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No Grudges Here

There are few thoughts, if any, that I’ve had that weren’t on the back of a horse. My love, hate, passion, disappointment, apologies, excitement, dreams, prayers,regrets, have all happened here. It’s when I step down and out of the saddle that I have to take action and that’s always the vulnerable part. These animals feel everything we feel and yet they never hold a grudge for the burden. For that, I’m thankful. -Cowgirl Manifesto @2018

Book Review: Cowgirl Power: How to Kick Ass in Business and Life

Ok, I’ll just say it… I feel like a punk for not picking this book upimg_8780 sooner and making it a priority and more important than sleep. I have a lot of priorities and generally I run out of hours in the day long before I run out of “important things” to do, but If I knew that this gem of a book was as enlightening as it is, I would have forgone a nights sleep and read the entire thing… that night… because it really is that good.

As a “Cowgirl” in hiding that has worked in the corporate world for television syndicates like CBS and NBC, newspapers and now a company that provides services to non-profits across the country, I have found myself trying to hide my “cowgirl-ish-ness” more and more. When I first started my career, I thought that my Cowgirl-ish-ness was a valuable asset to the teams that I worked with, but the more and more meetings I attended, the more and more I realized that I needed to scale it back and put it where it belonged–in hiding. I resigned myself to thinking that most people just didn’t get it. My “go get it done” attitude was a culture that I understood, but maybe others didn’t. They wanted things done, but they wanted them done with little noise and few abrasions.

img_8782Now I’m not trying to say I was like ” a bull in a china shop,” because I wasn’t by any means.  I believed in being open, honest, to the point and I understood that things had to be done and said that some people might not like. As long as they were done thoughtfully, with kindness and lacked ill intention— well— then everyone’s wounds would eventually heal. I understood, that done was better than perfect. But despite that I could feel the tension. I wasn’t good at the office small talk and I was even told to slow down my work pace more than once, even though I was receiving great performance reviews and turning out good results.


So, I told my inner Cowgirl to calm down.

……Work like the others.

Now enters Gay Gaddis, author of Cowgirl Power: How to Kick Ass in Business and Life. Gay is the leading lady behind the major advertising firm, T3 (The Think Tank) and uses her experience in multiple positions within her career to show how her inner “Cowgirl” has helped her succeed and when and how she used it to be the best that she could be and –Kickass–. She starts off each section with an inspiring story of a historical Cowgirl figure and then leads into her own life story. There is not a chapter in this book that I did not find valuable. Plus, I learned some very interesting facts, like Annie Oakley’s real name and how she was married for decades.

I recommend this book to any woman or man in the business world. Whether you are in business for yourself or you work for a small business or major corporation. Gay’s stories are inspiring and will make you more confident about your decisions. She will also show you how important it is to build your case and show your worth. Step out into the dangerous wild west and go for the win in the arena.

Hold my Horse


Here hold my horse.

I’m hungry.

I’m thirsty.

I need to go to the bathroom.

It’s hot.

It’s cold.

The stalls need cleaned.

The horses need fed.

He’s not listening.

I hate him.

I love him.

Can we enter this?

Can we enter that?

The tack needs loaded.

When was the last time you cleaned his water?

Go ride your horse.

I’m tired.

So am I.

Do your homework.

Put his boots on.

Did you clean his feet?

We’re not going, unless you ride.


Unloading feed.


Miles upon Miles.



That was our best run ever.

Thank you.

Dear “I used to be in the 1D”
















Dear “I used to be in the 1D,”

I see you.

You stand in the alley quietly, as if invisible.

Loud chatter rolls by as you hear the latest and greatest cackle over their runs.

You think no one sees you.

But I do.

I remember when you were the “One.”

All you had to do was enter, pretty much always guaranteed a check.

It really wasn’t that long ago, but our sport moves on quickly and yesterday’s champions are barely noted.

Your saddle leather is worn, but because of its quality, it doesn’t look old.

You’ve moved past using your trophy tack because you know the win was so much more than a buckle, saddle, or breast collar.

