Article by Tanya (Krause) Randall, as written in the January 1999 issue of BHN.
World Champion Kristie Peterson and her $400 barrel racing machine, Bozo, set a new earnings record with $212,998.49. They toured the cloverleaf pattern 10 times for a total of 141.58 average, worth $32,511.60. With equal money, they set the standard for NFR earnings in years to come with $99,091.41.
Kristie earned her fourth World Championship and fifth straight NFR average win. “I never intended to be a barrel racer,” Kristie said. “I figured that I’d grow up, get married, have kids, just be a mother and have a job. I didn’t think I would be doing this. I wanted to be a roper.”
“I used to do the Little Britches rodeos and breakaway roping was my favorite event,” she said. “I knew I couldn’t make a career out of that. I knew I would always have a horse and jackpot but barrel racing was my least favorite event.”
But her 11-year-old wonder horse, registered as French Flash Hawk, by Sun Frost out of Caseys Charm by Tiny Circus, made barrel racing fun to say the least. He, in his own special way, has provided for Kristie and her husband, Chuck, children, Justin, Jamie and Jordon and grandchildren.
“I’m just tickled to death,” Kristie said of her titles. “I feel relieved that it is over.”
The stress of the 10 rounds can be grueling.
“When they give $15,000 a round, you dang sure keep your focus,” she said. “You want money in every go-round. Maybe you aren’t even thinking average at that point.”
Kristie and Bozo have toured the small confines of the Thomas and Mack 50 times without hitting a barrel. When asked how she does it, she candidly said she didn’t know.
“I’ve talked to the other girls and sometimes you just have to remind yourself to breathe,” she said. “Try to turn your brain off and it doesn’t work very well.”
The title race between Janet and Kristie came down to the 10th round. Both ladies needed good performances and the others to slip.
“I think it is bad when they say you just have to leave them standing,” she said. “I don’t do the figures. I knew I had to ride the way I normally ride, just go for it.”
She said that in the many trips to the NFR, Bozo has matured and rates his first barrel better than he has in years past. But Bozo will always be a clown at heart.
Last year, after stopping for a photo shoot in the Nevada desert on the return trip home from the NFR, Kristie suffered one of the biggest scares of her life. They had stopped to let Bozo out of the trailer in Cedar City, Utah. They turned him out in a fenced-in area that looked to be secure, but there was a gate left and guess where Bozo headed.
After a frantic two-hour search with Chuck in hot pursuit and the help of the police and an animal control officer, Bozo was once again safe and sound.
Kristie is taking no chances of letting Bozo do a repeat performance as a wild mustang.
“My mother bought me a long longe line,” she said with a grin. “We’ll keep him on that when he’s anxious while we go check on the gates!”