Kylie Whiteside

46th Annual Quesnel Rodeo

Quesnel Rodeo

Micaiah Gordon, Elijah Gordon and Lane Paley catch a “wild ride” in the newest event, Wild Pony Racing. ~ Photo by Jennifer Hohmann

The anticipation of watching talented rodeo athletes in action brought in a full sized crowd to Alex Fraser Park for the 46th Annual Quesnel Rodeo. One of the most popular rodeos on the BC Rodeo Association schedule, the Quesnel Rodeo consists of three full performances and a Saturday morning slack.

BCRA office manager, Denise Swampy reports that in total, Quesnel Rodeo entries were up from last year; Ladies Barrel Racing entries alone saw an increase of just over 35% from 2011. While entries vary somewhat from rodeo to rodeo, Swampy says “For the most part, 2012 numbers have been about the same as 2011”.

The anticipation of watching talented rodeo athletes in action brought in a full sized crowd to Alex Fraser Park for the 46th Annual Quesnel Rodeo.  One of the most popular rodeos on the BC Rodeo Association schedule, the Quesnel Rodeo consists of three full performances and a Saturday morning slack.

BCRA office manager, Denise Swampy reports that in total, Quesnel Rodeo entries were up from last year; Ladies Barrel Racing entries alone saw an increase of just over 35% from 2011.  While entries vary somewhat from rodeo to rodeo, Swampy says “For the most part, 2012 numbers have been about the same as 2011”.

Advertising, sponsorships and spectators help to keep rodeos “in business”.     Quesnel Rodeo Club member, Mel Petersen, supplied some background on the club’s efforts to encourage spectator attendance as well as promoting the Quesnel Rodeo.

“For the past three years the club has been doing radio ads in Vanderhoof and Prince George for our July Rodeo and the BCRA Finals Rodeo held in September.  In addition to the radio ads, each morning of the week prior to the rodeo, both radio stations have been doing an on-air rodeo promotion contest called “A Rodeo Weekend Getaway in Quesnel”.  The winner and one guest receive a prize package consisting of:  two nights of accommodation at the Sandman Hotel, dinner at the Shark Club Bar & Grill, breakfast at Denny’s, VIP Rodeo Passes, Barn Dance tickets and a four hour trail ride with Martin Dillabough at the Triple J Ranch.”

“Carol Gass, the morning DJ in Prince George advised me that when they are doing this contest, they are inundated with callers.  So far, every contest winner has been very excited about winning and very impressed with the friendliness of our city and had a great time in Quesnel. “

Petersen sums it all up, “Given the number of people who were at the rodeo from both Vanderhoof and Prince George, it appears that our promotion in these communities is paying off.”

Barrel racing is my favorite event.  Over the years, barrel racing has evolved into big time money, where the payouts rival the men’s events and a rider can win or lose by one thousandth of a second.  The horses are fine tuned athletes who become as famous as their riders and successful bloodlines demand top dollar in the horse market.

The weekend of July 20, 21 and 22, barrel racers traveled from all over BC to compete in the fast paced action at the Quesnel Rodeo.  This year, the “Southern Girls” won the top honors:  Laura James (Kamloops, BC) laid claim to a first place finish in the Ladies Barrel Racing and $1,259.28 when she stopped the clock with a time of 15.685.  Bacardi Zimmerlee (Clinton, BC) put in a time of 16.139 for a first place finish in the Junior Barrel Racing, earning her a check for $373.32 and Pee Wee Barrel Racer Elly Farmer (Savona, BC) ran the fast time of 16.581 in her age group to win $224.00.

