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One of the first memories I have relating to finances was thinking I would never be able to go to college because “we didn’t have the money.”
But that was a lie. Well, part of it…
It’s true that my family didn’t seem to have enough funds to meet even our most basic needs at times when I was growing up. It was the way of thinking I inherited as a youngster (and later changed) that was drastically inaccurate.
I DID go to college and get a degree in Veterinary Technology, albeit on my own dime. Whether I continued to assume that my life was doomed – OR that I could or couldn’t influence my future, was up to me.
Today there are a lot of adults still not living their barrel racing dreams because they have no hope – believing that being a professional barrel racer is only for people with “a lot of money.” Today, let’s blow that false belief outta the water too, shall we?
I won’t argue that making a run for the NFR for example, does indeed require hefty financial backing (see below for actual examples). But if barrel racing professionally is your goal, it’s time to get real and get busy creating the strong financial foundation to support it.
The truth is that “not having money” is a temporary condition!
When it exists long term, this type of limitation exists more so in our minds than anywhere else. Just like every other challenge before us (there will be plenty!) – if we want something bad enough we must be brave enough to face the truth, learn, and take responsibility for changing our circumstances and overcoming obstacles along the way.
There are also a lot of barrel racers making consistent, honest efforts who are relatively aware of what it takes to make NFR dreams come true, yet just can’t seem to get ahead.
This may be because they still aren’t quite making the actual efforts and looking hard enough at reality to realize how the action steps they ARE taking aren’t the actual steps necessary to reach their intended destination.
If the preceding example is one of “no hope,” this is one of “false hope.”
Today, I want to take hope out of the equation entirely and share SIX concrete steps to map out an effective plan for firming up another aspect of the foundation that high-level barrel racing depends on.
#1. Get Real About Your Goals
If you’re waiting to get “discovered,” marry a sugar daddy, get signed on by a big sponsor, or think you’re gonna support yourself with winnings, think again!
Here are some real-life, eye-opening stats from a San Antonio Express News article sharing details on 2015 Barrel Racing World Champion, Callie duPerier’s expenses:
Her (2015) trip to the National Finals Rodeo had started more than a year before.
DuPerier went to 100 rodeos in the 2014 season, the maximum allowed by the Women’s Pro Rodeo Association. She finished third in the Rookie of the Year contest and was 25th in the world (with earnings of $44,804), but fell short of being invited to the National Finals Rodeo, which takes just the top 15 in each event — those who have won the most money during the year.
(Another Express News article shares that Trip duPerier estimates it cost them $125,000-$150,000 in 2014 to earn that $44,804.)
To reach Vegas this year (in 2015), duPerier set a grueling pace that took her away from home for nearly two straight months at times. She competed in 87 rodeos and won $166,923, coming into the finals with the second most winnings of all rodeo competitors…
DuPerier cobbled together the winnings in small and big chunks — from $519.58 in Redding, California, to $8,437 in St. Paul, Oregon, and $9,100 in Houston. But the winnings came at a price, both financial and emotional.
Trip duPerier estimated that qualifying for Vegas cost at least $120,000 in fuel, vet bills, travel, entry fees, and hiring a good driver to at times help them haul horses thousands of miles. “Most girls will spend $60,000 to get to Vegas. Whatever they win there is what they make,” he said.
Another example comes in this PRCA/ERA ruling update posted recently at SpintoWin.com where it was stated that bareback rider Bobby Mote’s net earnings in 2015 were $30,000: approximately $100,000 earned at forty-eight regular season rodeos, and $40,000 at the NFR, offset by $110,000 in costs for medical expenses, travel, entry fees, and the like.
If you have an NFR qualification in sight, you can plan on needing to earn at least $60,000 and will likely spend at least that amount in expenses.
The average regular season winnings between the top 15 was $97,210. So it’s likely that the more you win, the more you will have traveled and the greater your expenses will be. To sum it up – if you’re one of the nation’s top barrel racers, you’ll be doing well to just break even.
But we need experience to get good, right? While it’s true that we have to spend money to make money – first, we need to have money!
Whether you’re disheartened or motivated by these stats, you’ll benefit from steps #2-6 I’ve shared in the video below:
- Some live on their family’s ranch and do not own their own property and the mortgage payments that come with it (a big time saver too, since family members also often do chores while they’re away).
