I am not your typical barrel racer. I have had horses for 30 yrs and every horse I have ever owned knew the barrel pattern including my Tennessee walking horse.
As you know I am in my mid 50’s and in 1995 a friend of mine said before we were 50 we needed to compete at Mesquite. Well, knowing neither of us was pro caliber we entered the Mesquite Blowout the 1st yr they had it. So, before we were 50 we ran at Mesquite. I then went on to enter up at the USBRC race in Guthrie, Ok. on my old horse who at the time knew a lot more about the barrels than I did as he was an old rodeo horse. We ran a smoking 21 and I thought I was a big dog. That is also the 1st yr. I came in contact with you and your wonderful family. Instead of laughing at me and my horrific run Tamet and her mom gave me some tips on what I could do and I have been an addict since then.
I have since bought and trained my own Barrel Horse and have actually done quite well. I figured why send him off to someone to train and then not be able to ride him Now he doesn’t know the difference when I don’t do something just right because I trained him my way. I took him to the USBRC the 1st yr. and won 2nd in my class for the day and was thrilled.
My favorite horse is the one I am on now. Jivin to the Man. He was aptly named because he is never still for a moment. He can be a handful in the alley but once in the arena he is as honest as the day is long. I trained him myself after buying him off the track. He picked up the barrel pattern quickly and has been winning for 5yrs. I bought him in May of 1997 and in just a few short months we were winning money at jackpots in the 2D’s. I have learned alot with this horse and have more fun on him than any other horse I have ever ridden. He leaves from the alley like he was on his way to a fire and always makes a consistent pattern. He has earned me alot of money as well as buckles and has a heart as big as any horse out there. I owe alot to him for giving me the opportunity to be a competitor. He has alot of little quirks but I never gave up on him and he has become a proven winner. I guess if I have to have a favorite, he is the one. I love all my horses just the same and owe a lot to my retired 24yr. old barrel horse, now retired to just being a horse but Jive has to be the one I would say is the most special to me.
I go to a lot of open Rodeos and have won a total of 12 buckles. The 1st buckle I ever won was at a Janet Stover clinic where I won the 1d after an intense weekend of lessons. I won the Rodeo Series last winter at Austin Arena and I also won the 1d buckle at the fall series at that Arena. I have won the Finals buckle in Barrels at the Bad Girls Rodeo 2 yrs. in a row and I just this weekend won the average at an open rodeo and won the buckle.
I have watched Barrel racing all of my life and have participated for the past 6yrs and I have seen a lot of changes. The horses are faster, the competitors tougher and the prizes larger. Some of the largest payouts are being offered in the history of the sport and with the D format it has opened the sport to horses and riders that would not have been able to compete in the past. I started out as a 4d rider and have advanced to the 1 and 2 D level due to this format. Some people don’t think the D’s work but I am a firm believer due to the success I have had in advancing up the ranks.
As for anyone just starting out in the sport I say follow your dreams and go for it. I would love to be the oldest Rookie at the NFR one year. You are never to old to start. I wish I had started at the age of 5 instead of 45 to compete but I would never change a thing. I thank my friend Nancy and my husband Tony for encouraging me to go and compete and not be afraid of the big girls in the sport. It can be intimidating to enter a race where the Big Girls are, but one of the 1st races I won a big check in was at Ardmore Okla. and I won 2nd in the 2d against Hot Shot and Peyton Raney.
I have gone to a lot of clinics and gotten advice from alot of the pro girls
Janet Stover has played a big role in helping me and I have told her many times when I grow up I want to be just like her. I would tell anyone starting or needing help to go to the professionals. They are really great people and always willing to help out with questions. Clinics and books are great. I also video every run I make and buy all the video’s from the big shows I attend where they are videoing. I learn a lot from watching myself and my horse and other riders over and over again.
This is a very competitive sport and it takes a lot of hard work, practice and good friends to make it work. Always take constructive criticism and don’t be afraid to ask questions. I am still not the greatest rider and could improve in a lot of areas and if anyone tells you they know it all they are lying, because I learn something new each and every time I go out and make a run.
As for men in the sport, some of the greatest trainers are men and some of your top notch Futurity riders are men. That is why I love the sport, anyone young or old, male or female can compete and have fun.
Jive passed away in 2002. I have since then had an awesome mare Amorous that I competed on for 8 yrs. I have since retired her and and raising babies I now have an awesome young horse I call Ted. He is 5 and a total granny horse since I am now a total granny. I hope to have him out this spring hitting some local races and getting back in the swing again