White tenacious in pursuit of CFR dream

Many athletes are willing to work hard to accomplish their goals, but few would be willing to commit two decades to the task

LYNDA THURSTON

Independent contributor

Many athletes are willing to work hard to accomplish their goals, but few would be willing to commit two decades to the task like Big Valley barrel-racer Kirsty White, who just put her first-ever Canadian Finals Rodeo in the books.

Bubbling with gratitude, White said on the Saturday afternoon of the CFR: “This is such a relief. You know I think I have been mailed the CFR contestants package seven times in my career, but when the numbers came in, I was always short. Last year, I missed the finals by just $19 and it was heartbreaking.”

White’s story is a lesson in tenacity that is not for the faint of heart. Born and raised in the remote interior of British Columbia, White was the daughter of champion all-around Cowgirl Diane White, who tragically lost her life in a roping accident when Kirsty, the youngest of two girls, was just 13 years old.

In spite, or because of, Kirsty has gone on to forge her way in the rough and tumble rodeo life by becoming self-sufficient and self-made. The diminutive 48-year-old puts out more manpower per square inch of her body than anyone I know. Training eight to 10 horses a year for outside customers, White also raises and trains several futurity horses each season and competes at the professional level. The workload is physically demanding and to top it off, White shoes horses to supplement her income and proudly states that she wouldn’t let anyone else shoe the seven-year-old mare Racey that White ran at the CFR.

The partnership between White and her horses is always a 50/50 deal, but Kirsty talks about Racey with a special fondness.

“You know I sold other good horses that could’ve taken me to the Finals, but it was a business decision,” she said. “Maybe this was meant to be because Racey has taught me so much. She’s not an easy horse to ride, she’s young and explosive, but I feel I have her trust and she is willing to let me guide her.”

White has been careful not to pressure the mare, who was ranked third in Canada after the futurity stats were in. “I basically chose not to derby her and gave her time off. Now she will be 8 next spring. We are going to test the waters at some of the winter PRCA rodeos. I am really excited because as she gets more mature, she is going to smooth out and just get better and better. She is very efficient in her turns and the rest will take care of itself.”

For White, it has been a long journey to this place where she has felt vindicated. “I had a horse in ’92 called ‘Sprint to the Mint’ and in June of that year, I was ranked fifth in Canada. That horse developed colic and we couldn’t save her.”

White has won plenty of awards in her 20-year career, despite her cat and mouse chase with the CFR. In 2012, she was honored by the Canadian Professional barrel racers with the Cowgirl of the Year Award.

“Rodeo takes so much focus and commitment. Women are nurturers, and as a single mom and woman on my own, I am so thankful for my family and really wonderful friends. My sister Allison, my dad Doug and son Dane make this all so special. Canadian champion Rayel Robinson (now Little) has also been a person I owe much to, for all I’ve learned.”

White is optimistic about her rodeo future. “I love the Big Valley, Stettler area. This community has so many champions in it, you can thrive here.”

Kirsty will winter in Arizona like many other Alberta rodeo competitors in order to keep on top of her game and get as much training time in as possible.

Looking back on her first CFR, White couldn’t be more pleased with her horse Racey. “She let me partner with her and the final round told the story.” A winning time of 14.627 was Racey’s best of the week. The smile on Kirsty’s face said it all as she took home a go-round buckle and $23,817. With her trailer loaded to head to Arizona, White said “rodeo is all about being in the moment, but then isn’t that all we really have?”

 

Just Posted

Settler has fun-filled day planned for Canada Day

Fireworks, entertainment at West Settler Park

Changes coming to this year’s Big Valley Jamboree

Camrose’s popular country music festival ‘enhances guest experience’

Scenic trail ride raises funds for STARS air ambulance

Battle River Ride for STARS hopes to reach this year’s goal

Stettler gears up for annual Communities in Bloom challenge

As the 2011 National Champs, the Town now competes in the international category

Officials declare July 12th as ‘Collector Car Appreciation Day’

Collector Car Appreciation Day was launched back in 2010

Air Canada reviewing how crew left sleeping passenger on parked plane

In a Facebook post, the woman said she woke up ‘all alone’ on a ‘cold dark’ aircraft

PHOTOS: Event marks one year since soccer team rescued from Thai cave

Nine players and coach took part in marathon and bike event to help improve conditions at cave

Fighter Jets light up Bucs’ to take AFL first place

38-3 loss puts Central Alberta into second place in the AFL

PHOTOS: Scamp the Tramp wins World’s Ugliest Dog Contest

‘He’s Scamp the Champ, no longer Scamp the Tramp,’ his Californian owner said.

Deals on paid time off for domestic violence ‘beginning of a wave,’ says expert

Philippines was the first country to pay for domestic-violence leave, starting in 2004

Calgary Flames select forward Jakob Pelletier with the No. 26 pick

The 18-year-old winger from Quebec City had spoken with the club earlier in the day and knew they were interested

Central Alberta RCMP constable found not guilty of sexual assault

Justice Grant Dunlop acquitted Const. Jason Tress following a week-long trial in Red Deer Court

Inuit sue feds over experiments that included skin grafts

Plaintiffs allege they were also prodded with sharp instruments to assess their reaction to pain

Most Read