By Laura Lambert
It took all season for Trula Churchill and her incredible 6-year-old gelding, A Streak Of Rita, to win a little more than $27,000 in the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association. It took only five days and six runs for Churchill and the horse she affectionately calls “Worm” to nearly triple that figure and earn the title of Canadian Professional Rodeo Association champion barrel racer.
Coming into the Canadian Finals Rodeo in Edmonton, Alberta as the season leader didn’t seem to shake up the barrel racing team from Valentine, Nebraska. The first round started off with a solid run and a second place finish when they clocked a 14.600 which would prove to be the pair’s second fastest time of the week. With each round paying a touch more than $11,000 the title was really up for anyone to grab.
Churchill stayed focused throughout the week and had a good game plan.
“I just had to let Worm do his thing and trust him. I really tried to keep my mind on what I had to do. I didn’t want to worry about the standings. I knew in my mind that whoever did good in the last performance would win the title, so I just wanted to make the best run I could and let the rest take care of itself,” Churchill said.
Her game plan worked as she placed no less than third in the first four rounds. Round five brought a slight bobble at the first barrel that kept them out of the money but Churchill recognized that it was just Worm really trying to work.
Coming into the final round, Churchill was drawn at number two. Stopping the clock at 14.508, she and Worm had topped the first runner, Gaylene Buff’s time of 14.657, along with clocking her fastest time of the week. Lisa Lockhart was next and the title was left up to what the clock said when the buckskin sensation, An Oakie With Cash crossed the line. A show stopping, breathtaking 15.553 was the time and the very small margin between the two competitors determined Churchill and Worm to be the champions.
“I would like to thank all of my friends and family who have helped me along the way. There have been so many people who have let me stay at their places and offered words of encouragement to me throughout the year. This is quite an accomplishment and I’m proud of my horse,” reflected Churchill.
The final round win on Sunday afternoon earned Churchill $11,003.57 while Lockhart’s second place finish totaled $8,182.14. These earnings separated by $2,821.43 made all the difference in the final standings where Churchill topped Lockhart by a mere $1,502.57.
See the January issue of Barrel Horse News for feature length coverage from the CFR.
Final 2011 CPRA Year End Standings
1. Trula Churchill $76,184.86
2. Lisa Lockhart $74,682.29
3. Gaylene Buff $68,170.43
4. Lindsay Sears $35,683.57
5. Traci Macdonald $28,223.71
6. Lee Ann Rust $24,870.29
7. Joleen Sietz $22,274.00
8. Debbie Renger $20,182.29
9. Jane Melby $19,953.14
10. Rylee McKenzie $17,687.43
11. Carolynn Knapp $15,202.00
12. Laura James $14,113.00