Looking Back with the 2011 Top 15 NFR Barrel Racers

Looking Back with the 2011 Top 15 NFR Barrel Racers
It seems like every barrel racer has fantasized about blasting down the alley at the Thomas & Mack at one time or another.  Whether you’re content to compete at local jackpots or have NFR dreams, we all have the same goal – to WIN.  The bottom line is that barrel racing is a timed event – a race, one that we are ALL trying to win.

This time of year, (in many places) the world falls quiet under a beautiful blanket of snow.  The timing is perfect to become quiet within as well, to reflect on the challenges faced and the lessons learned in the past year.  It’s also a time of year that presents opportunities to enjoy and appreciate the relationships in our life -friends, family, our horses.

It’s easy to develop a one track mind when it comes to accomplishing our competitive goals.  As another year draws to a close, and when you look back on your day, or your life, remember that it’s the relationships we form that make a difference, that matter in the end. 

This doesn’t mean that we aren’t aggressive as competitors.  However, as you press forward toward barrel racing success, do realize the value in pausing long enough to be mentored and become a mentor.  Pause long enough to reflect on what is working, what is not working, and resolve learn, grow and implement changes.

Whether you develop a mentor relationship, or really reflect on where you are and what obstacles are in your way, you’ll find that that pausing (something barrel racers are not necessarily known for) long enough to do these things can actually accelerate our success in the barrel racing arena.

I think you’ll pick up right away on the similarities in the answers below from this year’s top 15 NFR barrel racers… the power of parents as mentors, the importance of horse care and soundness, hard work, and appreciating and living each day to the fullest.

I hope this peek into the relationships, challenges and lessons of this year’s NFR qualifiers will help you understand the immense dedication and the sacrifices made to reach their level, and perhaps, inspire you to do the same!


Brittany Pozzi
Brittany Pozzi

Brittany Pozzi

1.  What has been your biggest challenge in 2011?  Not having stitch this has been a challenge but Duke and Cosmo managed to pull through. 

2.  What has been your biggest lesson this year?  Don’t get on fresh 3 yr old in the arena with no one around!!!
 
 
 
 


Lindsay Sears
Lindsay Sears

Lindsay Sears

1.  Who has been your biggest mentor in life and why?  There have been several.  My parents would be at the top of the list because they provide a great example of what hard work does and that you have to work hard to achieve great things.

2.  What has been your biggest challenge in 2011?  Getting Martha healthy and wondering whether or not she would recover from the injury she sustained last year at the NFR.  It’s been on my mind every time I run her.  Of course, it’s going to be in the back of my mind.  I think I have dealt with it along with Martha.  Our first run was more nerve wracking than others I’ve made there.

3.  What has been your biggest lesson this year?  Take nothing for granted because things can change in a split second.  If you set your mind to something you can do it, you just have to set your mind to it.

4.  Explain what you think barrel racers who achieve high levels of success do differently than others?  You are as good as your horse is in barrel racing.  Those who continually go to the NFR have good horsemanship and have the ability to ride different horses.  Mentally they are good competitors.  Stay focused and be mentally prepared.


 

Sherry Cervi
Sherry Cervi

Sherry Cervi

1.  Who has been your biggest mentor in life and why?   My mom and dad.  They taught me to be a good person in every aspect of life.

2.  What has been your biggest challenge in 2011?  I feel like I have had a very fortunate year.  I think it’s been all positive but I don’t feel like I’ve had any more challenges than anyone else deals with.

3.  What has been your biggest lesson this year?  I think every year I learn something more and getting my horse to be really consistent has taken a lot of work and learning on my part.  I have learned that when I give Stingray some time off it takes her a few runs to get back to being really sharp.

4.  Explain what you think barrel racers who achieve high levels of success do differently than others?  Dedication and lots of sacrifices.


Brenda Mays
Brenda Mays

Brenda Mays

1.  Who has been your biggest mentor in life and why?  My mom, Kay Davis, and Lucy Schnable have probably taught me everything I know.

2.  What has been your biggest challenge in 2011?  At the end of this year my horse was hurt and I didn’t know it.  So finally figuring out what was wrong with him and getting him healed was both a challenge and a relief.