You understand the magic of being humble, as you’ve seen the biggest talkers fall the hardest.

Every once in a while you will offer advice, but it seems to fall on deaf ears.

They ask for the alley to be cleared.

And you walk out.

Relaxed. Soft Handed. Graceful.

I see you.


The Cowgirl Manifesto

@2018 Copyright


We were together, I don’t remember the rest….

Our Elopement Ceremony

Bluff Dale, Tx

March 30th, 2018

N at Hardway Ranch

PC: Jo H Photography

Eight years after meeting and 6 months of planning the ceremony, we finally tied the knot!

Dear “I’ll Never Be In The 1D”

Dear “I’ll Never Be In The 1D”,

This is an open letter to you.

Let me start by saying I believe in you. I know you can because I have.

I know what it’s like to look in the mirror and feel like you’re not enough. Not a good enough rider. Not enough money. Not a big enough rig. Not a fancy bred horse. Not friends with a mucky muck trainer. Not popular enough. None of the fancy schmancy tack. Not able to go to all the races. Too far off the pace to even get noticed. Without the starched clothes and the latest fad style.

To look in the mirror and think I don’t have enough time. I’m not fit enough. I’m not talented enough. I don’t have the luck. I don’t have the connections. I have to work. There’s no way I can ride everyday. There’s no way I can ride before work. I need to take care of my family. My boss needs me to work overtime.

I can’t afford to go to the vet. The chiropractor. The dentist. The acupuncturist. The farrier. The Aquatred. The latest and greatest breathing treatment, NASA approved compression blanket, magnetic, ceramic therapy or the high powered lasers.

I don’t have access to the high octane formulated grains and supplements.

It just is what it is.

I am what I am.

I’ll never be in the 1D.


No Seriously.


Close your eyes and say this to yourself until you believe it.


And over.

And over.

I’m more capable than I give myself credit.

I’m the only one that needs to believe.

If I continue to move forward and try in good faith effort, I declare that I will accomplish my goals.

Now open your eyes.

And stop talking to yourself like a jerk.

You deserve better.

You deserve kindness.

Much Love,

The Cowgirl Manifesto

Product Review: Shoulder Relief Cinch

This product is the best product I have ever received for review!

I’m not just saying that… I’m naturally a skeptic and I didn’t think that this cinch was going to be much different than the standard cinch when properly placed behind the shoulder.

Surprisingly, I was wrong. I could tell that it was different after the first ride, but I wanted to put it in a number of scenarios before I sang from the top of a mountain.

So here I am, at the top of the mountain, singing the praises of this cinch, because it works and it works better than I expected.


Image Courtesy: Total Saddle Fit

Total Saddle Fit sent me their Shoulder Relief Cinch for review and I agreed because the cinch made sense to me. As an accomplished horse person who has been saddling her own horse for decades, it is not news to me that the saddle should sit behind the shoulder allowing the shoulder to move in its natural -locomotive- manner. Setting the saddle in its most optimal spot becomes a challenge when you have horses with long sloping shoulders and short backs, a common conformation combination in barrel horses. Then you have the horse with less than prominent withers and it becomes even more challenging. Lucky for me, I have a horse that has been blessed with all three of these anatomical elements, long sloping shoulder, short back and mutton withered. His conformation makes him extremely athletic, but also makes it a challenge when positioning the saddle. I ride him in a 9″ gullet Crown C Martin Barrel Saddle with a 13.5″ seat and a 3/4″ Todd Sloan Felt pad. The saddle has a tendency to roll and when I set it back behind the shoulder the off billet from the saddle to the cinch is often at an angle. This didn’t happen with the Shoulder Relief Cinch. when I cinched it up, the angle of the off billet was significantly reduced and the saddle was snug (not over-tightened, like I usually have to make it) and didn’t rock.

