By Wrangler Network contributor Miss Rodeo America
In celebration of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s (PRCA) 80th Anniversary, we are highlighting the many different roles in the sport of rodeo, first and foremost the role of women in rodeo
To kick off our annual Women in Rodeo Week we are featuring Mary Walker, Women’s Professional Rodeo Association Barrel Racer and 2012 World Champion. Mary hails from Ennis, Texas and has been barrel racing since she was 10 year’s old. She finished out the 2015 season at 11th in the World Standings with several championship rodeo titles, including the Kennewick, Washington Wrangler Champions Challenge. We were able to catch up with Mary at the Redding, California Wrangler Champions Challenge. Check out the interview below!
MRA: What do you feel the importance is of a woman’s role in rodeo?
Mary: “Women provide beauty and excitement in rodeo. We as women are entertainers as well as horsewomen.”
MRA: How long have you been involved in the sport of rodeo?
Mary: “My Grandfather was in the Sheriff Posse when I was little, we as a family enjoyed going to the rodeos to support him and enjoyed watching.”
MRA: When did you begin barrel racing, and what do you love about it?
Mary: “I have been barrel racing since I was about 10 years old. I started at Playdays then on to High School Rodeos. Back then they didn’t have all the associations they have now for youth to compete. I love that there is so much involvement now.
I plan to compete professionally as long as Latte does. I will always run barrels. It’s a part of me and I really don’t know what I would do with my time if it wasn’t for my horses. I think barrel racing keeps you young at heart.”
MRA: What is your biggest challenge as a female rodeo contestant?
Mary: “Keeping up with the younger barrel racers is a hard job. They have so much energy. They challenge me everyday to become a better person and hopefully they someday will remember you can do it if you put your heart and soul into it. As far as being a female in rodeo, I don’t think it is any more challenging them the men. We are all out here trying to make a name for ourselves and trying to be successful at whatever our event is.”
MRA: Tell us about your horse.
Mary: “Latte is part of our family. He was there when my life fell apart. He has been my strength that gets me through each day. I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for him.”
MRA: What do you want your legacy to be as a woman in rodeo?
Mary: “Being a world champion is the highest honor you can get in Rodeo. It fulfills everything I have worked for years. I love the people I have met through my journey so far and the fans that support me weather I win or lose.
The rodeo lifestyle is simple. You get to be your own boss. It is fast paced with some down time. I have been to more places and seen more things that I would never have seen if it wasn’t for rodeo.”
MRA: What do you do when you’re not competing?
Mary: “I enjoy Deep Sea Fishing, something I just got into over the past few years. I love being on the ocean with the quiet sounds of the water. I love catching the big one. I also love to mow the yard. Seems like when I am on my mower no one messes with me. I think because they don’t like to mow.”
MRA: What do you want to tell your fans?
Mary: “I enjoy meeting the young cowgirls and always like spending time answering questions that they ask. I want them to be responsible and respect their parents and themselves. Please don’t get involved in the drama and take care of your own business. And most important, have fun.”