger when he was all healed up. I’m so thankful all my horses are good now. 

What do you do to keep a sharp mental edge in the game of rodeo? How do you stay motivated throughout the season?
I feel that there is so much to learn, that all I want to do is ride all day to learn everything I can. I’m addicted to riding. I do a lot of slow work and spend hours with my horses. Before I make my run my mom always repeats what Rayel says. “Don’t worry what happens today, we will fix tomorrow”. Oh, and to “have fun”

What does your feed program look like, keeping your horses in peak condition going down the road and even in the off season?
I feed Buckeye Products, Sharpedge Supplements and a probiotic. I try to make sure my horses are all fed consistently. What I love about Buckeye is that I can adjust to what my horses needs, and it gives them the strength they need to go all summer.
 
What do you do to condition your horses leading up to the season, and what does your pre CFR routine consist of?
My horses will get a break from December to January, then I will start legging them up. Riding them 4-5 days a weeks. My mom always says, “they need a good six weeks of conditioning and then we can start taking them to a couple of jackpots.”
Before CFR I do a lot do slow work, and riding in the field. Then I will take them to one jackpot before CFR. We do a lot of slow work to try and keep them balanced and to have them ready for the next run. Rayel always says, “You have to do your slow work after a run to put your horse back together.”

What has been your most memorable run over the years?
My most memorable run was at Ponoka. It was my first year going to the professional rodeos. This rodeo helped me make it to my first CFR. Matlock made it to the final four. I don’t know where I would be without him.  

What is your favourite barrel racing bloodline?
It’s hard to say what my favourite blood lines would be, as there are so many amazing lines. But, I think As Good As Nick Gets would be my favourite. Matlock was my first horse I made it to the CFR on and he’s so special to me. 

What is the one thing you cannot live without on the road?
I wouldn’t be able to live without my driver/mom. She is amazing, she always takes care of her family before herself. Thanks for everything you do. 

If you could make a run on any one of the other CFR qualifiers horses which one would you choose and why?
All the horses that made CFR are all amazing, but if I had to pick I would pick the legend Latte. I got to meet Mary Walker this year, and she was super nice to me. Mary better keep her eye on Latte, I might hop on and take him for a spin. Sorry, Matlock.

Who is your barrel racing idol? 
My Barrel Racing idols are my mom and Rayel. Rayel has a special touch with a horse and is an amazing trainer. I love going to ride with her, every time I learn something knew. My mom can see a lot and keeps me focused. 

I would like to thank my sponsors, Hillbilly Hallows, Frontier Western Shop, Classic Equine, CrossCountry Pipelines, Sharpedge Supplements, Back On Track Canada, & Anderson’s Builders Group.

*photo submitted by Taylor

On The Record

Brooke Wills CFR 2019

Holding down fifth position as we head to the Canadian Finals Rodeo with $25,017 in tow is Brooke Wills, of Kamloops BC. She will be bringing with her, Fames to Blame aka Famey (by Lions Share of Fame [DTF] out of a Frenchmans Guy mare) formerly owned by NFR Qualifier, Ivy Conrado. During the season she won Oldstoberfest, Nicola Valley, and Brooks Kinsmen Pro Rodeo.

Brooke started out in gymkhana and peewee barrel racing at amateur rodeos, which lead to Little Britches Rodeo, Junior and High school rodeo and then moved up the ranks in amateur rodeos. She began entering pro rodeos in 2011.

Photo by JWK Photography

What quirks does your horse/horses have? 
When it’s feeding time, Famey turns into a piranha and others horses around her may want to watch out. And I would not suggest letting a dog go in her pen or get too close to her, she’s not bluffing haha. She also yawns when you’re about to bridle her before a run, but other than that, she’s not too quirky. 

Where did you purchase/find your horse? 
I bought Famey from Ivy Conrado at the end of August of 2018 so I’ve had her just over a year. I can’t thank her enough for thinking of me to be Fameys person. She’s made a lot of dreams come true. 

How would you describe your horses barrel racing style? 
Famey is so gritty and has a heart of gold. She has a quick, wrappy style but also very sure footed. You can throw any kind of ground condition at her and she will go out there and make the same run. She goes where you tell her to go. 

How have you and your main mount grown from last season? 
Famey and I’s bond has grown so much in the last year. She’s really my kind of horse, I love one that will let me pamper and spoil them and I can tell she really likes me. She’s everything I would want in a horse. 

