You may be a Basic Barrel Racer, if you are guilty of any of the following statements…
#1 You’ve ever taken a picture of a Starbucks Coffee with your horse trailer in the background.
#2 You’ve ever cleaned stalls in Victoria Secret Pink anything.
#3 You’ve ever posted a picture of an inspirational quote about “struggle” in your $100,000 horse trailer
#4 You’ve ever posted a picture of a blown tire trailer
#5 You’ve broken up with a guy because he didn’t understand why you spent so much money on your horse
#6 You’ve posted a picture of your truck parked and patted yourself on the back for doing such a good job.
#7 You’ve ever referred to yourself as a gypsy.
#8 You make fun of your friends who are getting married and having kids
#9 Your number one go to excuse is, “I’m living the Dream!”
#10 You’ve ever posted any barrel racing videos that start with the words, “I’m so proud,” “I’m so excited,” or “I can’t believe.”
I’m definitely guilty of a few of these… If you can’t laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at?
When the Racer’s Edge show about barrel racing debuted several weeks ago on RFDTV I made sure that my DVR was set to record. The first episode which featured the ups and downs of life with Sherry Cervi was intriguing and compelling. I was excited to see the inside story, but a little disappointed to find that most of the show was from an interview that was released by Classic Equine months (maybe even a year) before. Having said that, it was still very touching, realistic and authentic and I know that not everyone has seen the Cervi interview in which she talks about the struggle of losing her husband Mike Cervi in a tragic plane wreck.
Since then I have watched several more of the episodes and I wanted to wait and watch a couple more before I wrote a review. As many of you know, I’m a advocate of anything that promotes the sport of barrel racing, even to the point that I have given more than generous reviews of shows like Texas Women and Rodeo Girls.
By far, Racer’s Edge is the best barrel racing show out there to date! In the beginning I was worried that the girls wouldn’t tell the real stories of life on the road, but was very happy to see that was not the case. I have to give Jordan (Peterson) Briggs credit for telling the story about how she left her two dogs at a gas station in Wyoming and wasn’t able to get one of them back for several weeks after a long exhaustive search. This is real life. If you’ve ever hauled late nights and long hours you know that it’s very easy to do. I can’t tell you how many times I have turned around to look in my backseat to make sure my dog was there and I don’t haul nearly as much as these girls.
So far the “Pets” episode is one of my favorites, yes I know, it’s not about barrel racing, but it’s about these barrel racers’ lives and their pets are a very large part of it. If you don’t believe it, believe me, I’ve had a hauling partner late to pick me up because she decided to stop and get her dogs some tater tots at Sonic. What I think people need to remember also is that you have to look at this show for the little stuff that you are going to pick up. For example, the little mention that Sherry gave about placement of her curb strap on her bridle. A person would normally have to pay a hefty lesson fee to have something like that brought up. It may seem like something small, but if you have ever paid for lessons or clinics you know that it’s not the whole weekend or lesson that you pay for, it’s the handful of tips and tools that you go home with. Also, the emotional recap of Jana Bean’s first NFR experience and Lisa Lockhart’s testimony of what is takes to be a winning barrel racer were among the highlights of that episode.
The exercise and physical fitness episode was refreshing because I’ve noticed over the years that the people that win and consistently are in the winners circle take this seriously and they hold themselves and their horses to the same standard. I know that in other forums people have brought up the fact that Ryann Pedone said that she started her exercise regimen because she felt like she wasn’t as athletic as some of the other barrel racers. I met Ryann for the first time in 2010 and I can tell you the girl is athletic as all get out. She can probably ride up over a horse more balanced than most and I’m always amazed how she can stay two handed nearly to the back side of a barrel and never get pitched forward. What is amazing about Ryann is her humble spirit.
Tonight will seal the deal on who makes it back to The American Rodeo at Cowboy’s Stadium in Arlington on March 1, 2015, making these contestants one step closer to a chance at winning a Million dollars. So far, out of 115 contestants that competed in the original slack go of The American Semi-Finals, there are only 10 left to run out of the top 30. The top ten out of the Shootout round will then advance to The American and compete against the top 10 from the NFR.
This format is the most exciting out there today. It gives barrel racers a chance at big time money who may not have an opportunity to run in the WPRA/PRCA. This format also allows kids and men to compete opening up the opportunity to even more contestants. The best part of this rodeo, along with the large sum of money up for grabs is that we are basically betting the favorites (NFR crowd) that they can’t beat the underdogs (Qualifiers)… and who doesn’t love a long shot?
