By Callie duPerier-Apffel

Having a good support team is a big key to success. I don’t know how I could have gotten where I am today without my biggest support team: my family. My family has always supported me in everything I  wanted achieve. Whether it was dancing, volleyball, or riding horses, they were behind me 100 percent. They believed that whatever I set my mind to, I could accomplish.

My biggest supporter I would definitely have to say has been my dad. When I was in high school, he never missed a high school rodeo or a volleyball game. He was there supporting me at every event. He continued through college volleyball and throughout my rodeo career and he still continues to encourage me to this day. I really wouldn’t have been able to do what I love without him. He helps me with my horses and puts in a lot of time and dedication to helping me and the horses. I remember when I first started barrel racing and pole bending I had trouble with what pocket to give my horses. My dad would go up to the arena before I would run and measure with his eye how far out I needed to be and he’d pick a spot that he would tell me to run at so I could get the perfect pocket.

Not only was my dad at every event, but my mom, brother, and sister were there as well. Some of our greatest memories are from getting in the rig and heading out to high school rodeo for the weekend.  When I hit the road after I got my Women’s Professional Rodeo Association card, leaving my family was the hardest thing for me. I had been so used to them being at every game and every rodeo that I didn’t know what I was going to do without them on the road. There were times I would be having a rough week and calling my support team at home would help me get my head straight. Talking to my family and hearing them tell me how proud they were of me and how they knew I could do it was better than doing good at the rodeos.

Another person who has been a big supporter throughout my rodeo career is my fiancé, Kaleb. We were dating at the time I was a rookie and decided to hit the road pretty hard. It was very different and challenging going from seeing each other every day at college to not getting to see each other hardly at all. Even though we didn’t get to see each other as much as we wanted and it was difficult at times, Kaleb supported my dream and was behind me the whole way. He supported me no matter how far away I was and no matter how long it had been since we last saw each other. There were times I thought Kaleb would eventually get tired of having a girlfriend who pretty much lived on the road that he never got to see, but he didn’t! Now, we are engaged and getting married in May [2016]!

I have been very blessed to have such an amazing support team throughout my life. They have always pushed me to do my best and never give up, and because of them, we accomplished the dream I had been dreaming of since I was 12 years old. Winning the WPRA Barrel Racing World Championship wouldn’t have been possible without them and having them all there for that moment made the win even more special. I have one heck of a support team, and I couldn’t imagine chasing my dreams without them.

duPerior family LarrySmithThe duPerier family. Photo by Larry Smith

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