Out the Gate with the 2013 Top 15 NFR Barrel Racers

Out the Gate with the 2013 Top 15 NFR Barrel Racers

In my book, and in the official record books, the 2013 National Finals Rodeo barrel racing proved to be a year like no other.

Not only did Taylor Jacob shatter the arena record by nearly a tenth, but Sherry Cervi captured some records of her own with earnings totaling $303,317 for the year, the fastest combined time (138.15 seconds) over ten rounds, as well as an average win, and ultimately, a fourth world title.

I’m know I’m not the only one who especially enjoys the NFR opening ceremonies and grand entry.

However, thanks in large part to modern technology, hardworking people behind the scenes, and the top 15 themselves, we were ALL given an up close and personal look into the lives and times of the rodeo’s leading ladies – which was a BIG PART of what made the barrel racing so exciting and inspirational.

In today’s post, we take a look back at 2013 as the top 15 share their most memorable learning experiences and achievements. This insider’s view provides an opportunity to not only learn, but also be even more inspired by the human and equine athletes alike.

Here at BarrelRacingTips.com, we extend a HUGE heartfelt “THANK YOU” to the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association, and to the ladies listed below not only for making professional barrel racing possible, and even more fun and exciting to watch, but for planting seeds of desire in us all to take our own barrel racing to new heights in 2014, and beyond.

SHERRY CERVI

Sherry Cervi
Sherry Cervi

What has been your biggest lesson or learning opportunity in 2013?
I had an opportunity to borrow a really good horse for about six weeks and that was a lot of fun. I had a great summer; it’s really fun when you are winning!

What has been your greatest achievement or most memorable experience this year?
My most memorable was that I won the most money over the 4th of July, including out of all the guys. Also, winning Reno for the 1st time after 18 years of rodeoing, so that was pretty cool!

Who are you most thankful to and/or grateful for supporting your career and journey to the NFR?
Definitely my family and my close friends that make it possible for me to be gone and get things taken care of at my place. I have great sponsors that I am very very thankful for them!

MARY WALKER

Mary Walker
Mary Walker

What has been your biggest lesson or learning opportunity in 2013?
What time Ponka starts

What has been your greatest achievement or most memorable experience this year?
Going to Calgary

Who are you most thankful to and/or grateful for supporting your career and journey to the NFR?
My husband, Byron

MICHELE MCLEOD

Michele McLeod
Michele McLeod

What has been your biggest lesson or learning opportunity in 2013?
Learning to rest when I have the opportunity. I have been used to working/riding all day and when rodeoing sometimes you are up very early in the morning for slack or up late in a night performance or in slack after the performance, so I had to learn how to take a nap during the day and to be able to adapt to different weather conditions. Riding/warming up/running in the rain I didn’t prefer but in Canada it rained a lot so I had to adapt to that!

What has been your greatest achievement or most memorable experience this year?
Cheyenne WY was a great experience! The arena is so big and a huge run to the first barrel! My greatest achievement was placing in all runs at Cheyenne and also winning Nampa, Idaho in the same week!

Who are you most thankful to and/or grateful for supporting your career and journey to the NFR?
I am so thankful to my family, Jon Suttle, and Jason Martin and Charlie Cole.

CHRISTY LOFLIN

Christy Loflin
Christy Loflin

What has been your biggest lesson or learning opportunity in 2013?
To never give up because even if you only have $269 dollars won in May you still might be able to slip into the #4 spot in December!

What has been your greatest achievement or most memorable experience this year?
Winning Cheyenne was amazing and also winning Pendleton back to back.

Who are you most thankful to and/or grateful for supporting your career and journey to the NFR?
My kids ultimately have to make the biggest sacrifice for me to be on the road. I miss a lot of important things that go on in their lives but I’m blessed that they support me 100%.

FALLON TAYLOR

Fallon Taylor
Fallon Taylor

What has been your biggest lesson or learning opportunity in 2013?
Make three big circles when there’s $100K on the line.

What has been your greatest achievement or most memorable experience this year?
AQHA Horse of the Year Award

Who are you most thankful to and/or grateful for supporting your career and journey to the NFR?
Husband, Delbert, Mom and Dad Dian & Shelton Taylor, Karen Hardebeck & Brian Haworth for taking care of the ranch and baby Jesus for keeping it all together.

