Becky Sickle

Where are you from? I am a native Texan and have lived in Killeen for 36 years.

When did you start barrel racing? I started taking general riding lessons in 1992 and began barrel racing in 1993.

When did you start barrel racing? I remember loving horses when I was very young and was introduced to them at Girl Scout Camp at the age of 10. My family did not have a “horse background” so I was very excited when my parents purchased 10 acres of land in the country and I got my first horse in 1972- I was 12 years old at the time. I rode my horse mostly on the weekends, as we lived in the city. I recall trying to teach myself how to ride and would have the book  Saddle Up with me in the pasture. I would read about how to get your horse to change leads, then practice it with my horse. A short time later, I took a basic horsemanship class taught by Lavinia Trull.

Who or What got you started barrel racing? I may never of had the opportunity to barrel race if it weren’t for a very special person – the late Floyd Davis. He was my “adopted” grandfather, although he treated me like a daughter. He took me under his wing and gave me the opportunity to learn and compete in the great sport of barrel racing. When I was 14 years old, he sent me to Martha Josey’s weeklong summer clinic. I really learned a lot at the school and quickly got hooked on the sport. My grandfather was hauling me all over the state to compete in Jr. rodeos! Back in those days, you competed for a 1st place buckle – not money.

What was the name of your favorite horse and tell us a little about it. Over the past 30 years, I have only competed on 5 different horses! They were all special, as I was at a different level of competition with each one. But there was only one that had the ability to compete at the Open or 1D level – Hang on Partner. He was off the track with a 97 speed index. He had about 90 days of training, by Peggy Fenton, when I bought him as a 4 year old in 1994 .This horse was the biggest, most powerful horse I have ever ridden. He had to be put down in March 2001, after being hit by a truck.

What are some of the events that you have won (or races that stand out in your mind)? The first time I knew “Partner” had potential was late in the CTBRA season of 1994 – we were competing in Stephenville and was entered in a novice class. Partner made an awesome run and had the fastest time of the day, beating the time of the Open Class winner. My next big win came in February 1995 at the Jurassic Classic. We were in the $350 Novice class with about 60 entries. We won the first go, placed in the 2nd go, and then won the short go! Partner went on to win the Open Class at a Tri-Star barrel race in 1996, and qualified for the NBHA World Show in the 1D in 2000. This past October, I placed 3rd in the 2nd go of AHNA on my 4D horse, Gotta Go Ryon.

Over the years have you noticed any changes in barrel racing what are the good or bad you’ve seen? The industry has grown tremendously the past 20 years. Many competitors have more money invested in their truck and trailer than the average person does in their home! And that’s before you factor in your horse! The 3 and 4 D competition format is a primary reason for the growth, in my opinion. I also like the way technology has enhanced the sport – from electric timers to the ability to enter events on-line!  Some of us still remember when times were calculated with a flag-man and stop watch and the only way to see your run was with a black white photo!!

What is do you think of an equal pay out 4d? God did not create barrel racers or horses with equal abilities.  Some barrel racers are blessed with the financial resources to purchase the better horses and hire the best trainers, while others have to really pinch pennies to come up with a $75.00 entry fee.  I truly believe that most of the 4D horses are competing at the best of their ability, just as the 1D horses.  Having equal payout is just one way to “level the playing field”.  The 3 and 4D entries allow the 1 and 2D entries to have the opportunity to win the bigger pots.  Do you ever recall any non-WPRA  “Open” barrel classes to have more than 100 entries?  Now the larger 4D formats are attracting close to 1000 entries!

Do you think of yourself as a professional barrel racer? I never considered myself a professional, although I did buy my WPRA permit in 1998 and 1999. My goal was to compete in my hometown PRCA rodeo and the Mesquite PRCA rodeo. In Mesquite, I had the honor of competing against Martha Josey and Kay Blandford in a Saturday night performance.

 If your not a professional barrel racer what do you do for a living? I have been a banker for twenty years. Currently I am a Vice President / Branch Manager for Eisenhower National Bank.

Who is your favorite barrel racer or barrel racers? I have always admired Martha Josey, as she inspired me at an early age. Charmayne James is also one of my favorites. She is a true sport. It was my hometown (1999) PRCA rodeo, and the arena was standing in water. Charmayne had just finished her run and I was next. As she left the alley way, she told the rest of us “to go for it – the arena was not slippery”. I also think Tanya Steinhoff and the famous “Hot Shot” will heighten the awareness of the sport the same way that Tiger Woods influenced the world of golf.

Do you have any advice for anyone just starting out in barrel racing? My advise to parents is not to put excessive pressure on your children by buying them “more horse” than their current ability, and to praise them often and criticize less. My advice to all others is to watch, listen, and learn all you can. Attend clinics or watch videos to learn good habits from the beginning. Don’t get discouraged. Run each race “for yourself”, learn from your mistakes and be humble with your wins.

Do you think barrel racing should be limited to women only? I think the WPRA should remain women only. Futurities and other events, like the NBHA, should continue to welcome men, women, and children. Men have certainly contributed a lot to the sport

To view some of the events Becky has won money in click here