PeelBack
Opposites that make a dynamic team.

by Kendra Santos, originally published in the January 1997 issue of BHN

She’s a lady. But he’s no gentle­man.

She’s a grandmother, though you might not believe it by look­ing at her or watching her ride. He’s just a kid.

But together, Kristie Peterson and Bozo are the most dynamic barrel racing team running today. Put them on a short, indoor course and they’ll beat you. Turn them loose in a wide-open out­door arena and they’ll blow your doors off. The fact is, they’re awe­some in all conditions.

And at 9, Bozo’s still just a whippersnapper. When Peterson bought the unbroke 2-year-old stud (whose registered name is French Flash Hawk) for $400, her intentions were to break the renegade and “just try to make a profit.”

“I didn’t figure I could lose because he was so cheap,” she fig­ured. We haven’t heard an under­statement like that”When I first started him, I thought he’d be a placer, and that he might be good in averages. But I never dreamed he’d be a first-class winner.”

Three straight NFR averages later, her early expectations again proved to be under estimations.

“I’ve always thought Bozo’s strongest point was that he tries his heart out every time and that he’s so consistent in that effort,” she said.

Not long into their partner­ship, Peterson and Bozo set the barrel futurity circuit on its ear. Then, in 1993, the pair qualified for their first NFR and finished second only to James and Scamper. The following year, they got their gold.

In 1996, after finishing second in the world to Cervi last year, the duo’s pre-NFR highlight was winning the 100th anniversary of the “Daddy of ‘Em All,” the Cheyenne Frontier Days.

Though Bozo’s her main man in the arena, Peterson’s No. 1 partner in life is her husband, Chuck, who has had a big hand in her success because he’s always there when she needs him.

“I really couldn’t do it without him,” she says and she means it.

NFR average and world champion standings from 1996

Kristie has two grown children from a previous marriage, Jamie and Justin Upchurch. She and Chuck have an 8-year-old daughter, Jordan. Because Jordan’s in school and Mom doesn’t like to leave her baby behind, Peterson limited her travels to 53 rodeos this year. She says she plans to add a Canadian swing to it in order to take a shot at the $50,000 Calgary Stampede Showdown round.

The Petersons bought a pretty place in Elbert, Colo., three years ago, courtesy of Bozo.

“Chuck had always wanted this place,” Kristie said.

“Thanks to Bozo, we were able to shake hands on it and make it a done deal.”

In addition to the world championship, Peterson’s peers picked her and Bozo for a few special awards in 1996. For the second straight year, Bozo was named the WPRA/ AQHA Horse of the Year. The Top 15 also voted him the Horse With the Most Heart for the second consecutive season. Jeana Day presents the silver platter that commemorates the award each year in memory of her great NFR horse Poco Excuse.

In years past, the Hazel Turner Consolation Award was presented to the to the barrel racer who had the toughest luck at the Finals. This year, Turner decided to shift tra­dition to a more positive note because she felt the Consolation Award was a painful reminder of a game plan gone wrong.

The winner of the first Hazel Turner Sportsmanship Award, (which is scheduled to be given annually) also by a vote of the Top 15, was the ever-gracious Peterson. She received a beautiful Bob Berg bracelet in honor of the barrel racer who had the toughest luck at the Finals. This year, Turner decided to shift tra­dition to a more positive note because she felt the Consolation Award was a painful reminder of a game plan gone wrong.

The winner of the first Hazel Turner Sportsmanship Award, (which is scheduled to be given annually) also by a vote of the Top 15, was the ever-gracious Peterson. She received a beautiful Bob Berg bracelet in honor of the award.

Peterson appreciates every win, every prize, every run she has with this great horse. Her only complaint has nothing to do with his talent. It’s his arrogant personality that makes them opposites.

“Because he’s so great, I’d like to love on him a little bit,” she said. “But he just won’t tolerate it. Let’s just say that if he was a per­son, you wouldn’t want to be married to him.”

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