Foothills barrel racers crowd top 10
Rodeo: High River’s Guy Weadick Days this weekend
By: Bruce Campbell
| Posted: Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 06:00 am
A foothills area barrel racer doesn’t want to be on the outside looking in.
Black Diamond’s Crystal Christman sits in 11th place as of Aug. 15th in the Foothills Cowboy Association standings — one spot away from earning a spot to the finals.
“I am about a $1,000 behind from the 10th spot and you can make that up at one rodeo,” Christman said.
She and her horse Binger can close the gap at the Guy Weadick Rodeo in High River this weekend — one of the richest on the tour.
Christman has been splitting her time between the Chinook Rodeo Association and the FCA this season. She’s got the top 10 for the Chinook circuit wrapped up as she sits in third place in the standings.
“Now I am going to concentrate on the FCA for these final rodeos,” she said.
If she can crack the top 10, she will have plenty of company from the foothills area. The top three, Longview’s Kendra Edey; High River’s Erin Coy and Riley Greene of Okotoks, respectively, are from the foothills.
Sasha Noval of Turner Valley is in ninth place.
Christman can once again call herself a foothills area resident. She returned to Black Diamond earlier this year after a five-year hiatus in Oklahoma where she did veterinarian work.
Binger joined her not too long after Christman returned to hang her vet shingle in Black Diamond. She purchased the 13-year-old Dinger at the start of the year from barrel racer Suzanne DePaoli.
“He’s my little rock star,” Christman said of Binger. “He is a natural barrel racer. We are getting more confidence and we still have a lot to learn together.”
Although, she is one-spot away from the final she is not going to worry about how those in front of her in the standings do in these final days of the rodeo season.
All she can worry about her and Binger’s efforts.
“The big lesson I have learned this year that you just have to relax and if it is going to happen, it is going to happen,” Christman said.
That is exactly the right attitude, according to the ninth-place Noval. She knows from experience.
“I made it last year in 10th place,” Noval said. “I was in 11th place and in the final rodeo and got fourth place. I almost didn’t make it.”
Although Noval isn’t quite a lock to get to the FCA finals this year, she won’t let that cloud up her mind.
“I try to stay confident and be positive and act like I am going to make finals,” Noval said. “If you have a bad attitude, it can lead to not making it… and Betty (her horse) is running really well lately.”
She and Betty got a boost of confidence the last time they ran in the foothills. They were second at the Longview Rodeo in July, finishing just behind Okotoks’ Greene.
Although foothills area barrel racers are bunched up closely in the standings, they are also a close bunch.
Coy and Noval rodeoed together on the high school circuit. As well, Noval has known Edey practically since she was on a rocking horse.
“Ever since I was little I have looked up to Kendra,” said Noval, who finished second in the college rodeo circuit last year. “She let me borrow one of her horses when I was little. She has always been helping me.”
The Guy Weadick Rodeo has been snake bit by Mother Nature the past two years. The 2013 rodeo was cancelled due to the flood. It was scheduled to run in June of this year when once again it was rained out.
But the wait will be worth it for the FCA competitors. FCA president David Clark said he expects the High River rodeo to have one of the biggest paydays on the tour.
The Guy Weadick rodeo is one of the last before the FCA finals in Red Deer on Oct. 10-12.
The High River rodeo will go Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 5 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. The slack is Saturday at 10 a.m.