Laura James

Laura James and Stretch clock the fastest time of the weekend, 15.685 ~ Photo by Jennifer Hohmann

Ladies Barrels Top Ten: 
1. Laura James 15.685 $1259.28
2. Judy Hyde 15.742 $996.93
3. Joleen Seitz 16.024 $839.52
4. Tammy Robinson 16.046 $682.11
5. Fallon Fosbery 16.084 $419.76
6. Coleen Duggan 16.094 $314.82
7. Brooke Wills 16.116 $262.35
8. Kassi Simpson 16.167 $209.88
9. Monica Oram 16.179 $157.41
10. Cathy Bueckert 16.200 $104.94
Bacardie Zimmerlee

Bacardi Zimmerlee and Dolly finish first in the Junior Barrel Racing ~ Photo by Jennifer Hohmann

Junior Barrels Top Six:
1. Bacardi Zimmerlee 16.139 $373.32
2. Tosha Seitz 16.202 $285.48
3. Lane Wills 16.474 $197.64
4. Ricki Laviolette 16.502 $109.80
5. Rikki Hutnyk 16.550 $76.86
6. Taneesha Beaupre 16.561 $54.90
Elly Farmer

First place winner, Pee Wee Barrel Racer Elly Farmer ~ Photo by Jennifer Hohmann

Pee Wee Barrels Top Four:
1. Elly Farmer 16.581 $224.00
2. Tyler Cherry 17.418 $168.00
3. Dyson Leneve 18.013 $112.00
4. Brianna Billy 18.466 $56.00

September 20, 21 and 22 Alex Fraser Park will once again be the scene of some riveting, fast paced rodeo action. The Quesnel Rodeo Club will host the BCRA Championship Finals Rodeo where the top ten in each event will compete in three performances to determine who will wear the 2012 Championship buckles.

Mark the dates on your calendar, place your bets and don’t miss out on a single minute of the excitement! See y’all there!

A Broodmare Takes on Two

Doug and Sherry Webster

Misty, Gracie and Dolly ~ Robyn Louise Photography

Doug and Sherry Webster of Quesnel, BC run a cow/calf operation on Sunnyside Ranch, a 1400 acre family owned operation established in 1891.  As far back as Doug can remember the Webster’s have raised horses that carry the original heart brand.  A good hand, Doug trains horses for use on the ranch and outside sales, as well as a few that daughter Racheal barrel races.  The Webster stock bloodlines include Two Eyed Jack, Wright a Chex and Peppy San Badger.

Doug was born and raised on the ranch and after living in town for the first eight years of their marriage, the Webster’s returned to the ranch in 1989 when Doug’s father was diagnosed with cancer.

“This is where Doug’s heart is” Sherry says.

Doug and Sherry Webster ~ Gordon Perry photo

Doug and Sherry Webster ~ Gordon Perry photo

This unusual story began on May 25th when Sherry walked up to the top field to check on their band of broodmares and saw what she at first thought was a set of twins nursing on their mother.

Sherry posted a picture on her facebook page showing a grey mare with a sorrel foal nursing on one side and a dark colored foal nursing on the other side. Curious after seeing the pictures of Misty and the two foals, I asked Sherry to tell me their story.

“It’s a hard story to tell, because we are not too sure what happened. Misty has always been the mother hen of the broodmares. Whenever a mare foals, she is usually hanging around, checking things out and acting protective. I walked up on the evening of May 25th to check on the mares and I saw two new babies suckling on Misty. At first I did think they were twins, but something didn’t seem right. On further examination, I realized a younger mare Katy (first time mama) had foaled, but she was showing no interest in either of the two foals.

Doug and I brought them down and separated them, hoping Katy would take hers. We tried for three days and she fought the whole three days! Katy had lost an eye as a yearling, and every time that filly came up on her blind side, she would kick it. We spent three days twitching her and trying other methods to get Katy to accept her filly, but with no success. Katy wanted nothing to with her foal. Doug decided to see if Misty would take the foal back and she was warmly accepted. The two fillies also seem to share a special bond, as they are inseparable.”

Gracie and Dolly . ~ Photo by Sherry Webster

Following mom’s example, Gracie and Dolly check out the feed trough. ~ Photo by Sherry Webster

“The fillies really love their grain! They have separation anxiety when they are apart from each other. You know when a foal becomes separated from their mama, how they whinny? It’s the same way with these two girls. One day the two of them got separated from each other in the barn, was it ever funny! I think we will have our hands full with these two!”