What would you say is your horses weakness?
I don’t think she has any weaknesses, she’s a very brave and bold mare who will do anything you ask her too. 

Did you ever almost give up with your main mount? 
I did not,  Famey and I won the first 7 rodeo runs I made on her so it was a match made in heaven. 

With all the miles made, varying ground conditions, and expenses, what kept the CFR dream alive for you this year?
I was really fortunate to stay within the top 12 all year so I didn’t really experience a lot of lows. And knowing what kind of horse power I had underneath me really helped too, I wanted so badly to make the CFR because I knew she was more than capable.   Sometimes it would be disappointing to know the ground had changed or you didn’t have a chance but I’d still try to make the best run I could for the situation that was handed to you. 

What do you do to keep a sharp mental edge in the game of rodeo? How do you stay motivated throughout the season?
One thing that always helped me was just telling yourself, There’s always another rodeo. If I made a rider error or hit a barrel, it wasn’t a big deal because I knew there was more to go to, so learn from it and move on. Having a supportive family and friends is great too. I traveled with my sister, Lane, and  Mariah Mannering and they both have good attitudes too so the rig was always very positive, that makes a huge difference. And Ivy Conrado was just a text away if i needed any help as well. 

What does your feed program look like, keeping your horses in peak condition going down the road and even in the off season?
I bring up Renew Gold Senior from the states since you can’t get the senior in Canada. I mix that with some beet pulp, Platinum Performance Wellness and One a day from Sharpedge. She stays on that year round. And my family bales our own hay so I know she’s always getting a good quality grass/alfalfa mix.  

What do you do to condition your horses leading up to the season, and what does your pre CFR routine consist of?
I’m fortunate I get to spend my winters in Arizona so when I come back to Canada for rodeo season, Famey is in shape and has ran at some rodeos so her wind is built up too. Right now she’s just getting some light exercise and then when it gets a little closer to the CFR she will go back to her normal exercise routine which consists of long trotting and loping in the field and some arena days as well because it’s good to mix in both. 

What is an exercise you include in your routine to keep your horses working how you like them to that may help someone else? 
I’m lucky I don’t have to really school Famey because she knows her job. But if I do anything I’ll just make sure she’s quickening her feet around a barrel and staying nice and round. I usually just do this at a walk or trot. Or I’ll set the barrels up in a line and just work on nice, even, perfect circles at a walk or trot. It’s nice and relaxing and your still accomplishing things. 

What is the best advice you’ve ever been told regarding life, horses, rodeo or barrel racing?
Just go out and do the best you can do. It works for barrel racing and regular life whether it be a job, an interview or anything really, as long as you know you’ve done the best you can do, then you can’t be hard on yourself because you gave it an honest try. 

What has been your most memorable run over the years?
I’ve been lucky to have so many great horses so It’s hard to narrow it down but If I have to choose, it would be from my family’s great horse Cactus. I ran him at the Merritt Pro rodeo in 2010 and he was 20 years old, tripped so hard at second, I think maybe even jerked the reins out of my hands, and still got me my first pro rodeo cheque. He’s incredible. My first runs on Famey were memorable too because it was the first time I’ve ever felt that kind of power underneath of me. Every run I get to make is so special. 

What is your favourite barrel racing bloodline, and what do you look for in a prospect?
You can’t go wrong with a Lions Share of Fame. And Famey is out of a really good mare too so that’s super nice. And Frenchman’s Guy/ Dash ta Fame Bloodlines because they are so proven. My family has a couple Darkelly colts and I really like how they feel right now. I think mare power is huge too. They get a lot of their dams heart I believe. I like to look for natural athleticism in a prospect and a nice kind eye. 

What is the one thing you cannot live without on the road?
I can definitely live without it but I do have a weakness for Twizzlers. I’m sure they’re terrible for you but I like to munch on them when I’m driving. 

If you could make a run on any one of the other CFR qualifiers horses which one would you choose and why?
If I could make a run on another CFR horse it would be Latte of Mary Walkers. How could you not want to run a World Champion. 

Who is your barrel racing idol?
I would have to say Lisa Lockhart and Sherry Cervi. There is so much wisdom and great horses between those two. 

What would you be doing if you were not barrel racing/rodeoing?
I can’t see myself not being involved with horses so that’s hard to answer haha. Maybe go to school for something or help with my dads company. 

