Where are you from? I was born and raised in Houston, Texas. My mom still lives in the house I was born in.
When did you start barrel racing? In 1963, my dad would rent a U Haul trailer once a year and pull it behind his company car and take me to the HOHC horse show in Houston. I was about 11. I would enter a 4 H show a couple of times a year.
Are you involved in any other equine events? I was a jockey and rode race horses from the time I was 11 yrs.old and today I remain close to my friends on the racetrack.
Who or What got you started barrel racing? I do not really know how the madness began nor do I know how to stop it!
What was the name of your favorite horse and tell us a little about it. There was ole Turkey. He was a dandy. He was not eatin’ up with speed, but could do anything good. He ran a 20.1 his first trip through the poles after 1 week of training. I won 9 state championship titles on him. He was a barrel horse, calf horse, goat tying horse, He would do it all. Then there was Bud. (Impressive Post Oak). I won about $40,000 at Futurities and open rodeos on him and he is still a winner today for his owner Jaci Stevens. He always tries to win. Smokin Contrail is 17 now and is as good of a horse as there was. He has a heart of Gold and Lord willing, he can just eat all of the grass that he can stand until his time comes. I am presently riding a 5 yr.old Paint colt named Diamond Trick. I have high hopes for him. He is sometimes faster than he knows what to do with himself. I would love to keep him and see how he develops in a couple of years.
What are some of the events that you have won (or races that stand out in your mind)? In 2000, I won World Champion Jr. Barrels at the APHA world show. It was quite a thrill when they announced it. Last year, at the World Championship Barrel Futurity at OK City, I won a $10,000 check from the APHA for the highest placing paint at the futurity. Wow, That is a lot of bonus money that they give now.
Over the years have you noticed any changes in barrel racing what are the good or bad you’ve seen? It is amazing how that horses seem to just keep getting faster and faster. Twenty years ago ( gosh , that sounds like a lot!) If a Futurity colt was within a half of a second off of the open horses, you were in good shape, but not any more. You had better win the Barrel race on your colt and then hope that you are lucky too. At one time, we all would pick the foundation bloodlines and cutters. They were a lot of fun and could win then. Now we all ride the best racing bloodlines that we can find. True, sometimes they are harder to train, but the ones that make, you cannot outrun on foundation bred horses. The one that is my project now has a sire that is a World Champion and a dam that is a track record holder. He himself is a winner of 2 races. He had better be fast to tote a name like WWWDOTLEADERDOTCOM.
What is do you think of an equal pay out 4d? I like to go to races where the 1D horses get a bigger percentage of the money.. It definitely costs more money to maintain the faster horses. I really do like the 4D’s . Even with the equal payout, you can still win more than the open barrel races used to pay in the past..
Do you think of yourself as a professional barrel racer? My tax lady told me to say YES!
Who is your favorite barrel racer or barrel racers? Wanda Bush is my all time favorite. She taught so many of us what we know today, and I think of her often.
Do you have any advice for anyone just starting out in barrel racing? Read all of the magazines and books that you can . You will have to really dedicate yourself and work hard even when you don’t feel like it. When you are too tired, someone is out there riding and making progress with their horse. You do not have to have a lot of money to barrel race. Most of my horses have been purchased for $1500 to $3000. I have never bought a horse that I did not have to train myself and I like it that way. Each day you teach them something new and it is very rewarding to do it that way.
Do you think barrel racing should be limited to women only? No