3.  What has been your biggest lesson this year?  Listen to your horse a little better.

4.  Explain what you think barrel racers who achieve high levels of success do differently than others?  We are constantly making sacrifices and we take advantage of a lot of situations by getting up early to get in arenas.


Lisa Lockhart
Lisa Lockhart

Lisa Lockhart

1.  Who has been your biggest mentor in life and why?  My husband, Grady because he is there to push me when I need it and encourage me.  I know I wouldn’t have had the career I’ve had without him.  I appreciate the sacrifices he has had to make to make it all possible.

2.  What has been your biggest challenge in 2011?  A little bit of soundness issues.  Chism was hurt and sidelined for a month so that was pretty hard not having him over the Fourth of July.

3.  What has been your biggest lesson this year?  I guess maybe with the soundness issues, it made me put everything in perspective.  For instance, I wanted to run Chism in the worst way at Cheyenne but I knew he wasn’t ready.  I also turned out of Calgary but I learned that you do what you have to do and it can work out.  Stay with your plan and do what is good for your horses.

4.  Explain what you think barrel racers who achieve high levels of success do differently than others?  I think that we take our jobs so very seriously and realize that it really isn’t about us – it is about my horses.  Without them, we can’t do what we do.  For me, they are first, the bottom line is that they are our livelihood.


 

Sue Smith
Sue Smith

Sue Smith

1.  Who has been your biggest mentor in life and why?   I think I have more than one but they are all people who try really hard and when things goes wrong, they just try harder.

2.  What has been your biggest challenge in 2011?  I thought that when Claimer stepped on the nail that it was a challenge, but right after that, Kyle had major medical problems and had to have two surgeries.  That was definitely a challenge.  I think this was a roller coaster year.

3.  What has been your biggest lesson this year?  Keeping your priorities straight.  When Kyle got sick, I realized what the most important things are in life and it’s not rodeo.

4.  Explain what you think barrel racers who achieve high levels of success do differently than others?  There isn’t a successful barrel racer out there that isn’t dedicated.  We give up a lot to do what we do.  When you try to make the National Finals Rodeo, it is a whole different step and you make a lot of sacrifices.


JodySheffield
Jody Scheffield

Jody Sheffield

1.  Who has been your biggest mentor in life and why?  I don’t really think I can pick one.  I’ve had many.  My husband Jesse has helped me so much to be great both in and out of the arena.

2.  What has been your biggest challenge in 2011?  Trying to just make it through the year.  Zoey cut her leg pretty bad after Houston and I have battled that most of the summer.

3.  What has been your biggest lesson this year?  I don’t know if I can pick one.  There has been a lot of lessons but I would say that I’ve learned that no matter what…don’t quit.

4.  Explain what you think barrel racers who achieve high levels of success do differently than others?  I think that a big part of what they do is figure out what works for them.  Everyone is different and has different opinions and training styles.


Angie Meadors
Angie Meadors


Angie Meadors

1.  Who has been your biggest mentor in life and why? My grandpa because he is such a huge supporter to me.  Since I was a little girl he’s told me that I can do anything and to go for what I want without ever giving up.  He instilled in me that anything I want bad enough is attainable.

2.  What has been your biggest challenge in 2011?  Really just overcoming all of the crazy stuff that has happened this year.  Learning how to ride Bugs has also been a challenge because he hadn’t really been running outside a lot.  It was quite an adjustment.

3.  What has been your biggest lesson this year?  Live life like there’s no tomorrow because you don’t know what is going to happen.

4.  Explain what you think barrel racers who achieve high levels of success do differently than others?  I think that they are very smart about their horses and knowing what the horse needs.  A lot of the ones that I look up to have very good horsemanship skills.  Anybody that stays on top for very long can ride different horses and they work at it every day.


Jeanne Anderson
Jeanne Anderson


Jeanne Anderson

1.  Who has been your biggest mentor in life and why?   There are so many people that I’ve looked up to from a lot of different walks of life. 