Favourite podcast to listen to on the road?
Racers Edge is a good podcast and Serial and Dirty John are classics too. I just started listening to Girl, Wash your face, on audiobook and that’s been good as well. 

Thank you to FinningCat for their sponsorship this year and Sharpedge for their new sponsorship recently. I have a wonderful family, friends and boyfriend that makes rodeoing fun and easy. And thank you to the Pugh Family for giving us a great place to stay this summer. And the biggest thanks to my horse because I couldn’t have done it without her. 

*photo submitted by Brooke

On The Record

Angela Ganter CFR 2019

Angela Ganter grew up in the city, but when she was six years old, her parents brought her to Indian Creek Stables where she spent ten years learning to ride on trail horses. Finally her Uncle purchased her her own horse, where she rode on her Dads land. She had always wanted to run barrels, so her Mom found Kay Blandford who was just an hour away and would teach Angela lessons.

“The rest they say is history.” Ganter says.

“My parents did the best they could, but neither one rode so I spent countless hours making the horses they could afford into the best they could be. I used what skills Kay taught me and some I inherited, to try and become a better barrel racer everyday. I owned some of the best futurity and derby horses for years under many different trainers but really never competed on a Pro level.”

In 2010 Angelas life changed in the blink of an eye. She was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“If being a single mom since the death of my husband, and Jackies father wasn’t enough, I now got to spend the next eight years trying to stay alive. My riding career was over. My salvation was the fact Jackie took over the reins of all the barrel horses, so I got to be a part of a world I so dearly loved through helping her learn to ride the best she could on what horses were given to her. Amazing what Chemotherapy does to your body. I was totally back to square one on the ability to have any balance but with the encouragement of my daughter I spent countless hours with a trainer and bought an old horse back I once had owned and began a journey I really thought was out of reach. I started slow and gradually started to see I could be better than ever before with a little more try. I then set goals and as I reached them set new ones. I went with Jackie to Canada and after she made the second CFR and I said to myself, “this is where I want to be”. “

In the last two years Angela has won Hand Hills, Brooks, Grimshaw, Bonnyville, Cranbrook, Pincher Creek and the Grass Roots Finals.

“I guess you might say nothing could top that but to be able to compete on this level along side my daughter is the best honour I could achieve.”

This year, Angela is headed to Red Deer in sixth position with $21,789. She will be bringing, Bogies French Bug aka Bugs, who is by Frenchmans Bogie out of a First Wrangler mare, and Marthas Sixshooter aka Shooter, who is by Bug In My Frosty, out of a Martha Six Moons mare.   

Photo from Rodeo Buddy


What quirks does your horse/horses have & their style? 
Bugs eats and sleeps all of the time. He is very lazy and a very push style horse. Shooter on the other hand is a hard keeper and I don’t think ever sleeps. He is always ready to go and a lot bigger challenge to ride.

How have you and your main mount grown from last season?  
Bugs was a gift from God and we just got along from day one. I know where to run him and where not to run him now.

What would you say is your horses weakness?
Crowds!! Hates them. Also deep ground.

Did you ever almost give up with your main mount? 
I never give up on anything so I would never give up on him. If something isn’t working I figure out why it isn’t and fix it to the best of my ability.

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.  
That’s easy. I learned a long time ago that if you want something bad enough nothing or nobody can stop you. You have to adjust to all variables.

What do you do to keep a sharp mental edge in the game of rodeo? How do you stay motivated throughout the season? 
I work out as much as possible to stay fit and I read lots of motivational sayings and verses. I watch tons of competitive sports and shows. 

What does your feed program look like, keeping your horses in peak condition going down the road and even in the off season?
I feed HiPro Performance FeedSupplements: Red Cell, Acculytes, Hoof Master, Lactanase , Equi-BoneHay: alfalfa, coastal.

What do you do to condition your horses leading up to the season, and what does your pre CFR routine consist of? 
We ride 2-3 days a week and swim the horses 2-3 days depending on our schedule. I keep the same routine all year the best I can.

What is an exercise you include in your routine to keep your horses working how you like them to that may help someone else?  
I think lots of roll backs on a fence really keeps their feet moving. I thing quickness by reverse arcing is also a big key.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been told regarding life, horses, rodeo or barrel racing? 
Second is first loser!! Its my motivation!