Sometimes a maiden mare will reject a foal, especially if a more dominant mare attempts to “steal” the newborn. Katy may have been confused by the foaling process and didn’t have time to develop her maternal instincts before Misty took over. No matter what caused the situation, the combined family of three seem healthy and happy, an outcome the Webster’s are grateful for.

Daughter Racheal poses with the extended family ~ Robyn Louise Photography

Daughter Racheal poses with the extended family ~ Robyn Louise Photography

“Smiles” for the camera ~ Robyn Louise Photography

“Smiles” for the camera ~ Robyn Louise Photography

Fundraiser For Kelly Garvin


Fight Like Mom

Wendy Lyons-Braaten and Kaiya Lyons wind through the poles on Sky ~ Photo by Chelsea Brears

A few months ago, Kelly Garvin of Quesnel, BC was like most moms, as fierce as a mother bear when it came to protecting her children. Kelly is in the hospital now, facing a long uphill battle on the road to recovery. As she fought for life, her family gathered around, praying and urging Kelly to “fight like a mom”.

Fight Like A Mom

Nicole, Shelby and Braden ~ Photo by Chelsea Brears

Some of us recognize Kelly as barrel racer Nicole Heppner’s mom. I would often see her sitting on the bleachers watching the barrel racers, anxiously awaiting her oldest daughter’s turn to run, her famous smile lighting up her face when Nicole safely crossed the finish line. Kelly is also mom to daughter Shelby and son Braden. As news of Kelly’s illness and hospitalization spread, the Kersley Horse Club began planning a Barrels and Poles fundraiser to help ease the financial burden for the family.

KHC president Chelsea Brears says “At gymkhana one night, Kathy McKenzie and Lori McKenzie approached me about having a fundraiser for Kelly and her family. Kathy and Lori are amazing fundraisers and a few KHC members started planning a fundraiser that night. Two weeks later (June 8th & 9th), we had the jackpot and it was better than we ever anticipated!”

Fight Like A Mom

Running for Mom, Nicole Heppner and Sweety ~ Robyn Louise Photography

Facing up to a year’s stay in the hospital, Kelly is making gradual progress towards recovery. Her journey has been recorded on facebook (Healing, Strength and Wellness for Kelly Garvin) by her sister Holli Garvin and daughter Shelby.

Fight Like A Mom

Chelsea Brears, Lori McKenzie and Randelle Langevin “make a run” for Kelly. ~ Robyn Louise Photography

Fight Like A Mom

Braden, Nicole and Shelby offer words of appreciation ~ Robyn Louise Photography

Chelsea Brears offers a heartfelt thank you to all who helped get this event together, Kathy McKenzie, Lori McKenzie, Dianne Erdman, Anna Johnson, the Alex Fraser Park Society for donating the arena, Tom and Melissa Sword, Pen-Y-Bryn Farm (the entire Nichols family) Wendy Lyons-Braaten, Judy Kenneway, Randelle Langevin, also to Barry Kopetski at the Sign Stop for donating the banner, Robyn Mumford for her time taking pictures and donating half her proceeds to the fundraiser (photos can be seen & ordered  at ), to the businesses, big and small, who donated the silent auction items and to all the Barrel Racing Family for attending the fundraiser and donating their entry fees. Thank you for being so amazing!

As of this writing, over $13,500.00 has been raised, an amazing testament to community spirit. Donations for Kelly and her family can be made at the Integris Credit Union under the name “The Kelly Garvin Healing Fund”, account # 80313536 ♥

Sensational Senior

Doug Brown Bernie Hudyma

Doug Brown and Phoebe. Photo by Bernie Hudyma


Barrel racer Doug Brown of Nakusp, B.C. is a male in a predominantly female world of barrel racers. At 68 years of age, Brown competes in both open and senior classes. He likes the challenge, the speed and the horsemanship of this exciting sport.