- Some don’t have the super fancy rigs and all the best and latest equipment you’d think they would have – I’ve interviewed NFR cowgirls who were traveling in old rigs, running in broken down tack, and videoing each other with outdated video cameras.
- Some actually live in town (much cheaper and less time-consuming than owning and caring for property) and board their horses elsewhere when “home.” Deb Guelly has said she lives in her horse trailer – no mortage payments or property maintenance for her!
- Some are pulling rigs that don’t belong to them – a few NFR cowgirls have contracts with sponsors/businesses that provide them with a truck to drive and trailer to pull for the year. Future contracts aren’t guaranteed, so their wheels aren’t either!
- Some represent and are paid by numerous sponsors without actually using/endorsing their products and/or services.
- Some you don’t see or hear of for 6 months to a year or more at a time before they pop back on the scene – that’s because they’ve been at home re-building their foundation – whether it be financially or with a new horse, etc.
- Some are riding and training horses that don’t belong to them. The owners of such high-dollar horses are also often paying for some or all of that animal’s expenses on the road. Again, these arrangements are subject to change and be terminated at any time.
- Some may appear to have everything going for them IN the arena, but looks are deceiving. Some of the most decorated and winning horseman, cowboys and cowgirls are drowning in crippling amounts of debt.
- Some have made major sacrifices to stay on the road, including damaged relationships, lost marriages, neglected parental duties, or have home environments left in a very neglected state, sometimes including the care of other horses.
- Some have compromised their values, made mistakes, and been driven to lie, cheat, steal and have been generally dishonest under the influence of financial pressures that accompany pro rodeo life (IMO, I think this tends to happen based more on a person’s character than financial status).
- Some have full or part-time paid employees that help drive, care for animals (and kids) at home and on the road, perform regular therapeutic bodywork on horses, enter rodeos for them, etc. (we can’t do it ALL by ourselves!)
- Some have worked hard, accomplished a lot and developed great reputations as trainers and then sell horses they’ve trained to provide another source of “steady” income, which is something they can (and must) do while also competing.
- Some raise their own horses from the ground up vs. buying $100,000+ finished horses. Again – a lot easier if you already have the right setup (ie. a repro. specialist nearby, facility, acreage, family ranch or loved ones to help, etc.).
- Some have made a point to keep every possible aspect of life ruthlessly simple and streamlined for greater time efficiency and easier management.
- Some have much of their expenses covered by wealthy and/or business savvy parents or spouse.
- Some are just plain smart, very hardworking and business savvy themselves and have figured out a way to have a semi-passive, secondary, flexible/part-time and/or automated stream of income so they don’t entirely depend on their winnings as their sole source of income.
So there are some answers to the question “HOW DO THEY DO IT!?” Obviously, there are a lot of the things mentioned above that we don’t ANY part of! I’m particular about the WAY I go about achieving my goals and I know you are too.
The good news is that if you’re smart and savvy, I’m confident your dreams are within reach. There WILL no doubt be mistakes made and lessons learned, and LOTS of sacrifice, but if we play our cards right – those sacrifices don’t have to be negative or permanent.
Here’s a great interview from Marie Forleo with best-selling author David Bach (42 minutes but worth the watch):
How to Live and Finish Rich
And let’s not forget it all requires a lot of hard work:
To get started on working YOUR personal plan, RIGHT-CLICK HERE then select SAVE LINK AS (or Open in a New Tab to view and print) to save your computer, then open and print your Financial Freedom FUNSheet where I’ve listed all six steps with an area for making notes and mapping out your to-do’s!
How are you feeling after taking all this in?
Lets hear your questions, concerns, “AH-HAs” and/or experiences below!
Also follow the links below for even more resources related to today’s topic:
- Budgeting for Barrel Racers – Plan Now, Celebrate Later!
- Six Steps to Seek and Secure Sponsorship for Barrel Racing
- Are Time, Energy & Money Parasites Stealing Your Barrel Racing Dreams?
- How to Create a Lifestyle That Supports Your Barrel Racing Dreams
- Book: Smart Women Finish Rich by David Bach
- Book: Secrets of Six-Figure Women by Barbara Stanny
- Book: The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Glason