What has been your most memorable run over the years?
My first Canada run in 2018. I was invited to Cloverdale and I was so nervous to compete there with knowing others hadn’t been invited and I had to prove I was good enough to be there. It only takes one person to believe in you to change your life forever.

What is your favourite barrel racing bloodline, and what do you look for in a prospect? 
I am not a big bloodline person. I have never looked at a set of papers before I buy them. Great horses make themselves. 

What is the one thing you cannot live without on the road?
Coke Zero and my dog, Tessa.

If you could make a run on any one of the other CFR qualifiers horses which one would you choose and why?
Probably Lynette Brodoways horse. Solid and consistent

Who is your barrel racing idol?
That’s easy! Jackie Ganter.

What would you be doing if you were not barrel racing/rodeoing?
Working at my house, or watching football.

Favourite podcast to listen to on the road? 
I don’t really but Jackie listens to crime stories or something like that. Makes me wonder what she will be in her next life!!

Angela would like to thank her sponsors, Hi Pro Feeds, Dufur Quarter Horses, INspectrailer, 5 Star Equine Products, Equi-Bone, The Rowdy Rose, Ulcergard, West Texas Equine, PHT Products, & Equiresp.

*photo submitted by Angela

On The Record

Bertina Olafson CFR 2019

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!”  

Photo by Billie Jean Duff

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

On The Record

Jennifer Epps Sharp CFR 2019

Headed to both the Canadian Finals Rodeo and the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo this year, is Jennifer Epps Sharp. In Red Deer she will start off in eighth position with $18,929 won. She will be bringing KR Famous Tequilla aka Tequilla (by DTF out of a Chicks Beduino mare) and Ladies Money Ta Fame aka Maggie (by Brother Is [DTF] out of a Please Send Money [Dual Pep] mare). Jennifer won the Medicine Hat Stampede, and also broke the arena record at the Calgary Stampede on Day Two, Pool B with a 16.960.

Jennifer started barrel racing when she was about 8, coming from a family who never owned horses. Luckily a friend down the road barrel raced and introduced the family to play days, which would lead Sharp to win her first saddle at nine years old. From there she went on and joined little associations and then started High School Rodeo. She made Nationals in pole bending for three years and also won State two years. Jennifers parents never went out and purchased a finished horse; everything she rode she had trained herself.

“I’m very thankful for that now I feel like it’s helped me become the rider I am.” she says.

Photo by Sam-Sin Photography

What quirks does your horse/horses have & what is their style?
Tequilla is a stallion so sometimes he can be more of a handful. He loves running in small pens but can also clock very well in outdoor pens

Where did you purchase/find your horse?
Tequilla came from Holly Calfee where she purchased him from Becky Canada and Mark Taylor.

What would you say is your horses weakness?
The ladies! Ha!

Did you ever almost give up with your main mount?
No. Tequilla has always been easy! He actually still runs in the same O-ring we started him in.

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.
This was my first year to go to Canada. I’m born and raised in south Texas so I literally almost froze to death the month of June! I absolutely loved everything about the Canadian rodeos and so did Tequilla. He pulled a check at almost every rodeo I ran him at. So I felt like he deserved a chance at the finals.

What do you do to keep a sharp mental edge in the game of rodeo? How do you stay motivated throughout the season?
My husband Robbie Sharp, without him by my side pushing me and reminding me I deserve to be out there.

What does your feed program look like, keeping your horses in peak condition going down the road and even in the off season?
Nutrena feeds are the best my horses looked outstanding all summer! Tequilla being a stud it’s easy for him to drop weight and not look good but with the Safechoice Senior I think he gained weight.

What do you do to condition your horses leading up to the season, and what does your pre CFR routine consist of?
Right now we are letting him rest some but my husband also will be roping off him a lot just to keep him fit and ready.

What is an exercise you include in your routine to keep your horses working how you like them to that may help someone else?
Not a lot of barrel work unless they need it. Like I said above, Tequilla will be roped off more than going around the barrels.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been told regarding life, horses, rodeo or barrel racing?
Never give up!

What has been your most memorable run over the years, can be most embarrassing or run of your life?
Breaking the arena record at Calgary just so Hailey could out run me being the next runner! Still placing 2nd behind Hailey and Sister is just amazing!

What is your favourite barrel racing bloodline, and what do you look for in a prospect?
I’m very partial to the Dash Ta Fame line, but in all honesty anything that has heart!

