Honoring women making history by blazing the rodeo trail!
The Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) is the oldest women’s sports organization in the country. The Association started in 1948 with a group of Texas ranch women who wanted to add a little color and femininity to the rough-and-tumble sport of rodeo. A major move at the time, 38 women met at the St. Angelus Hotel in San Angelo, Texas, on February 28, 1948, to change the way they were being treated in the male-dominated world of rodeo. These women banded together to create the very first professional sports association created solely for women by women.
These women represent an important piece of pro rodeo in alliance with the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) by competing in the only women’s event at the RAM NCFR, which is barrel racing.
In March, we celebrate women’s history month to remember and honor the contributions of noblewomen. Though the sport of rodeo wouldn’t be what it is without the original 38 women, many women make up the WPRA today. On the blog, we’re highlighting four past RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo (RAM NCFR) barrel racing champions and their career highlights.
Hailing from Hudson, Colorado, Ivy Conrado-Saebens has been competing in the WPRA since 2015, where she finished fifth in the WPRA Rookie of the Year race. She qualified for the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Kissimmee, Florida in 2016, where she won her first national championship in the Silver Spurs Arena aboard CFour Tibbie Stinson “Tibbie.” Ivy is a four-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier who won her first Wrangler NFR average title with a total time of 138.44 seconds on 10 runs on KN Fabs Gift of Fame “JLo” and after placing in eight out of ten rounds, she finished reserve world champion with $264,673 in 2019.
Emily Miller, a Weatherford, Oklahoma barrel racer, has a different story than most women in rodeo. She didn’t grow up in a rodeo family and was introduced to the sport by her babysitter since her parents weren’t “horse people.” While competing in the Kansas High School Rodeo Association her junior year, she qualified for Nationals in five events (barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying, breakaway roping, and team roping events), setting herself apart from other competitors. Emily began competing in the WPRA in 2013, finishing the year ranked 14th in the Rookie of the Year standings. Emily has competed in Kissimmee three years in a row starting in 2015. She qualified for the RAM NCFR after year-end champion Kim Couch was unable to attend. A year later, she qualified for the RAM NCFR and won $15,000. The following year, she competed at the RAM NCFR and left the arena as the 2017 RAM NCFR barrel racing champion aboard her great horse Namgis D35 “Pipewrench.”
Texas circuit barrel racer Taci Bettis has been riding since before she could walk. She started her career as a young kid on a pony at youth rodeos. Since then, she has worked her way up the ranks, competing in high school rodeo and then on the regional rodeo tour. She decided to get her WPRA card in 2017, winning the WPRA Rookie of the Year and placing 2nd in the Texas Circuit Finals. Taci finished the year ranked 10th in the world after earning $162,446. She placed in five out of ten rounds, winning $65,423 at her first Wrangler NFR in 2017. In 2018, Taci competed at the RAM NCFR, where she won the 2018 RAM NCFR barrel racing title aboard her horse Bogie Is A Smash “Smash.”
A wife, mother, and veteran in the barrel racing industry, Lisa Lockhart joined the WPRA in 1993. When she is not on the road competing, Lisa and her husband, Grady (married 1994), a PRCA tie-down roper, work on their ranch and train horses. Typically, she travels with her three Quarter Horses, 16-year-old Oakie with Cash “Louie,” 9-year-old Rosa’s Cantina “Rosa,” and 8-year-old Prime Diamond “Cutter.” Throughout her career, the Badlands circuit barrel racer has earned a total of $2.67 million dollars, qualified for the Wrangler NFR 13 times and is a 14x RAM NCFR qualifier, winning the barrel racing title in 2019 aboard Prime Diamond “Cutter.”
The RAM NCFR has been crowning barrel racing champions since 1987 and these great ladies have helped pave the way for future generations of rodeo athletes alongside many other WPRA contestants.
For more information about the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo, subscribe to our Buckle Bulletin below! For more information on the WPRA, visit www.wpra.com.