For the first ride, I just loped circles and did dry work. When I ofsZgnvVEDf7Gdgu.jpgwas done, I went to unsaddle him and much to my surprise, not only was the saddle in perfect position, it was actually in a better position than when I had saddled. It had naturally put the saddle where it needed to be. In an effort to put it in multiple scenarios before singing it’s praise, I also practiced the barrel pattern, made multiple competition runs and then also took my breastcollar off of the saddle to see if that made a difference. I was pleasantly surprised that it worked just as well in those scenarios as it did the others.

Along with the well thought-out executed design the cinch is made with a plush wool fleece liner than can be replaced/washed and has a roller buckle making it easier to tighten. The cinch is more expensive than your standard cinch ($140-$170), but they provide a 30 day guarantee and the replacement covers($20-$40) cost slightly less than a most standard cinches.

You can check our their page and order at


Image Courtesy: Image Hounds



Book Review: Convict Cowboys: The Untold History of the Texas Prison Rodeo

y6ctuJaaT8Lzjtfu.jpgThe story of the Texas Prison Rodeo is one that I will never forget.

And I will admit, I shed a tear as I read the last few words of this book.

Not because it was overemotional or even emotionally written, but instead, because I relate to the reality that the popularity of the sport of rodeo is dwindling and the extinction of Texas Prison Rodeo is an example of that. Although it has been gone for over 30 years, the history inside that arena will live on forever. Movie stars with hidden secrets, like John Wayne to all time greatest Country music artist George Strait performed there for attendees from all over the country. The events taking place in the dirt stirred up my rough stock were covered my national tabloids across the country.

U4NC0dCtpwOlKK9q.jpgBut, to me, that wasn’t the most intriguing part of it. For me, it was reality that the prisoners down on their luck from bad choices in their past, had something to look forward to and strive to be better at. This rodeo gave them hope. Hope, when they could not find it anywhere else. I think we can all relate to that, at least a little. When you are competing, it’s just you, in the moment. Nothing else in the world matters at that point. I’ve always been someone who pulls for the underdog and although these contestants were convicted criminals, I found solace in knowing that they were able to find that part of themselves that said, “I can be better.”

We all need that right.

You can pick up a copy of Convict Cowboys by Mitchel P. Roth at major book outlets and Amazon. It might make for a wonderful Christmas Present for history buffs and rodeo enthusiasts alike.

Thank you to the University of North Texas Press for the opportunity to review this book.




So let me tell you a little about Mary….

Barrel Horse News CoverTo say that Mary Burger is the hottest news this year in barrel racing after a clean sweep of the Pool A qualifiers and winning the Calgary Stampede and leading the world standings by $80,000, is no far fetch. It’s not hard to find a news headline talking about the 67 year old grandma who is giving these gals a run for their money, but let me tell you something… age has nothing to do with it.

She doesn’t even realize her age, it’s not something she thinks about much. Maybe that’s why she is so successful? This isn’t something that just came on later in life. She’s always been a champion, actually she’s been a world champion (AQHA) many times over and a (PRCA/WPRA) World Champion.

Two years ago, several people and I came together to get Mary inducted into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame. They have her listed as a Nominee, but she is yet to be inducted (hopefully soon, hint, hint, wink, wink to anyone from the Hall of Fame). I thought you all might be interested in her story that was submitted to the Hall of Fame, so here it is:

Profile Pic

photo courtesy: Springer


As one of the most accomplished barrel racers in professional history, Mary Burger has proven over the past 5 decades that it is not one horse or one world championship that determines the elite in the arena, but many. Mary’s extraordinary story starts as a small girl on a farm in Decatur, Indiana. One of six children, horses were commonly used on the farm and viewed as a tool. Her parents would have no idea that their young girl would “use” these horses as a means of walking again and provide her with a lifetime of career achievements.

