Michele Raulston

My Grandfather bought me a pony named Peanuts when I was 6 years old. Peanuts did not know at that time but he had met his match, I was just as mean and ornery as he was. That day I surprised my whole family, thinking I would just set on the pony quietly, instead I kicked, Peanuts breaking away from my Grandfather.  Being a full spirited little girl for my size, they should have known better, everyone chasing after me, afraid I was going to get hurt; yelling, screaming and me laughing and having a time of my life. My family called me Mickey (short for Michele). From that day on I have always loved horses. My family is a lover of all animals, but no horsemen in our clan.

My family moved from Marshall to Richardson, Texas when I was 8. At this time Campbell Road was a black top with cotton fields on one side and a new housing development on the other. Our house there having a 3rd garage (a stall) and an extra lot next to it, my practice arena. This is the time of my life I enjoyed most of all (1962). Martini, was a buckskin mare my Dad purchased for $150.00 as a 2-year-old only green broke. I read everything I could get my hands on, went to the local stables and watched trainers and finally got to working on my mare, who had a heart of gold and my best friend. In those days we competed in Paydays. In 1963 I was chosen Garland Horse Club Queen. Martini and I worked hard and by 1964 we qualified for the District Finals at Ft Worth and then to Region Finals in Oklahoma. She is most definitely in Horse Heaven.

When I was out of school I made the move to Denton, worked on the Cable Ranch for a while working with a trainer from Australia and the Ranch Forman 1972, from that period I did not own a horse.

I worked for Bechtal Corp. in Mississippi as a SS/Pipe fitter in the QC Dept., Brown and Root Inc. as a Pipe Quantity Control Clerk in Arkansas and Alabama until 1985. That is when my husband and I returned to the DeKalb, Texas area to raise cattle. We had horses but only used them for cattle work.

In 1997my husband bought a bay colt, Toro Moon Jet; he is Jet Toro-Easy Jet bred. This is when I started really getting back into horses again. Loving every minute of it! He was only 17 months old when we got him. So starting from the round pen I broke him out, he was really a laid back kind of colt. I enjoyed working with him nice and slow. He has lots of power and speed, a heart as big as they come, with a comical but very sensitive personality. His 1st year he won the 3D Reserve Champion in 2000-RRBRA, in 2001 2nd in the Open 3D NBHA TX17. We are now working on getting it all together. I am very proud of him being my 1st project, although we are still working on consistency. He is only a 6-year-old, a young horse for all he has accomplished.

Since my husband claimed the bay colt he bought me a gray 4 year old, “Song in the Sky“ an Easy Jet, GoManGo and Pie in the Sky, bred gelding. He was a wreck when I bought him, he reminded me of an over charged bunny rabbit! He didn’t like to be touched in any way, he was totally stressed out! I guess my heart went out to him; he was really a nice horse but needed to come down to earth.  When I got him home, I turned him out to pasture, he knew then, he was in heaven. I took him away from the barrels and arenas for 6 months we just pleasure rode and touched the ground again. Worked the round pen and started over with the basics.  Sky has really made a super nice horse for me, My Favorite!  We attended a Josey Clinic in 99 and a Ed and Martha Wright Clinic in 2000. He is a little hard headed about his way of doing things, but has become very competitive this year; he just turned 7years old in April, so I feel he is just now showing his potent ional to be a Winner.

Currently I have 2 other colts I am trying to find time for, a Rocket Wrangler 5 year old gelding and a 4 year old mare with Peppy San breeding. These will take a little longer, riding 4 horses and knowing I should go slower with them, keeping 2 legged up all the time; is work but most enjoyable to me.

The events or shows I most remember are at Athens, my first runs there I really enjoyed, being new to the Senior Classes 2001turned out to be a really lucky weekend, shows there are always special to me. I had wanted to return to Mesquite Arena for a very long time this year; we ran just 1 hole out of the money.

There has been great changes in the sport of barrel racing since I first started in 62, not only precise riding, very competitive, well bred horses of all performance levels and the opportunity for all riders to compete at the same events. It is wonderful that anyone can compete, watch and learn from some of the very top professionals in our sport, simply by being competitive and entering up! I have learned mostly by watching and studying runs by the riders I compete against.

I believe the equal payout is great, although I think the better riders and horses should win more of the purse. Most of us have to “make” our “great horses”; rather than buying them, which I firmly believe is the most rewarding.

I do not think of myself as a professional barrel racer, I do consider myself as a horsewoman that is truly devoted to her horses, the sport of barrel racing and friendships that have been established.  When I was much younger I wanted to be nothing but a professional rider and trainer, therefore I have much respect and admiration for those who have succeeded.  Some of my favorite professional teams are Kelly Yates and Firewater Fiesta, Charmayne James w/ Scamper and Cruiser, Kristie Peterson and Bozo, and Martha Wright and Kay Blandford.

For those that are beginning to compete I’m hoping that you never give up, always watch and learn from other professionals, take it slow and true with your training and basics, with total focus, learn from all mistakes and be your own fan-always!

I am happy with the fact that Barrel Racing is open to all, although I would like to see more women entering/winning in the Futurities. Also, would hope that the Barrel Racing Rodeo rules stand as they are.

I was very honored when I was contacted to submit this bio, although I do not fit your professional barrel racer status. I feel the ebarrelracing.com family has captured a very important and necessary tool for all of us. I never will forget the day I met Tamet not knowing I had been visiting w/ her on the phone when I was an officer of RRBRA and ran into her and family in Athens 2000. From that day to the present she has been a super special person to me, for her consistent kindness, supportiveness and friendship. Thank you Tamet and Bob. Wishing you all the success that is before you and ebarrelracing!