2.  What has been your biggest challenge in 2011?  Keeping my horse feeling good.

3.  What has been your biggest lesson this year?  I learn lessons all the time.  I think there are a million of them.

4.  Explain what you think barrel racers who achieve high levels of success do differently than others?  I think we work at it 24 hours a day.


Jane Melby
Jane Melby

Jane Melby

1.  Who has been your biggest mentor in life and why?  God.  He takes care of me.

2.  What has been your biggest challenge in 2011?  Keeping my horse sound.

3.  What has been your biggest lesson this year?  Probably that if you don’t have two horses in the trailer, you should stay home.

4.  Explain what you think barrel racers who achieve high levels of success do differently than others?  I think their mental game is stronger.


Britany Fleck
Britany Fleck

Britany Fleck

1.  Who has been your biggest mentor in life and why?  I would have to say that Lisa Lockhart has had a big role in where I am today.  Without her I don’t know if I would have ever left my circuit.

2.  What has been your biggest challenge in 2011?  Keeping my horse healthy and eating good on the road.  Finding places to stay along the way is sometimes a challenge.

3.  What has been your biggest lesson this year?  Learning to stay positive.  My horse was out over the Fourth of July so it was a challenge to stay upbeat when I was watching us fall out of the standings.

4.  Explain what you think barrel racers who achieve high levels of success do differently than others?  They stay very motivated and determined.  I think they are dedicated and sacrifice a lot.


Christina Richman
Christina Richman

Christina Richman

1.  Who has been your biggest mentor in life and why?   I think my parents.  My dad has taught me so much about horses.  Both of them have taught me to do the right thing and chase your dreams.

2.  What has been your biggest challenge in 2011?  Toward the end of the year, he started to get a little sore and I had to get to the bottom of it.  It was a little scary because it was the end of the year and I needed to win some money.

3.  What has been your biggest lesson this year?  I guess just to take everything as it comes.  This year my mare won a lot this spring and then just kept going where as in years past it has kind of been a roller coaster.  I learned to stay really positive and not expect something bad to happen.

4.  Explain what you think barrel racers who achieve high levels of success do differently than others?  I think it is just so much dedication and you really have to have a great positive attitude.  I think we look for the silver lining.


Jill Moody
Jill Moody

Jill Moody

1.  Who has been your biggest mentor in life and why?   I had an instructor in college who was my horsemanship instructor.  I would have to say that throughout all of this, he is who I learned the most from and have applied the most to my barrel racing.

2.  What has been your biggest challenge in 2011?  It was hard to really want to come here without Dolly.  When I knew she wasn’t coming, I really had to work at it.

3.  What has been your biggest lesson this year?  I learned to listen to my horses a little bit better, but I think I have always tried to do that.  I knew something was wrong with Dolly all year and I just couldn’t find it.  I learned that even if you have to drive a little bit more or put more money into it, you need to go to the vet clinic that you are most comfortable with.

4.  Explain what you think barrel racers who achieve high levels of success do differently than others?  Honestly I think they have a tremendous ability to focus on the job at hand.  I also think that they can adjust to mistakes in runs and they can overcome difficult circumstances.


Tammy Fischer
Tammy Fischer

Tammy Fischer

1.  Who has been your biggest mentor in life and why?  Probably my parents.  My parents push me to be better all the time.  They help me see what I am doing and how I can be better.

2.  What has been your biggest challenge in 2011?  Staying gone from home long periods of time is harder now that Sydney is a little bigger.  She wants to be home with her dad.

3.  What has been your biggest lesson this year?  Not to give up and not to quit.  It was a dog fight to the end.  I think there were more people at the bottom and no one gave up.  It took more money this year than it’s ever taken.

4.  Explain what you think barrel racers who achieve high levels of success do differently than others?  I think they approach barrel racing different.  They are prepared and confident but they are not cocky.  A lot of times, people have the talent and the horse but they don’t have the confidence.  When you go down the road and get all the runs under them, you gain the confidence that you can win no matter where you are or the circumstance.


For many more interviews from the top 15 NFR barrel racers, click here to browse the the NFR Barrel Racing content category.

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