But it’s not that simple and don’t think for a second that these Qualifiers aren’t having to go through the ringer for the opportunity at running at this money. Also, I’m pretty hard pressed to say that the qualifiers are long shots. The qualifier pool is made up of some of the best barrel racers and barrel horses in the world, World Champions, Futurity Champions, Youth Champions and in some of their cases… a lot….a lot of money.
The qualifier’s journey started by paying a $500 entry fee at one of the (11) qualifier races that were held across the country. At that race they had to end up in the top ten to qualify for the semi-finals. The semifinals which are happening now in Ft. Worth, Texas started with a slack round of all of the qualifiers from across the country. Each person gets one run and to advance to the next round (shootout) they had to end up in the top 30 of the 115. The top 30 were then split up into 3 performances of 10 each. After that run (the last performance this evening Sunday 2/22), the top 10 advance to The American Rodeo in Dallas. Once at The American they will run against the top 10 from the NFR. Everyone will get one run and the top four then make it to the Final Round to run for a clean slate. There are also two exemptions that will be allowed to run.
So now that I have you thoroughly confused you, it breaks down to this: The top 10 NFR girls are going to show up and compete against the Top 10 Qualifiers who have made 3 runs of their life (assuming that they only went to one qualifier which is not the case for most of these contestants, a good size group went to at least two). The champion will win $100,000 and the reserve champion will win $25,000. In the case that the champion came from the Qualifiers, they will place themselves in a pot for the chance to win $1,000,000.
Right now the Semi-Finals is being led by 9 year old Chayni Chamberlain on a grey gelding with a time of 13.907. Dat Flowin Bunny is a consistent horse that has been ridden by 3 generations of ladies, Chayni, Chayni’s Mother and Grandmother. Chayni has a direct advantage with her size and also her innocence. You can tell by the young girls glow and spirit that she is out to have fun and soak “it” all in, the Million Dollars is an after thought. The fact that she weighs 50-100 lbs lighter than an average adult barrel racer is helping her. On the flip side, she doesn’t have the experience that these other contestants have, but her consistent horse with a million dollar heart may not even make that a contributing factor.
The following contestants are headed into tonight’s round: Steffani Mather, Megan Swint, Tana Poppino, Kathy Grimes, LaTricia Duke, Taylor Jacob, Kelsie Miller, Jacie Etbauer, Sharin Hall, and Joy Wargo
The top 10 after two performances are:
Chayni Chamberlain 13.907, Carmel Wright 14.005, Lindsey McCloud 14.040, Jane Melby 14.066, Callahan Crossley 14.090, Jackie Jatzlau 14.104, Destri Davenport 14.134, Shelly Anzick 14.153, Adeline Nevala 14.242, Sabre O’Quinn 14.271
RFDTV Sunday, January 22nd 1:00 pm EST | The American Semi-Finals Round Two
RFDTV Sunday, January 22nd 3:00 pm EST | The American Semi-Finals Round Three
So you think Steve Coburn is a sore loser?
If he is anything like the man that I think he is, then he doesn’t really care what you think.
What he cares about is his family, his horse, and the people who helped his horse achieve greatness.
He also probably cares about racing fans as a whole, but I don’t think he cares whether you put a label on him or not.
I have to commend Steve for speaking his mind (even though I don’t think they should change the Triple Crown format). In this scoreless soccer world that we live in, what would have been the benefit of him just saying what everyone wanted to hear and then walking away? Yes, they would have said, he handled it with “class.” But really, I don’t think he cares if you think he is “classy” either.
This is a man that got one chance to make history. He probably won’t be in any position to make that statement again for the rest of his life and in that moment he decided that is what he wanted to say, so he said it. He may regret it now because of the backlash that it caused and the big grey cloud that it put over his horse and his supporters, but I have to give it to him, at least he said what was on his mind.
My feelings are that people like Steve don’t really care if you think they are “Sore Losers,” just like they don’t care if you think they are “classy.” They are all just labels. The same type of labels that were put on him for investing in a losing mare and then investing in breeding that losing mare to a lack-luster stallion and then believing that he could have a Triple Crown contender as a result of that.
So why would he start caring about your labels now? His apologetic interview this morning on Good Morning America is just another example of exactly what he cares about and his opinion of how the Triple Crown is achieved is only second to those things that matter to him…. his wife, his horse, his partners, his friends, and racing fans as a whole.
It was on this day, that Karen Wyatt headed down the alley on her black gelding Dashton aka Ash, like she had done many times before. He headed into the Glen Rose Expo Arena with his ears perked and at full attention. Getting a stride away from the first barrel, he rated beautifully with his nose tipped to the inside, positioned perfectly to make what could have been a perfect turn. Instead, the crowd heard a pop that sounded almost like an overreach, but was as loud as a rifle. He took several more strides, trying to complete the turn and the job he was sent into the arena to do. The crowd gasped and yelled, as Karen tried frantically to pull him up and get off of him. While he hobbled on three legs, she hung half way off of him with her foot stuck in the stirrup. Someone from the crowd, yelled for a barrel setter in the arena to help her. Several people came to her aid. The music was turned off, all talking in the arena turned to a whisper. The loudest thing heard were the hundreds of hearts breaking all at once.