At a young age, Mary was diagnosed with Perthes Disease, a condition of the hips that causes inflammation and arthritis like symptoms. Making it very painful and hard to get around, Mary was not able to play. Bound by crutches, her love for horses shined through. Her older brother says, “She was often seen throwing her crutches up in the air, pretending to rear.”  Left immobile, her father bought her a pony to help her get around. She rode that pony everywhere providing her a playful childhood, although partially disabled, and seeded a love and desire in her heart that has lasted a lifetime.Mary Young

A few years after the original diagnosis, Mary was able to recover from the condition with treatment. It is said that the riding helped her hips spread and allowed her to heal, but the love was still there, so her father bought her a paint horse for 4-h horse shows and that is how it all started. Her dedication and competitiveness was consistent throughout her teenage years winning consecutive all-around titles. It wasn’t long after that she would find her niche in the horse world–Barrel Racing.

Accomplishments in the Field (lifetime achievements)

Mary Burger can be considered one of the FIRST World Champion Barrel Racers. In 1974, in her late twenties Mary won both the Inaugural World Champion Junior Barrel Racing title and the Inaugural World Champion Junior Pole Bending title for the American Quarter Horse Association (an organization originally founded in Ft. Worth in 1940) on a horse named High Bars Wimpy. High Bars Wimpy, who was trained by Mary Burger pulled off winning world championships in the Junior horse division (5 and under) in both events, a challenge for any horse of that age and an accomplishment that is seldom accomplished by speed event horses, even to this day.

1981 CongressThese two World Championships would only be 2 of the 10 World Championships that Mary would win over the next 4 decades. The AQHA suffered a major loss after a fire destroyed their paper records which documented many of Mary’s other career successes prior to 1993. Major Career Highlights include:

1974 AQHA World Champion Junior Barrels- High Bars Wimpy

1974 AQHA World Champion Junior Poles- High Bars Wimpy

1984 Old Fort Days Futurity Reserve Champion

1985 Old Fort Days Derby Champion

1985 AQHA World Champion Senior Barrels  -Showum the Gold

1986 AQHA World Champion Senior Barrels – Showum the Gold

1996 AQHA World Champion Junior Barrels -Miss Mergie

2001 AQHA World Champion Junior Barrels- Rare Fred

2003 AQHA World Champion Senior Barrels- Rare Fred

2004 AQHA World Champion Senior Barrels- Rare Fred

2005 AQHA World Champion Senior Barrels- Rare Fred

2006 Women’s Professional Rodeo Association World Champion1986 BFA

3 Time National Finals Rodeo Qualifier (2006, 2008,2009)

1993 National Barrel Horse Assoc. Derby Champion- Bugged Policy

1995 Old Fort Days Barrel Futurity  Champion- Miss Mergie

2009 and 2016 Rodeo Houston Champion

2000 AQHA Reserve World Champion Junior Barrels- Maximas

2010 Named by Barrel Horse News as one of the top 12 Best Barrel Racing Teams of all Time

2006 Pace Picante ProRodeo Shootout Champion

Contributions Made to the Field

Derby Champion PhotoMary Burger was a woman ahead of her time in the early 70s. While most women winning on the circuit were from rodeo and horse show families, that was not the case for Mary.  Her family was made up of farmers and factory workers who didn’t stray far from their hometown of Decatur, Indiana. Her love for horses and competition would have her broaden her wings and with support from her family and her husband, Kerry, along with her young sons, Todd and Joe, she would put her bid in the ring.

Mary’s largest contribution to the sport of Barrel Racing and the idea of the American Cowgirl is her belief that if you are going to do something- you should do it well and be the best at it. Her technique of training horses with a kind and respectful hand may be what sets her aside from other barrels racers in the past or present. Mary is not one for gimmicks or quick fixes. Her technique is to provide consistent training opportunities for the horse to learn with consistent riding, proper care and exposure prior to competition. Throughout Mary’s decades of domination in the barrel racing world, she has proven over and over again raw dedication to the sport and the commitment you make to the effort, is what makes a champion. 10 World Championships and over a $1 million dollars in earnings have shown that this technique is effective and a direct contribution to the field of barrel racing.