Around 1998, Doug Brown went to a jackpot cattle penning at Blair Volanksy’s in Edgewood. He loved it and wanted to compete. “But my riding skills were, well let’s just say, almost nil,” said Brown who had ridden horses in his early twenties for trail riding and hunting but never at the high speeds with hard stops and sharp turns required in team penning. His wife Janet, a barrel racer, suggested that if he wanted to ride competitively he should start by attending gymkhanas to build his skill and experience. Doug took his wife’s advice and, with her coaching and dry work in the arena, he honed his riding skills.

The couple enjoyed competing in cattle penning in British Columbia and Alberta and Brown concluded, “We do everything together, so why not barrel racing?” Janet and her daughter Gina are avid barrel racers and Brown enjoys being a part of that. “It gives us a lot to share with each other and I understand the sport in a way that I could never do otherwise.”

Doug Brown Bernie Hudyma

“I began to realize the level of horsemanship required to run barrels competitively is extremely high and it pushed me to my limits – I liked that!” Doug Brown. Photo by Bernie Hudyma

I asked Doug how his wife Janet helps to motivate him. Brown replied, “Janet loves barrel racing. She has a great eye for good horses and knows how to ride. I have to give her most of the credit for my equine accomplishments. She is able to keep finding ways to speed up the runs (usually by improving my horsemanship). She challenges me and vice versa.”

The Browns purchased Dox Zona Lena, aka Phoebe, for a team penning horse in 2007. She is a 15.1hh Quarter Horse by San Zone and out of Doco Salty Lena. Janet really liked her, especially because of the Five Bar Finale in her blood lines. Phoebe was started at Denton Moffats in Armstrong but for Doug, the connection for a good partnership initially seemed to be missing. “I didn’t like riding Phoebe at first, because she was not even close to being as responsive as my last horse was. It took a year of riding nearly every day to get Phoebe listening and more responsive. Arena riding can be boring if you don’t have something to work to, so I taught her to change leads, side pass at a walk, trot and lope. “

Phoebe was also sent to Donna O’Reilly’s in Alberta for some cow work training. Brown kept competing in gymkhanas and barrel racing and it wasn’t long before they realized that Phoebe had speed and a good mind. “She is a turning machine, she loves turning those barrels,” Brown said proudly. “I never have to worry about her not turning, I just have to push her by and keep my eyes off the barrel.”

Doug Brown

In the ground at third barrel.

Doug feels that the last run he made at the 2011 BCBRA Finals held in Kamloops was one of his most memorable. “I had made two clean runs on the previous days and now had to make one more to get into the average. Phoebe gets real excited at the gate and I like that. When she goes, it is all out. I wanted her to go faster so I pushed her as hard as I could and focused on the pocket on the first barrel. When my leg went by the first barrel, I dropped my rein, grabbed the horn and looked at the pocket on the second barrel, kicking her all the way. We made another real tight turn and went on to third the same way. The third barrel was perfect too, her butt in the ground, nice and tight, and no loss of forward motion. For some reason, just after I turned the third barrel I relaxed for a split second, I didn’t keep pushing her and I felt a slight lull. I immediately began riding again but it did cost me. I had the same time as the day before but I think I lost a few tenths on that run.”

“Have I made mistakes on her? Yes, here is one. Three years ago I was watching the outriders jump on their horses at the Calgary Stampede. I thought that would be cool if I could do it on my horse and it would be easy to do on Phoebe because she is quiet. So one winter day while in our outdoor arena, I was standing beside Phoebe talking to someone on the other side of the fence. I said “I’m going to jump up on my horse like the outriders do.” I grabbed the front of the saddle and jumped up to get on. The next thing I knew Phoebe was in the middle of the arena and I was running beside her with the reins still in my hand. I went to mount her and she wouldn’t let me, she just kept running away from this mad man. Needless to say, it took me a few days before I could get on her again and I had to be very careful how I did it for about a year after. She’s fine now, finally forgave me. She’s an awesome horse!”