SABRINA KETCHEM

Sabrina Ketchem
Sabrina Ketchem

What has been your biggest lesson or learning opportunity in 2013?
Uno got sick last winter, I knew there was something wrong but no one else could see it, after an MRI on her head we found an abscess restricting her airway and approaching her brain. I spend a lot of time with my horses, no one else ever takes care of them so I notice the small things. I think knowing your horse is really important then you have the opportunity to pick up on things before they get bad.

What has been your greatest achievement or most memorable experience this year?
I had an amazing year one I’ll never forget we worked hard to get where we are. Earning a position with in the top 15 and an opportunity to compete at the finals is an achievement I’ll cherish forever.

Who are you most thankful to and/or grateful for supporting your career and journey to the NFR?
My husband and my family, without them I couldn’t do it. Their support is everything to me, the rodeo lifestyle isn’t as glamorous as many think. Being independent is great but there are a lot of times that you’re not independent, you’re alone. It’s tireless miles and exhausting pressure sometimes, my family is always supportive and the driving force behind every win.

BRITTANY POZZI

Brittany Pozzi
Brittany Pozzi

What has been your biggest lesson or learning opportunity in 2013?
No matter what happens in life it can always be worse and everything happens for a reason.

What has been your greatest achievement or most memorable experience this year?
Winning St Paul for the fourth time and Salinas for the third

Who are you most thankful to and/or grateful for supporting your career and journey to the NFR?
I have so many great people in my life that help all my dreams come true – My parents, my boyfriend Casey Colletti, my Vet. Marty Tanner, and my sponsors Purina, Priefert, Platinum, Professionals choice, Double J saddlery, K94cops, Energy XXI, Roper Apparel, MGM Grand, Top of the Rockies, and Elgin Vet Hospital. I would also like to thank Mary Jane Carpenter for taking care of my social media and Carli and Carl Weber for all their help with my horses.

KALEY BASS

Kaley Bass
Kaley Bass

What has been your biggest lesson or learning opportunity in 2013?
Always stay positive throughout your traveling the year and never give up!

What has been your greatest achievement or most memorable experience this year?
Going to Salinas, California for the rodeo was a really cool experience and I definitely had good luck over there.

Who are you most thankful to and/or grateful for supporting your career and journey to the NFR?
My Mom (Tracy Bass), Dad (Quinton Bass) and my Sister (Kristen)

TAYLOR JACOB

Taylor Jacob
Taylor Jacob

What has been your biggest lesson or learning opportunity in 2013?
Just taking it one run at a time and not let what happen the run before bother you.

What has been your greatest achievement or most memorable experience this year?
Winning Rookie of the Year and winning Forth Worth, Texas

Who are you most thankful to and/or grateful for supporting your career and journey to the NFR?
My Mom (Robyn Jacobs), she went with me all summer and helped me drive, helped me take care of my horse, and helped me sit down to figure out where I was going.

LISA LOCKHART

Lisa Lockhart
Lisa Lockhart

What has been your biggest lesson or learning opportunity in 2013?
When your plans change, Louie had gotten injured this year, just knowing that everything is a little bit different and I didn’t have him to depend on. You just never know in this game what is going to happen, basically it’s the fear of the unknown, but you just preserve and force head and try and make the best of your situations.

What has been your greatest achievement or most memorable experience this year?
Winning the Canadian Championship!

Who are you most thankful to and/or grateful for supporting your career and journey to the NFR?
My husband Grady undoubtedly, without him I would not be where I am today!

JANE MELBY

Jane Melby
Jane Melby

What has been your biggest lesson or learning opportunity in 2013?
To never give up. There will be lots of ups and downs and you must take the ups with the downs.

What has been your greatest achievement or most memorable experience this year?
Ellensburg, Washington – the horse I planned on riding got an abscess a few days before the rodeo. I thought I was going to have to turn out. We prayed and prayed and the abscess broke. I was able to ride the horse and won the rodeo. Ellensburg, Washington is a great town and community with wonderful people.

Who are you most thankful to and/or grateful for supporting your career and journey to the NFR?
My husband Ryan Melby by son Colton Melby, my daughter Cayla Melby and a great family friend that helps at the ranch Mike Berends.

JEAN WINTERS

Jean Winters
Jean Winters

What has been your biggest lesson or learning opportunity in 2013?
The whole year has been a learning opportunity. I was able to really see how much God is in control and see that He has a greater purpose for me. I wanted to come home so many times this year when things weren’t going well, like the first four runs in Calgary, but with Guy telling me to keep on and knowing that God put me out there for a reason, I kept on. I guess it paid off.

