LIVE from the NFR – Q&A Interview with Michele McLeod

Sometimes, you just KNOW a champion when you see one. That’s how I felt when I first met Michele McLeod at the 2013 NFR.

Michele has an enthusiastic groundedness about her. She exuded genuine positivity and humble confidence – no doubt a huge part of what makes her a force to reckon with in the arena.

It just so happens that Charlie Cole of High Point Performance Horses has a very good eye for talent. Not only did he see it in Michele, but in special young black stallion that first turned his head at the 2012 AQHA World Show.

Heather Smith and NFR Barrel Racer, Michele McLeod
Heather Smith and NFR Barrel Racer, Michele McLeod

According to an article in Rodeo News, Charlie stated, “I texted my business partner and said I saw an amazing horse just run. The next day I watched the finals and the way he worked I just knew he was a special horse. He used himself well and had explosive power away from the barrels and accelerated his way to the next one. He kept his feet moving around the barrel.”

Long story short, this incredible horse, rider and owner trio joined forces and resulted in a fairy tale year for everyone – ultimately resulting in a #3 qualification spot for the National Finals Rodeo with $109,591 in earnings.

Although a hardworking and successful barrel horse trainer and jockey for many years, until recently, Michele McLeod wasn’t exactly a household name. Until 2013, she had chosen to stick fairly close to home. However, when an incredible partnership (and an incredible horse) presented itself – it only made sense to jump (run) at the opportunity, and hit the road!

Michele had a great summer. In the same article, she was quoted as saying “When you’re winning like that how could you not,” she said. “Some of the all-night drives we did were a little nerve wracking. It was so different for me – I’m used to working all day long, riding horses. For the summer I took three horses with me in addition to Slick, but sitting in the trailer waiting for the rodeo took a little adjusting.”

Her whirlwind of success required a whirlwind of traveling but resulted in winning Omaha, Nebraska, Hermiston, Oregon, Nampa, Idaho, Colorado Springs, Colorado, Belle Fourche, South Dakota, Guymon, Oklahoma, and also included wins in Montana, Wyoming, California as well as success at the American Quarter Horse Congress in Ohio.

When the WPRA covered her Justin Boots Championship win, Michele laughed and said “I’ve spent more time in the truck now than on the back of a horse. But I wouldn’t change it for anything. This year has been incredible and I’m really excited about going to the Finals.”

Michele’s excitement is contagious, and I’m happy to share some of it with you in the video below.

I asked about what she learned while on the road in 2013, and we also discussed what makes her phenomenally talented and beautiful equine partner, Slick By Design, so special.

Check out the links below to follow Michele and Slick’s progress, as well as support her sponsors!

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