Generally Mary starts with a young horse and trains it up to be a champion in the futurity, derby and rodeo arenas. This path alone is a challenging one. However, Mary not only is able to achieve this goal over and over on multiple horses, she does it with a riding style that looks effortless and with a minimalist philosophy. Most often you will see Mary running one handed and her horse with his head low and nose out.  Another one of Mary’s largest contributions to the sport is the sheer quantity of quality horses that she has trained that have gone on to win with other competitors.

She is nowhere near stopping any time soon. Mary at the age of 67, competes on one of the most competitive horses in the country, SadieFamousLastWords, who she bought as a two year old and trained herself using her techniques that have dominated the barrel racing world for many years.

Personal qualities (integrity, character, uniqueness)Rusty 4-H Horse

Humble, Kind, Compassionate…. That is how most people describe Mary Burger, whether they are meeting her for the first time or they have known her for decades. She is someone who mixes in with the crowd and is not boastful. She walks with the confidence of a champion, but in her ever approachable manner can be often seen posing for people in pictures and talking with the future champions of the sport. She is often available to offer small bits of wisdom and advice to those who solicit her expertise. These are all qualities that define a “true” champion. Mary’s relationships with her equine partners are special and unique, all in their own. These relationships are based on trust, respect, and compassion. Trust that both her and her horse will do their best every time they enter the arena, an unspoken promise that Mary and her equine athlete make to each other. Respect that each will do what is requested of the other and compassion that if something goes wrong, they will fix the problem and move on to the next competition. Integrity is what carries a cowgirl like Mary Burger over 5 decades of domination in the arena. Integrity to continue on with a sport despite its growth and evolution, integrity to continue on with an animal, integrity to continue despite age, and most of all, integrity to follow a dream of a young girl in Decatur, Indiana.Barrel Horse News Cover






Cowboy Comfort Food

Sometimes on a lazy Saturday, simple cowboy comfort food is the way to go and that’s the road I took this morning.

Sausage Biscuits and Gravy was on the menu this morning and it’s often my alternate to our standard two-two-two, which is two eggs over easy, two pieces of turkey bacon and two pieces of toast. On most days I make two-two-two and I’m lucky because it takes less than 10 minutes and I live with someone who will eat it every day.

I was scared to death of gravy when I first started making this but it’s not that hard, if you have some patience and are willing to use a low flame. I don’t have time to slave in the kitchen all day, so you will be relieved to know that I cut some corners. For example the biscuits are just the pre-made biscuit cans and the turkey sausage (we eat turkey instead of pork because of studies saying it’s healthier) is pre-cooked. Feel free to make everything from scratch as you feel necessary, I just like meals I can cook in less than 30 minutes.

Ingredients (2 servings)

One can of biscuit dough (2 biscuits per person)

4 tablespoons Butter

4 tablespoons Flour

8 cups Almond Milk or Regular Milk

Pre-cooked Sausage added to gravy as desired (it’s about 2 cups)

Salt and Pepper

1. Add butter to pan and put on medium-low heat, melt butter, make sure you don’t burn it. It should be fluffy bubbly.

1a. Preheat oven as instructed on flour can.

2. Reduce flame to low, add flour, sprinkle over butter, don’t just drop it in the pan, the plan is to infuse the flour into the butter making a paste, do this slowly, add one tablespoon at a time and use a wooden spoon (I don’t know why it works better with a wooden spoon) and blend the flour in with the butter. It should be a bubbly paste.

2b. Put Biscuits in oven and bake as instructed.

3. Slowly add milk, make the paste thinner and thinner with the milk, put in about a 1/4 cup at a time and mix with wooden spoon, continue until all milk is gone. Continue heating (you can increase the flame slightly at this point) until it is the texture of a gravy. Add Salt and Pepper to taste. Add sausage until warm.

3b. Check Biscuits and pull out when golden brown.


Helpful hints:

Test out your gravy making skills before inviting over friends. If you mess up on your practice runs, it’s not a huge deal. You are probably only out about $.75 per practice session.