Check out the video of Doug on Pheobe at the 2011 BCBRA Finals at Kamloops BC, in the 3rd Go, Open Class.

Barrel Racing Jackpot

Irvines Barrel Racing

Photo by Deanna Buschert

This summer Irvine Tack and Trailers in Crossfield, AB., is hosting two jackpot barrel racing series and two special Barrel Horse 4 Sale, 3D Jackpots.

On Wednesdays the Triple AAA Barrel Racing Series gets underway starting with time only runs at 5-6pm, with pee wee runs and open following at 6:30pm. The 4D Weekend Barrel Racing Series commence at 9am with time only runs- pee wees start at 11am, with open runs to follow.

4D Weekend Barrel Series 1D June 3rd winners Rhonda Henry on Easy. Photo by Deanna Buschert.

During the June 3rd 4D Series, the fastest time of the day went to Rhonda Henry on Easy (18.412). Aura Munroe on Tad were second in the 1D (18.690) and Sunnie Meyers on Sandy were third (18.929). Dana Oram on Jitter were the 2D winners (19.132); Holly Meyers on Beau were second (19.173); third was Karen Gibson on Cindy Lou (19.214). Carolynn Heffernan on Praire won the 3D (19.962); Diane Scodopole on Chip were second (19.979); Madilene Kimmerly on Icon was third (19.979). The 4D winner was Jan Ferris on Badger (20.595); second was Leigh Ashley on Nita (20.628); third was Jan Ferris on Lucky (20.768).

For those who have a barrel horse for sale, or are looking to purchase one, there will be two special events called the Barrel Horse 4 Sale Jackpots. These will run July 2nd and Aug. 26 and will run following the regular jackpot series. They will be set up in a 3D format and all horses entered must be for sale.

For more information on the Barrel Horse 4 Sale Jackpot (facebook) and the 4D Weekend Barrel Racing Series (facebook), contact Stacy Williamson at 403-932-3283. If you would like more information on the Triple AAA Barrel Racing Series (facebook), contact Kelley Drake at [email protected]

Lee Ann Rust Offers Inspiration

Lee Ann Rust

“Success is having the courage, determination, and will, to become the person you believe you were meant to be,” Lee Ann Rust. Mike Copeman Photography

Last year, Lee Ann Rust of Stephenville, Texas rode into the spotlight aboard her horse, Harley, determined to give her all towards her goal of earning the title “2011 WPRA Rookie of the Year”.

Rust has an open, friendly personality that invites you into her ever expanding circle of friends.  She welcomed the opportunity to answer my questions and gave me so much more than I expected!  Her sense of humor and inspirational answers has renewed my sense of commitment to my own goals in life and I think that you, the reader, will feel that as well.

I asked Rust if she had realized what it would take in terms of time, travel and commitment when she set her goal to compete as a professional barrel racer and earn the title of WPRA Rookie of the Year.

Rust said, “Life as a Pro barrel racer is very demanding and fairly all consuming.  I tend to be black or white in my approach to most things of importance.  If my goal is big and worthwhile, then it is worth giving my all.  If the goal is not worth my all, I tend not to make it a goal, or at least not my major goal.  The goal to be Rookie of the Year in WPRA at my age was a “BHAG” (Big Hairy Audacious Goal).  Once I dedicated myself to the goal, I went at it with abandon.  My entire life was dedicated to the achievement of my goal.  Mentally, I burned the bridge behind me and there was no turning back.”

At the age of 53, what gave you the courage to go down this road?

“It did not feel like courage at the time.  I was just putting one foot in front of the other and living one day at a time.  Ann Thompson of Nash, Texas does all my rodeo entries for me, strategy, logistics, etc.  She just sends me emails with the trade lists and I write the info on my calendar.  When I get done at a rodeo, I put the next rodeo in my GPS and see how far it is and how long it will take and stick my truck in DRIVE.  The hardest time is when I have a few days off and have to decide where I will hang out for those days.  I only need a day or two to rest and go to the grocery store.”