What has been your greatest achievement or most memorable experience this year?
Winning Calgary after such a terrible start there, that is both a great achievement and most memorable.

Who are you most thankful to and/or grateful for supporting your career and journey to the NFR?
My Lord and Savior, and best friend Jesus Christ. He put the desire to glorify Him through this journey in my heart. Guy and my boys as well. They have had to deal with me not being at home.

SHADA BRAZILE

Shada Brazile
Shada Brazile

What has been your biggest lesson or learning opportunity in 2013?
Taking care of your horse; I had a rough July, I didn’t enter the rodeos correctly I had too much focus on Calgary and at the time I didn’t know my horse was bleeding, I thought it was a training issue. Pay attention to your horse and go through all options when something isn’t going right. I learned how to enter a little better, not put so much weight on one rodeo. I only went to 3 rodeos over the fourth of July. I had to play catch up in September.

What has been your greatest achievement or most memorable experience this year?
My biggest achievement was winning San Antonio. The most memorable experience was Pendleton. I went and practiced the day before Pendleton at Randy Rae Britt’s. You never know how your horse is going to work at Pendleton, it’s just so different. After I practiced one time he felt amazing I couldn’t be more excited, I got off of him and said he’s ready. I had so much confidence going into that next day; I was up in the first performance. The next morning I went ride “Dial It” and he tried to lay down with me, I got him to the trailer and I barely got the saddle off and he laid down, sweating and he has never had any signs of colic and he was definitely hurting. I finally got him up and lead him back to where nobody was and I prayed over him and I knew that God had a good plan. While he was laying there my cousin came over said Shada what are you going to ride I pointed on my horse lying on the ground and said I’m going to ride him. Within an hour he was up eating grass and within 5 hours of him going down I ran the biggest pattern this horse has ran and I ended up winning second in the round. To see him pull through when I needed him the most and see his heart and true grit was the most memorable experience I have ever had in barrel racing.

Who are you most thankful to and/or grateful for supporting your career and journey to the NFR?
Most thankful for having a relationship with God the rodeo road is hard, there are ups and downs. Trevor has been supportive when it’s not easy to be supportive. He has helped with anything from entering to Vets, he is always there to help me. My Mom says whatever you dream about doing, go do it. She is real encouraging, and she has been that person that says don’t back down keep working on it.

SYDNI BLANCHARD

Sydni Blanchard
Sydni Blanchard

What has been your biggest lesson or learning opportunity in 2013?
The biggest lesson I learned this summer and it was to put God first, because I was trying to do everything myself and really push things and when I just gave it up and put God first than everything came together. I really prayed about it, both my horses ended up getting hurt and I was just shown great opportunities to ride with really great trainers. I just really try and learn everything I can from everybody; you can always learn something from somebody else that will benefit you.

What has been your greatest achievement or most memorable experience this year?
My most memorable experience was winning the first round at Cheyenne, WY, that same day we were headed to Nampa, ID and stopped in Rock Springs, WY and watched my little brother rope and win the first round of the National High School Finals, which was so neat! And then that same day my Dad’s race horse “Just Plain A Zoom” qualified for the Rainbow Futurity. It was just a really great day for our family, I won’t ever forget that day!

Who are you most thankful to and/or grateful for supporting your career and journey to the NFR?
I thank God for all of my blessings in and out of rodeo he is the only reason I get to do what I do! Besides my faith, my parents (Paul & Kandace Blanchard), and my Granny and Grandpa (Dorothy & Butch Scrivener) have always supported me in any unimaginable dream I’ve have. They always say, “Its ok you can do it!” There are so many people that have supported me, we could fill the entire Thomas and Mack with everyone that has supported me and that have somehow made a difference and helped get me to the NFR and I am truly grateful for every one of them!

TRULA CHURCHILL

Trula Churchill
Trula Churchill

What has been your biggest lesson or learning opportunity in 2013?
Don’t give up.

What has been your greatest achievement or most memorable experience this year?
There have been lots of memorable experiences this year, but qualifying for the NFR is a great achievement. Winning the California Circuit was also pretty neat.

Who are you most thankful to and/or grateful for supporting your career and journey to the NFR?
My family has been a huge support. I couldn’t have accomplished all that I have without them.

What did you think about this walk down the memory lane with the top 15? Let us know in the comments!

If YOU dream of “going pro,” be sure to check out the posts below, AND visit www.WPRA.com for membership details, as well as more great NFR coverage.

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