Kylie Whiteside

Words of Wisdom

For some barrel racers, the choice to go pro can be a challenging decision. However, sometimes it really may be just a head game. Photo by Deanna Buschert

 

Recently I wrote a post on the sacrifices and challenges of going pro. I’m taking that a step further with these interviews with some of the elite barrel racers in the Canadian Pro Rodeo Association, wherein I’ve asked them what it honestly takes. Here is what they had to say:

Nancy Csabay, Canadian Finals Rodeo & Calgary Stampede Qualifier

“Do you ever really know you and your horse are ready to go pro? The answer for me was always – somedays, yes, somedays, no. Whether I am rodeoing amateur or pro, barrel racing, in general, is a head game. If my head was in the game, I did well. If I decided to just go to a handful of rodeos during the year, I had a hard time competing with the girls who went to three a weekend. But what did I expect? Could I really compete? Of course I wanted to be the one who could go to the minimum amount of rodeos and still make the Canadian Finals Rodeo. But in reality, that wasn’t going to happen for me. I needed to make several runs to get “with” my horse.

So, last year I said to my husband, Tony, I think I’m going to do my best to make the finals, but I can’t do it just going to a few rodeos. I have to commit and go to the majority of them, and thankfully it worked out. As I get older, I am realizing it isn’t about the outcome, the CFR, but about the journey. Don’t get me wrong, the CFR is great and am grateful I got to go, but in the end, do you know who has won the CFR 10 years ago? It is not as important to me as I let it be years ago. Barrel racing is something I love to do, it doesn’t define who I am.

Nancy Csabay and her horse Whicked, at the 2013 Calgary Stampede. Photo By Deanna Buschert

 

Money, money, money…if I can’t afford to do something, I don’t do it. Barrel racing is expensive as you already know that if you are going amateur. So I ask myself, can I afford to enter this rodeo? Can I afford the fuel to get there? If the answer is yes, I go. But if I am afraid the answer may be no, I stay home. That way there is no pressure for me or my horse to perform. The competition is incredible nowadays, so any added pressure will make my job harder. I think horses are running faster and girls are making less mistakes in their runs. The amateur associations are getting larger entries and are as tough as the pro’s. The difference is that in the amateurs, a barrel racer may be able to have a mistake in her run and still place near the bottom. In the pros, if a mistake is made, usually I am donating my money that day, in my opinion. Am I ready to donate my money? ”

Cranna Roberts and Mooney running for home at the 2013 Calgary Stampede. Photo by Deanna Buschert

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Pro Rodeo Competitor Cranna Roberts, a Canadian Finals Rodeo and Calgary Stampede qualifier and owner/rider of “Mooney” Horse with the most Heart

“Driving time. There is a lot more drive distance between rodeos. Scheduling flexibility – there are many rodeos during week. The variables don’t really change from amateur to pro (ground set up etc.) it’s still a rodeo and it’s the pressure you put on yourself that is the actual change. It’s about being mentally tough and knowing you belong. Maintain focus on the variables that you can control. Like not getting caught up in who’s who or what there doing, stay focused on making it your race. Knowing that you are ready to go would be – believing in yourself, your horse and program. You won’t know until you try and it’s always good to challenge yourself. Don’t let fear or circumstances get in the way- you do have the permit and semi pro steps are inevitable to get your feet wet and give it a go. With a commitment like this, it is very important to have a support team to overcome obstacles that will inevitably come your way. And to cheer on success.”

I thank Nancy and Cranna for taking the time to write, and share with everybody openly on what it is like to compete at the level they are at. They each have great points of reality, as well as points for physical, and mental preparation. I have great respect for these ladies, and am grateful that I have been able to run with them both over the past several years.

Best of luck to everyone, and thank you for reading!

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