How much does your horse, Harley, contribute to your courage?

“Harley is the source of my “courage” and the reason for my decision to “hit the rodeo trail”.  God blessed me with stewardship of this awesome animal that I call my friend.  It is my desire to allow him to reach his full potential.  I am willing and able, due to my life circumstances at this time, to dedicate myself to taking him as far as he is able to go.  God is putting people in my life constantly who are teaching me and helping me to be a better steward.  Nutrition, energy work, chiropractics, veterinary care, medical/dental care, exercise, horsemanship skills, mental discipline and many more areas are all necessary topics to master for the proper care of Harley, and me as well.”

What are your goals for the 2012 season?

“You know my philosophy; my 2012 goal is to win the CFR and the NFR on Harley.”

In what ways do you feel that your 2011 season helped to lay a foundation for your 2012 season?

“Last year, as a rookie, I was ignorant of a lot of things.  Where is the town?  Where is the arena?  Where do we park?  Are there stalls?  Is there grass?  Will we get stuck?  Is barrel racing first or last in slack?  TOM TOM (Lee Ann’s GPS) can’t be serious!

“The questions got even more creative from there!  Of the 100 or so rodeos we went to last year, I had only been to two before in all my life!!  I could not afford to even think about intimidation or I would have never left Stephenville, Texas!  That made the whole year one big adventure!

“2012 will be lots easier!  We will still run in some places we haven’t been before, like Denver, San Antonio, Houston, Calgary, etc.  But for the most part, we will get to run in places we have been before and at least know how to get to the country, state, town and arena!  Wow, what a deal!  I may even see someone I know when I get there!”

Do you plan on competing in Canada this season?

“I loved rodeoing in Canada, and am looking forward to returning to Canada in late spring!”

Lee Ann Rust  Harley

Lee Ann Rust and Harley make a run at the 2011 Canadian Finals Rodeo ~ Mike Copeman Photography

What has surprised you the most on your journey as a professional barrel racer?

“This year was full of surprises!  I was in awe of the beauty of the country that I got to visit this year!  I met some of the most amazing, interesting, funny, friendly, hospitable and helpful people!  I was amazed at how well Harley and I were able to do this year.  There are some outstanding barrel racers and barrel horses out there, and I feel honored that Harley and I were able to be in the same pen with them!  And then to actually be competitive was a real bonus!

What advice would you give to those harboring the dream of being a professional barrel racer?

“You ask me for advice!  I will share some thoughts with you about some things I have learned this amazing year.”

• You find what you are looking for in others, so always look for the good.

• You get what you expect out of yourself, so always expect the best.

• When things are less than ideal, ask yourself, “What am I suppose to be learning from this situation?”

• The definition of insanity is, “Doing the same thing, the same way, over and over and expecting a different outcome”.  Maybe I need to try something new.

• Change is rarely considered easy, but is sometimes necessary.

• A goal should require us to reach, stretch and grow.  Set them high!  If you keep looking in the far distance at the goal and imagining having it, the bumps in the road aren’t as rough and there is less chance of getting side tracked or following a rabbit trail. Keep your eye on the prize!

• Smile!  Be friendly and helpful if that is how you would like folks to meet and treat you. You get back what you give out.

• Be positive, there is enough negativity already without you adding to it.

• You can go from Hero to Zero in less than 15 seconds, so stay humble!  You don’t have nearly as far to fall that way and the landing is easier.

• Live in the moment. The present is a wonderful gift. You have 15 minutes to glory in the “thrill of victory,” or wallow in the “agony of defeat.” Analyze your run; see if there is anything you can change to make it better. Was it you, your horse, or circumstances outside your control? Learn what you can and then move on. There is always another rodeo!