What is the one thing you cannot live without on the road?
My dog, Fergie! She goes everywhere with me.

If you could make a run on any one of the other CFR qualifiers horses which one would you choose and why?
I love Justines horse Blondy! Reminds me of my Commander.

Who is your barrel racing idol?
Sherry Cervi, she’s just amazing.

What would you be doing if you were not barrel racing/rodeoing?
I’m sure something with horses, I just love being around them.

Favourite podcast to listen to on the road?
Dateline.

Jennifer would like to thank her sponsors, Nutrena Feed, K&N Equine Solutions, Oxygen, PHT Products, & Lamp Veterinary Services.

*photo submitted by Jennifer

On The Record

Jenna O’Reilly CFR 2019

Headed to Red Deer in ninth position is Jenna O’Reilly of Millarville, Alberta, with $18,882.02 won in the 2019 season. A huge highlight to make mention of would be making it to the showdown round of the Ponoka Stampede as the lone Canadian. Jenna was fourth in round one, and third in the long go, taking home just under $10,000 there alone.

Jenna grew up on a horse ranch, riding cutting, sorting, penning and working cow horses with her mom, who is a horse trainer. Her Dad was a pick up man at various rodeos and she always loved the barrel racing. She started as a peewee and went through Junior High School Rodeo, High School Rodeo, and the amateur ranks. Eventually Jenna took a four year break from competing while she was in University, and in that time acquired her main mount, Xrey (by Dual Rey, out of Becky’s Haida)

Along with XRey, Jenna will also be bringing Eryn Coy’s great horse Dagwood (Pepoco Feature, by Peppy San Feature out of Poco Frankiedell, a Poco Nucents Tab mare)

Photo by Taylor Cox

What quirks does your horse/horses have & what is their style? 
Xrey is complex to say the least!! He is a very kind and timid horse to handle. He tries his hardest to be good but can be frightened easily. He can be fussy with the vet or farrier and has a very severe clover allergy. He has also always been extremely hard to catch for different people! He loves curry comb massages and cookies are the way to his heart.
He is confident when he finds the alley, he stays straight and collected in his runs, he can go into his barrels fast and turn hard, he is powerful and has a big stride for his small size.

Dagwood is easy going and so good to handle. He loves running and barrel racing but will toss his head when you are exercising him or warming him up until he gets to run. He is so gritty and honest and will never run by a barrel. I’ve never rode a horse I can push to first as hard as I can and he’ll turn every time.

Where did you purchase/find your horse? 
When I was away at school my mom bought Xrey to potentially sell to one of her clients, not realizing he was a bit quirky. She ended up breaking her leg in the summer and I got to ride everything she had at the time. So she never got him back!

What would you say is your horses weakness?
Xrey being as timid as he is can get him into trouble.

Did you ever almost give up with your main mount? 
I have definitely been discouraged when it comes to rodeoing. Not so much with Xrey, I don’t think anyone ever expected him to be a barrel horse so every tiny accompaniment means a lot!

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. 
It’s been years of experimenting with everything that came together a little more this year, Xrey has always stayed willing to keep trying for me and that keeps me confident.

What do you do to keep a sharp mental edge in the game of rodeo? How do you stay motivated throughout the season?
Just focusing on my horse and the pattern and making my run count. Also remembering this is supposed to be fun.

What does your feed program look like, keeping your horses in peak condition going down the road and even in the off season?
Xrey eats mostly soaked alfalfa & grass cubes to limit any dust or clover, I mix with Hoffman’s Elite and CEP daily lung. I keep a Sweetpro tub in his pen and always have electrolytes and a nebulizer on the road.

What do you do to condition your horses leading up to the season, and what does your pre CFR routine consist of?
I exercise and breeze him mainly outside, giving a little time off after hauling. If I get a chance to go work buffalo or move cows at my parents he loves that. If I work barrels with him it is light and very slow work. I try to work and run other horses to keep myself sharp without overdoing it for him.

What is an exercise you include in your routine to keep your horses working how you like them to that may help someone else? 
Collected “perfect” circles and shoulders whether I’m in a field or arena, with barrels or without. It seems simple but can show you where you’re cheating. Lots of backing up as well.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been told regarding life, horses, rodeo or barrel racing?
To be smart about the mistakes you’ve made, note them and move on.

