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.