• You will spend more time driving than any other single activity, so get some books on CD that will help you to be successful.

Rust defines success as “having the courage, determination, and will, to become the person you believe you were meant to be.”

The 54-year-old Rust and Harley are off and running towards her goals for 2012, proving that she does, indeed, have the courage, determination and will to pursue her dream of winning the CFR and the NFR.

Dreams are what reality is made of.

First Run Jitters


Laura James and Stretch. Photo by Bernie Hudyma.

Just a few days ago, we spoke with CFR contender Laura James about her upcoming first performance at the Canadian Finals Rodeo. We caught up with her last night after the performance to review her run. As it turned out, a few nerves, the ability to focus, and a horse who behaves like a “champ,” are the ingredients that carried Laura James through her first Canadian Finals Performance.  Just off the mark of earning her first CFR cheque, James 7th place finish landed her in the middle of the pack – a good start to a competition featuring some of the top names in professional barrel racing.  Here’s what she had to say:

“I had a few first-run-at-the-CFR jitters, but stayed quite calm and pretty focused for the main part.  Stretch went in there like a true champ, like he always does, and worked good. I needed to be a little more focused and with him, to help us be a bit sharper.  We ended up 7th which is crying hole, but it was so much fun!  Can’t wait to do it all over again tomorrow night! I am just so happy to be here and to be competing against such great girls.”

Way to go, girl, we’re looking forward to seeing you again this evening! Catch more CFR action from last night, including an interview with last night’s barrel racing winner, Lindsay Sears, at the Breed & Sports News blog. 

Contender Q&A


Laura James

The “Grand Finale” of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association season, the Canadian Finals Rodeo has been held at the Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta since 1974 and offers one of the richest purses in Canadian Rodeo.  Laura James, formerly of Vanderhoof, BC, is a first time CFR qualifier and is pretty excited, to say the least.

You attended most of the CPRA rodeos this year.  Was it your goal to qualify for the 2011 Finals?

“I actually set the goal of qualifying for the CFR this year.  I have had my full CPRA card for a couple years, but this year making the finals was my main focus and goal.”

How did you feel when you found out you had qualified?

“I was so excited when I found out I had qualified!  I am still excited and can’t wait to get to Edmonton!”

This year’s CFR spotlights six performances held November 9th – 13th and features the top twelve money-winners from each event.  James comes into the CFR as number 10 in the CPRA barrel racing standings.

It takes team work to reach a goal like the CFR, and as such, James’ partnership with Zans Finished Star, aka “Stretch”, along with the support of her family and friends, contributed to this year’s successful outcome.

Laura James

On the road to the CFR. Mike Copeman Photography

What support have you had, and how important was that support towards reaching your goal?

“I have had an enormous amount of support from my family and friends, which means the world to me. I have traveled with some amazing people this year and have learned so much from them, for which I am grateful. Stretch and I had lots of highs and lows and they were always there pushing me on when I needed a little push and encouraging me to keep going. If I did not have this amazing support system, I would not be where I am today.”

You qualified for the CFR riding Stretch; can you give us a little history on your partnership and training with him?

“I made it to the CFR on one horse, Stretch, who I am very proud of. He is twelve-years-old and I have owned him since he was a three-year-old. He was green-broke when I bought him so once I got a good start and some riding out on him; I took him to the barrels. I took my time on the barrels, was very consistent with his pattern and added speed on the pattern backwards to gain his confidence. I now just exercise him to keep him in shape and work the pattern maybe once a week at a walk/trot unless he needs some fine tuning.”

Each 2011 CFR event pays out $28,214.29 per performance. The top five from each round, and the top five average winners, stand to earn $11,003.57, $8,182.14, $5,360.72, $2,539.29 and $1,128.57 respectively. With the possibility of earning as much as $77,024.99 over the five-day event, any one of the top twelve contestants could be crowned the 2011 CFR Barrel Racing Champion.