Know your oven. Mine is old and cooks unevenly. I don’t go by the time on the can. I just watch the color. About 75% of the way through baking I have to turn the sheet around to brown the biscuits on the front side of the oven.

Watch the texture of the gravy. If, when making the the gravy, the paste turns gold you have the flame too high. If you feel like you don’t need to add more flour, then don’t. If you feel like you shouldn’t add anymore milk, then don’t.


Farewell Fiesta….

Legendary barrel horse and barrel horse matriarch Firewater Fiesta passed away Saturday (1/16/16) at the age of 22. Best known for her catty and consistent style around a barrel, Fiesta earned herself a Reserve World Championship PRCA/WPRA title in 2000, AQHA/PRCA Barrel Horse of the Year twice and was awarded the WPRA Horse With The Most Heart. She made it to the NFR a total of three times. Her career transition from barrel horse to broodmare occurred early, at the age of 9, after injuries plagued her from a fall in the first round of the 2001 NFR.

She was expected to win the World Championship that year. Her then trainer, jockey and owner, Kelly Yates is quoted as saying, “It didn’t just break my heart…. It broke everyone’s heart that was watching TV……She deserved to be a World Champion… me she is a World Champion” ( Fiesta returned to the NFR in 2003, but was retired shortly after winning over $800,000.

Epic Leader Property: Schiller Ranch

Epic Leader Property: Schiller Ranch

As a broodmare she was equally successful, producing Epic Leader who’s lifetime earnings are over $168,000 in a futurity/derby time span and Fiesta Del Rey, AQHA Junior Barrels World Champion.  She has owns sons and daughters on the ground in Brazil and the United States by Dash Ta Fame, Playgun, Corona Cartel, A Streak of Fling, PYC Paint Your Wagon, Confederate Leader, Dual Rey, and Royal Shake Em, Popular Resort Figure, Iron Eyes Doc, and Hot Corona.

The 1994 gray mare by legendary barrel horse sire, Firewater Flit and out of Mighty Mindy was bred by Yates’ parents and was in barn fire as a two year old. Yates credits the trust she gained from the horse after that accident, for the strong bond between them.


“My favorite gift was Firewater Fiesta”, “She was 5 years old, and my parents transferred her into my name and put her papers in a card and handed it to me. That was my best and favorite gift I will ever get in my life”. -Kelly Yates (Barrel Horse News)



Special for No Reason Breakfast

So the pickings at my house right now are pretty slim. I’m doing my best to not just run to the grocery store weekly to buy what I “want” to eat, rather than what I have in the house. So this morning in an effort to make something different with what was in the house I made Strawberry Waffles and Scrambled Eggs. It actually turned out pretty good. I have to give Pinterest the credit for this meal because the me before Pinterest existed, would have never been able to make this. Even though it’s super simple.

I’m almost ashamed of the ingredients for this breakfast because I would love to tell you that it was all from scratch and all organic, but that was not the case, actually not even close.

Ingredients (2 people):

Waffle Mix

Yellow Cake Mix 1/2 of bag

1/3 cup of vegetable oil

2 eggs for the batter

Strawberry Sauce

2 cups of sliced strawberries

1 Tablespoons of Sugar

Scrambled Eggs

2 Eggs

salt and Pepper to taste

So start out by cleaning and cutting the strawberries. Mine were starting to go bad and so I needed to get rid of them. Making a sauce with them is perfect because you can’t tell that they were a little soft when I started cooking them. Set the strawberries aside.

Mix the cake mix, oil, and eggs in a medium bowl. I had to play with the oil to cake mix ratio a little bit to get it the consistency of waffle batter. One you have it all mixed up, spoon the batter into the waffle maker.  Because the batter is a little thicker than normal, make sure you have the maker on a lower setting (mine was on 4) and that you don’t over fill the waffle slots. If you fill them up too much then they won’t cook all the way through. Also because they are thicker I had to cook mine for a cycle and a half. So once the buzzer goes off, keep them in there for a few more minutes. It may take you a couple times to figure it out. Once you have those started and figured out you can start the strawberry sauce.