What has been your most memorable run over the years, can be most embarrassing or run of your life?
It was at a little jackpot in Okotoks, I hadn’t been out barrel racing in years. I was actually terrified to go but had been patterning Xrey at home for way too long at that point. It was little but he won it and loved it, and I had a reason to start going again.

What is your favourite barrel racing bloodline, and what do you look for in a prospect?
My favourite I’ve gotten to try so far is Corona cartel, they are so naturally hard running and tough. When I try a horse I like them to be enthusiastic and elevated with their shoulders.

What is the one thing you cannot live without on the road?
My Corgi, Honey.

If you could make a run on any one of the other CFR qualifiers horses which one would you choose and why?
Cartel of Jackie Ganters, he has a very cool style.

Who is your barrel racing idol?
Sherry Cervi because I love how her horses work, and the way she rides.

What would you be doing if you were not barrel racing/rodeoing?
I would want to be a vet.

Favourite podcast to listen to on the road?
Married with Horses.

I can’t thank the Coy family enough for giving me Dagwood to run. Thanks to my job Rocking Horse Industries for sponsoring me and letting me leave all the time for rodeos! Kim Hodgins Equi-librium Equine Therapy for keeping Xrey feeling great all summer, Running man halters for their amazing custom halters and  also big thank you to my vets Susan Schaal, Erin Thompson and Bailee Stanton. 

*photo submitted by Jenna

On The Record

Jackie Ganter CFR 2019

The number ten position is held down by Miss Jackie Ganter of Abilene, Texas, with $18,274 won. During the 2019 season Ganter won the Dawson Creek Stampede. She will be bringing Smokn Lane (by Famous Lane [DTF] out of a Robin Banks mare) and Guys French Jet (by Frenchmans Guy, out of a Easy Diamond Landing mare) to the 2019 Canadian Finals Rodeo.

Photo submitted by Jackie Ganter

What quirks does your horse/horses have & what is their style? 
What quirk does Lane not have? Ha! I always says he’s my 2 year old child because if things are going his way he’s good, but if things are not you better be ready for a temper tantrum! 

Jet doesn’t really have an quirks, he’s my golden child! If anything he just hates Ferris wheels so we try to avoid those. 

Where did you purchase/find your horse? 
My mom saw a video of Lane at the end of last year on Facebook and said she had to have him, she messaged Nicole Torturo and asked if she would sell him and a few days later he was in a trailer headed to our house. He was specifically bought to be my mom’s horse and remained hers for about 7 months. When Tycoon came off of the trailer lame in Williams Lake, BC I had to either turn out or run Lane so I ran him and shortly after he became my horse

I got Jet from Trip DuPerier in 2013. Emily Efurd was riding him at the time and she called me to tell me he was for sale, I was skeptical but mom thought he would be perfect for me so we bought him sight unseen as well. He has been my best buddy ever since! 

What would you say is your horses weakness?
Lane’s weakness this summer has been the crowds and noise. He was only trained on the barrels a little over a year ago and had never rodeod before this year. It has taken some runs and adjustments to figure out the performances but lately he’s really started to lock on and not let them rattle him. 

Jet doesn’t really have any weaknesses, he’ll run in pretty much any setup or ground. He loves mud! I might’ve in the past said he doesn’t like side alleys but he won Dawson Creek this year with a big time side alley so I can’t really say that! He is 15 years old this year so I tried to just run him when it was important or I knew he’d excel. 

Did you ever almost give up with your main mount? 
Well my “main mount” got to watch from the sidelines most of this year due to an injury, Tycoon won great checks at Innisfail and Wainwright but that was all he got to contribute this summer. Lane actually only made 3  runs in Canada this summer but he won almost $7,500 in 2 of those runs. More so rather than giving up on him, I just didn’t believe in myself to ride him. He took care of me though and helped keep a lot of dreams alive! Then with Jet I always trust him, he knows what he’s doing and he knows when it’s important. 

Which was your favourite CPRA rodeo this year and why?
I would have to say Strathmore! It always seems like I do really good at small rodeos but have bad luck at the big ones so to place that high at a big one was really exciting for me. I was also asked to go out into the arena to accept Bertina’s buckle since she wasn’t up the last day and some family friend’s of ours had come to watch mom and I run and they gave me a hard time about accepting a buckle that wasn’t mine, we all got a good laugh out of it. 

