Rodeo Sweetheart Lisa Lockhart wins first national title in Kissimmee
A rodeo sweetheart and her name is Lisa Lockhart! If you are familiar with the sport of women’s barrel racing, you’ll know she’s a legend in most arenas she rides into. If you are a rookie to the sport of rodeo, we hope you’ll enjoy learning a little more about Lisa and her career as a professional barrel racer.
Lockhart’s parents weren’t competitive in rodeo, but her sisters Debbie and Angie were the pioneers of their family that eventually roped Lisa into participating. “I am pretty sure my sister learned to pole bend along the tree line in our pasture. Growing up, my yellow and white paint pony was my babysitter. My mom would stick me out in the pasture with my pony, Dandy, and we’d play.” Lockhart competed in her first competitive barrel race at Wolf Point near her hometown at age six. From then, she’s never looked back!
A high school rodeo competitor turned amateur competitor, a graduate of Montana State University, and a member of the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association since 1993, Lockhart has no plans of stopping anytime soon! “As long as I am able-bodied, this is my job and I love my job.”
As Lockhart explains barrel racing her way, “It’s one right, two lefts or either way you go it’s three turns and a horse race! Barrel racing is an easy concept for the fans to grasp and it makes it fun for them.” The barrel racing competition is lightning fast! Blink and you might miss it. Cowgirls enter the arena at record racing speed, make a cloverleaf pattern around three barrels, and race out of the arena. If they leave all three barrels standing up-right, they will receive a qualifying time. If a barrel is tipped over, it’s an automatic five-second penalty per barrel added to their time. If the horse and rider break the pattern, they are disqualified.
Lockhart is a 14-time RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo qualifier and took home her first national title in March earlier this year. 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.” At the 2019 RAM NCFR, she took a chance and only traveled with Cutter who she won the title on. “I took a chance and we rolled the dice! It worked!” Lockhart being a horse trainer has a deep love and passion for these athletes. She acquired Louie from Tim Bagnell of B Bar Heart, Rosa from Alan Woodberry of Woodberry Performance Horses, and Cutter from Copper Spring Ranch.
One of Lisa’s best memories was in 2014 when she won $100,000.00 at the first American. “The first American was unique. There were zero expectations and everyone was in the unknown. New arena, new opportunity. We knew someone was leaving with $1 Million and someone was leaving with $100,000.00. I was the last to go, and when I turned the third barrel, I squealed because I realized I had won a check for $100,000.00 in less than 15 seconds.” Pretty amazing, right?
In addition to winning in the arena, in 2016, Lockhart won the Guy Weadick Award in Calgary. “This award was very meaningful and heartfelt. I was recognized as a person, not just a professional barrel racer. Very few are not Canadians who win this, and I am the second woman to win this award.”
When Lisa isn’t traveling 65,000 miles a year to rodeos, she trains horses and participates in her kids’ activities. While Lockhart is passionate about rodeo, she is even more so about her family. Lockhart is a proud momma to daughter Alyssa, 21, Thane, 19, and Cade, 16. “They are all successful kids involved in rodeo and stay very active in sports.” If you ask her about her hubby, you can tell in her voice how much she adores him. “My husband Grady is always pushing me to be my best. It was because of him, his love, support, and coaching I am where I am today. He knows me, barrel racing, and my horses inside and out, so he’s like my personal coach. There is a lot of sacrifice that goes on behind the scenes. While I am on the road, he holds everything together at our ranch. I am not sure how he does it. He has his hands full. I am so thankful for him! Go, Grady!”
When it comes to setting goals, Lockhart shared, “I am not a huge goal setter. I have things always in mind. I like to start my seasons off small and end big. My horsepower dictates what I do or don’t do. If I had to state-specific goals, it’s to always have a circuit finals qualification, make the Calgary Stampede, and qualify for the Wrangler National Finals.”