I can’t imagine what she is going through. I don’t know if I would ever be able to bounce back from something this tragic. I love this sport and we all know that accidents happen, but I just can’t even imagine. So many awful things happen in this lifetime and we don’t know why they happen to us or for that matter why they even happen at all. There was no bad step that I could see, the ground was safe, he was in the right position. Of all of the conditions that “could have been” I wouldn’t have thought that this could have ever happened to anyone at this race.
We take chances, every time we get in our car, get on our horse, or make a decision on any given day. We try to prevent everything we can from going wrong and yet still we have no power when it comes to these types of outcomes. Life is precious. I think that is why it is so important that we do what we love and love what we do. Because in an instant, it could be over. I have yet to run into a stronger group of people than barrel racers, they are hard working people with kind hearts. They always seem to bounce back and they are a true reflection of a true America. Stories of their perserverance are around every corner. I’ve had to tell myself in the past that barrel racing is not what defines me, which I believe is still very true. However, I can not deny that most barrel racers can be defined in a certain way. They are strong, dedicated, compassionate, loving and hard working. It is with this in mind that I can’t imagine ever NOT bouncing back from a tragedy like this.
15 year old Dashton (Ash) stood there patiently in the arena as they took his saddle off and splinted his leg up. He was under the immediate care of two vets within minutes of the accident happening. A large stock trailer was pulled into the arena and he was loaded up. The x-rays showed that his hock was shattered. Karen made one of the hardest decisions there is to make in life and put him down. She hauled him home and buried him this morning.
I hope she finds comfort in knowing there are hundreds, if not thousands, of people who are shedding tears and thinking about her today. I hope she finds comfort in knowing that.
Karen and Ash ran in the Texas Senior Pro Rodeo Association this last summer and fall, finishing Reserve Champion for the year end. Friends say that they have never seen Karen happier on a horse. The Jurassic Classic producers gave Karen the Julie Swanson memorial buckle that was going to be given to the fastest time for the weekend. Wow, I can’t wait to get to heaven. We’re going to have one heck of a barrel race someday!
“….I risk my life every time I climb on a horse. I’m not afraid. Neither are they. I want to win, just like they do. It’s true. The last horse I rode ran so hard his heart burst. But it’s who they are. And it’s who I am.” –(movie) Ronnie Turcotte, Secretariat
1. Chayni Chamberlin 13.907
2. Carmel Wright 14.005
3. Lindsey McCloud 14.040
4. Jane Melby 14.066
5. Callahan Crossley 14.090
6. Jackie Jatzlau 14.104
7. Destri Davenport 14.134
8. Shelly Anzick 14.153
9. Sharin Hall 14.229
10. Adeline Nevala 14.242
I know a lot of you gals are dreaming of Texas. I know I used to, but I don’t have to anymore because I moved here 5 years ago. It was the best decision I ever made other than going to college and falling in love with barrel racing. I’ve also lived in Colorado and New Mexico and I can say there really is nothing like this state.
If you ever move here, I want to help you with your transition so I’ve provided you this list in an effort to help you not stick out when you finally make the big move.
#1 Don’t say “y’all”! It never comes out natural and you will never sound like a Texan when you say it. I’m not saying that you should go around screaming that you are an outsider, just know that “y’all” doesn’t flow well with “like” and “you guys.” You can add a drawl to your “bye” and “oil” and no one will know the difference.
#2 Gravy in Texas is like Guacamole is in California. You don’t need an excuse to put it on anything and if you can make it from scratch and make it taste delicious, then you will be an instant celebrity.
#3 No one here knows what a thigh gap is….. This is a perfect and wonderful thing.
#4 They are called exhibitions not time-onlies and if you want one you better start standing in line at the entry office at least two hours before it opens.
#5 Hay is called Hay and Grain is called Feed. Everyone “Feeds” twice a day and that includes grain.
#6 Hay is mostly two stranded and you will curse a three strand bale after you realize how much easier it is to move a smaller bale.
#7 Hot is considered anything over 95. Cold is considered anything under 60. Get used to it.
#8 Ice is worse than snow.
#9 You will need approximately 3 head of horses if you want to go to every barrel race within a 50 miles radius.
#10 Summer is tire blowing season. Get your tires checked in the spring and learn how to change your own tires.