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. 
I didn’t win a check until my 8th rodeo to run at in Canada this year, I was getting pretty frustrated and had hit several costly barrels. Tycoon finally got to make a couple runs and won us some money so I was pretty hopeful at that point. When he came up lame again Lane placed at Williams Lake then I went south to rodeo in the states. I flew back up several times, once to run Cartel at High Prairie where he pulled a check just his 2nd run back from colic surgery. We knew I could make the CFR but it was coming down to having to win money at every rodeo I came back up for to make it. Lane winning 2nd at Strathmore was very shocking to me and maybe the most excited I’d been in a couple months! I wasn’t safe but it did take a lot of pressure off. I flew back up to run Jet at Jasper and Dawson Creek and he did great at both but my mom and I still were worried I wasn’t “safe”. I drove all night from the Kennewick, WA short go by myself to run at Okotoks, I got there about an hour before I ran. I know I’ve never been that tired and I hope I don’t ever have to be again! Ha! Jet won 3rd at that rodeo and that was the first time mom and I thought I was safe. She already had more money won than me so we were pretty ecstatic hoping we’d get to go to the CFR together! 

What do you do to keep a sharp mental edge in the game of rodeo? How do you stay motivated throughout the season?
My friend Lana always reminds me that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be in that very moment good, bad, or indifferent and that’s always a good wake up call for me! I truly believe everything happens for a reason so it’s my job to trust God’s plan and see the good in whatever situation I am in. 

What does your feed program look like, keeping your horses in peak condition going down the road and even in the off season?
My horses get Hi-Pro Performance for grain and just alfalfa for hay. I use Vita Flex’s Master’s Hoof Blend, AccuLytes, and Lactanase as well as TLC Animal Nutrition’s Equi-Bone for supplements. 

What do you do to condition your horses leading up to the season, and what does your pre CFR routine consist of?
I don’t feel like I ever have an extended amount of time off so my horses stay pretty ready to go, it’s more preparing for running indoors or outdoors. For the CFR I’m trying to let my horses rest as much as I can. In October Lane will make 2 or 3 runs and Jet will probably only make 1 right before the finals. Lane is young and has made a lot of runs so I think it will help him to have a fresh mind and Jet is old and knows what he’s doing so he just needs fresh legs! 

What is an exercise you include in your routine to keep your horses working how you like them to that may help someone else? 
I do rollbacks on Jet to keep his feet quick. On Lane I walk lots of circles, that sounds mundane but it helps him to stay focused and correct.  

What is the best advice you’ve ever been told regarding life, horses, rodeo or barrel racing?
For with God nothing shall be impossible. -Luke 1:37 

What has been your most memorable run over the years, can be most embarrassing or run of your life?
I would have to say the 10th round of the 2015 NFR. All I had to do was have a clean run to win rookie of the year and when “all you have to do is be clean” it can be a lot easier said than done! Well Jet took care of us, he ran our fastest time of the whole finals, we placed in the round, won Rookie, and won 2nd in the average. I will never forget that moment! 

What is your favourite barrel racing bloodline, and what do you look for in a prospect?
I love Dash Ta Fames and Frenchmans Guys. Jet’s babies are getting old enough to ride and I am in love with them. My futurity horse for next year is just like him so I can’t wait to start running him. My mom has always taught me to look for a horse that has a short back and is long underneath. 

What is the one thing you cannot live without on the road?
My dog, Derby! She is my best friend and hauling partner. She does everything with me and she doesn’t care if we win or lose as long as we have food! 

If you could make a run on any one of the other CFR qualifiers horses which one would you choose and why?
There is a lot of great horses at the CFR this year so that is tough but I think I’d have to say Brooke’s “Famey”. I have watched Famey for a long time with Brian, Ivy, and now Brooke and have always been a big fan! She is an awesome mare! 

Who is your barrel racing idol?
My mom! She has overcome more in one lifetime than most people could handle in five. I hadn’t even thought of making the finals together until it started becoming a reality and now I’m really excited! 

What would you be doing if you were not barrel racing/rodeoing?
Oh gosh, I have no idea honestly. I hope I don’t have to find out! I’m with my horses all day every single day, I can’t imagine any other way of life and I’m very thankful I get to live this one! 

Favourite podcast to listen to on the road?
Unfortunately Crime Junkies! I really freak myself out at night but it’s a good one to keep you awake! 

*photo submitted by Jackie

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