To make the strawberry sauce put the strawberries in a small frying pan over low heat and sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon of sugar. Let the strawberries cook until they have a sauce like consistency. You will need to mix the sauce every couple of minutes.

Once you have finished all of the waffles set those aside (I put mine in the microwave to keep warm) and start the eggs. Most people probably don’t need instructions on how to make scrabbled eggs but just in case you do (like I would have needed about 5 years ago) here they are. Add a 1/2 tablespoon of butter to the pan and  break the eggs in a small frying pan on low/medium heat. Then scramble with the spatula and season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep scrambling until cooked through. If they brown too much then you have the flame too hot.

Once the strawberry sauce is a saucey consistency then you are done. Place the the waffles on the plate, poor the strawberry sauce on top and serve the eggs on the side. It took me about 15 minutes to make.
Happy Eats Y’all!

What if I told you….

What if I told you, that I have cried more tears than I have celebrated victories in this game of barrel racing, and I’ve had to fight harder than I ever imagined in order to keep playing this game, and it has shaped my life from the very beginning. Would you believe me if I told you, it was worth it? #cowgirlmanifesto

Image Courtesy: Image Hounds

Image Courtesy: Image Hounds

Image Courtesy: Image Hounds

Filling Hearts and Permits

I remember the first time I ever thought about barrel racing at a professional level. I was about 12 or 13 years old and my cousin handed me a weathered copy of Women’s Pro Rodeo News from the baseboard of her truck. At the time it was not the glossy print magazine that it is today. It was a newspaper, with torn edges and rodeos circled with pen. I had never been so excited.  It was the first time that I had ever looked at the newspaper and read about the champions of that day. The entry information for the scheduled rodeos seemed like a road map for the path that I wanted to take in my life. The opportunities seemed endless and just what I wanted to advance from the Playdays and Jr. Rodeos I had attended since I was 8. What I didn’t know, was that it was going to be a lot harder to get started let alone be successful in this sport.

I wasn’t really born into a rodeo or horse family. My cousin (more like my aunt) ran barrels and my grandfather owned race horses, but for the most part we were “Beach” people. Despite the trips to the beach, sun bathing and walking “the strand”, (a long walkway along the Southern California Coast), I loved horses and everything having to do with horses. Even to this day when I go the beach, it just looks like a great place to long trot.

In the late 90’s (when I was in my teens) the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association changed the minimum age for a contestant to 18, putting pressure on me to make a decision on becoming a member or not. I knew the rule was going into effect and despite not really having a plan to rodeo or a horse that was truly competitive, I bought my first WPRA Permit at 15 and was grandfathered into the association despite the age change. Applying for a permit was not as easy as it is today. Email was something new and they still used hard paper applications that you sent with your birth certificate, a head shot and the appropriate fee. For those of you that don’t know, “filling your permit” is the first step to becoming a “card holder” in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association. You must win $1,000 on your permit before you are eligible to get a “card.” Some people may say that if you want “to be somebody” in this sport, you must have a “card.”

So here is my confession, that I’m neither proud of nor ashamed of either.

It took me nearly 20 years to fill my permit.

Yes, 20 years!

Not one day goes by that I don’t realize that even on the days I didn’t win money (and there were a lot of them) that I didn’t learn something. I also know this learning process is far from over, nor will it ever be.

You see, some girls who have a lot of money backing them, the grace of a great horse and perfect timing (or any one of those things) have a lot of us girls banging our heads up against a wall. The fact is that they make it look so easy. I’m not holding anything against them. There is one thing about the clock…. and it’s that it doesn’t care how much you paid for your horse and all of your equipment, truck and trailer, we all lose the same.

It’s just, that it can a be a lot to swallow when you are that girl, that one girl who wants nothing more than to just reach this benchmark in your professional career and keep hitting roadblocks and adversity. It’s funny because you are more likely to hear about the girl who filled it in one weekend than you are to hear about the girl who took years. It’s almost like something that no one talks about. A friend of mine and I were talking at a rodeo last weekend and we just racked it up to when God wants it, he’ll make it happen and funny thing was…. that once I accepted this fact, that is when I started winning money.