Laura James

Laura and Stretch. Bernie Hudyma Photography

Are you doing anything special to get Stretch ready for the CFR?

“To prepare for the CFR I am trying to keep my routine with Stretch the same as what I have been doing all year. I have a great team of equine specialists (massage, chiro, farrier, vet, acupuncture, etc.) that are helping Stretch to feel his best going into the CFR.”

What is your plan to keep you and your horse feeling “fresh” for six performances over a five-day period?

“I am hoping to keep Stretch feeling fresh and good throughout the 6 performances with some good rest periods during the day ( I am keeping him at a friend’s nearby, rather than at Rexall Place downtown Edmonton), light exercise to keep him limber and some massage and chiro work to keep him feeling 100%. For myself, I am going to try to get lots of rest and really focus on my horse and one run at a time.”

Do you have any advice for those wishing to make it into the CFR?

“If the CFR is a goal of yours, a great support team is critical, as well as a positive attitude, tremendous drive, desire and determination. Don’t ever give up!”

Laura James

Bring it home, Laura! Bernie Hudyma Photography

Best of the Rest of BC


The brain child of Ray Jasper, President of the Quesnel Rodeo Club, the competition was aimed at capturing the cowboys and cowgirls who did not qualify for the BCRA Finals in the barrel racing or team roping, offering them the opportunity to participate in the excitement of the Championship Finals Rodeo atmosphere.

Dalene LeNeve of Quesnel organized the barrel racing, took entries and rounded up $300.00 in added money. Names were drawn from the competitors list for prizes donated by Universal Auto, Ok Tire, Make Traxx Recreation, Load Em Up Petroleum, Fraser River GM, Bouchie Lake Gymkhana Club, and Bobweiser Ranch (Bob & Dalene LeNeve).

Best of the Rest Shayla Arnold

“This is me and my horse Neshema. She is 12 and I'm 11. I have had her for a year now and she’s the best horse I’ve had. I love to ride and she's my favourite horse!” Shayla Arnold. Photo by Casey Arnold

The Barrel Racing started off bright and early Saturday morning with the Pee Wee entries. Shayla Arnold of Quesnel won the 1D on her horse Neshema, with a time of 19.097, earning her $53.00. No riders placed in the 2D, Tayler Brears of Quesnel, riding Joker, won the 3D and $32.00. Gracie Antoine on Buddy and Sadie Collins on Goldy placed first and second respectively in the 4D netting them $13.00 and $8.00 in cash to fill their pockets.

The big winner of the morning was Taylor Cherry of Quesnel aboard her fast horse, TC. The twelve-year-old barrel racer won the Open 1D and the Junior 1D with the carryover fast time of 16.710, netting her $256.00 (that is $15.32 per second!).

Best of the Rest Talor Cheryy & TC

Taylor and TC put in a fast run. Photo by Tommy Engebretson

Taylor was without her best horse for part of the rodeo season and I asked her to tell me about this fast running athlete she calls TC.

“My horses name is TC, it stands for Taylor Cherry. He is twelve years old, and he was born 2 months later than me. We have raised him and I have trained him myself. TCs favourite food is raisins. Every time I catch him, I give him raisins.  TC has been off for awhile but my dad and I just thought it was his shoulder so we got a few people to look at him and put some stuff back in and then he got better for awhile and then got worse again. At Chilliwack rodeo I had to vet out because he was limping so bad. We got a vet to look at him and he said it’s an abscess. I wish someone would have told us that in the first place, but now he’s finally getting better.”

“The Best of the Rest race was great! I enjoyed seeing people that I rodeoed with all year and I finally got a great run in. The people there were great. I got lots of compliments on my run. I can’t wait for next year! Thank you to all the organizers of this event!”

With 85 entries in the barrel racing and 160 teams entered for the team roping, the Race & Rope was deemed a colossal success and Jasper says he hopes the Quesnel Rodeo Club will host the Race & Rope Event, along with the BCRA Championship Finals in 2012.