So…. Here’s a look at the 20 year path… not recommended, but completely worth it.

1996 Bought a permit and didn’t go to one rodeo.

4 Year Old Gun In A Bar Running the Fastest time of the Weekend out of 650 runs, Filling my WPRA Permit

4 Year Old Gun In A Bar Fastest Run of the Weekend out of 650 runs, Filling my WPRA Permit

1997-1999 Bought a permit, no money won. Went to maybe 15 rodeos total over the 3 years.

2000, I won my first Rodeo Check at California Rodeo Salinas with a borrowed truck, trailer and horse…. but it didn’t count because it was a Temporary Permit. Temporary Permits were a fraction of the cost of a national permit. You were allowed to go to 5 rodeos a year, but none of the earnings counted towards your national permit. The borrowed horse that I rode was sold after showing she could hang with the “toughs.”

2001 No permit bought.

2002 Didn’t win any money, maybe went to 5 rodeos.

2003 Placed at a rodeo on a 5 year old that I trained and won some money at WPRA approved barrel races

2004 Placed at WPRA approved barrel races, ran the same horse as the previous year, but he was diagnosed with permanent joint disease late in the season.

2005-2011 Did not buy a permit

2012 Bought permit, but no money won. Was one hole out of the money at one rodeo by 1 hundredth of a second, riding a 5 year old that I trained.

2013 Placed at a rodeo splitting the last hole, earning $34 on one of the horses that I trained in 2011.

2014 Placed at WPRA approved races on a client’s horse that I trained.

2015 Placed at WPRA approved races to fill my permit on a 4 year old futurity horse.

Now, some may say, “who cares if you do or don’t fill your WPRA permit?”, but it was something that I’ve wanted to accomplish and I expected to do it a lot sooner than I did. In the time that I was attempting to fill my permit, I finished high school, graduated from college, started a career, and moved and lived in three different states. I know there are others out there that feel like they are the only ones struggling, but I promise you, you aren’t.

I thought long and hard about writing this post and I figured that most people would find this more comical than inspiring, but just in case there is one other person out there who needs to know that there are others struggling with meeting this benchmark, well then I figure it was worth it.

You will want to give up a million times and you will question why you are trying so hard, but as long as you feel it in your heart, keep getting up every morning and going to work.

I promise you won’t regret it.

Super Supplement Garden

Every six months or so I have to face the stack of empty supplement buckets in my feed room. I hate throwing them away because it seems like such a waste and every once in a while someone asks if I have a bucket and I always feel like a super hero when I say, “Yes, I do! I’ll be right back” and I return with the bucket in hand. But after a while, they stack up and they are taken out to the curb to be picked up.

I’ve always wanted a garden although I don’t know if I can actually grow anything. I have horses covered, I know how to keep those alive, but plants well I’ve just never tried. After pinning two years worth of garden ideas, I’ve come to the conclusion that a container garden may be the perfect match for me. After all I have all these buckets…. So today I took the first step to repurposing the supplement buckets and seeing if I have any sort of green thumb!

The old potatoe sacks I bought at a junk show that came to town for the weekend, but I got the idea after seeing a stack of them while at a farm supply store in Ft. Smith, Arkansas when I was up there for the Old Fort Days Futurity. Since I bought them from the junk show the gal had tied them with raffia which added a nice finishing touch to the buckets. I had to cut the sacks down the back and the middle to fit around the bucket. I think the ones I bought were smaller bags. When I went to go buy the plants at Home Depot they had roles of weed barrier with no color that were made out of the same material for a fraction of the price.  
I drilled holes in the bottom because that seemed like something that I should do.

Then added potting soil and the plants

Ta da!!! All done!

You may be a Basic Barrel Racer…. If….

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?


Thoughts from The Arena

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