Franktown, Colo., barrel racer Christy Loflin was on a horse at the age of 2.
After many years riding in the hunter/jumper disciplines, she caught the bug for barrel racing as an adult and galloped headlong into the dream of competing as a professional.
Last year was a breakout year that included streaking up the standings from the back of the pack in May all the way to finishing seventh in the world when the dust settled after December’s National Finals Rodeo.
One of her proudest achievements was winning the 2013 Cheyenne Frontier Days buckle, and Christy was pleased to talk about barrel racing, her win in Cheyenne, and what she most enjoys about traveling the rodeo road.
Q: What made you decide to take up barrel racing?
A: I absolutely loved doing hunter jumpers, but you were always with a trainer and it was very structured and all of those things. I went to the rodeos and I just loved it. I wanted to do it and it looked fun. I thought the people were different and it was a different atmosphere. And you could win money instead of ribbons, and I just thought that was really cool (laugh).
Q: 2013 was a breakthrough year for you. Tell me your thoughts about last year.
A: Last year was awesome, just because I got started so late on Movin (Sheza Blazin Move — the 9-year-old daughter of leading barrel horse sire, Blazin Jetolena). I didn’t pick her up until May (due to injury before 2012’s NFR). I didn’t know what to expect. I had leased some really nice horses or borrowed some nice horses at the beginning of the year, but just struggled all winter. I was pretty bummed, because ... my whole winter was horrible and I spent a ton of money trying to rodeo and I had only won $269 by May 1. So I got on Movin and the first rodeo I took her to was the Champions Challenge at Redding and we were second behind Mary Walker. I ended up heading back towards Fort Smith and went to Claremore, Okla., and won it and almost set the arena record, there. Then we kind of took off running. I just really had to rodeo hard. I went to 78 rodeos last year, but only 33 of those were on Movin. Movin ran 33 rodeos and made $109,000 from May until September. That was amazing to even get into the NFR. It was just awesome.
Q: The last couple of years, you’ve won some of the major rodeos in the Mountain States Circuit (Greeley and Cheyenne). How nice is to win some of the major circuit rodeos?
A: Our circuit is so stinking tough because everybody comes up to our circuit to compete (laugh). We don’t get any reprieve. We’ve got the biggest money rodeos there are. I’ve never had success (before) at Cheyenne. When I first got my card, I must have entered that rodeo five times in a row, knowing I would never have a chance to win a check, just to compete there because it is so awesome. In 2012, I was the reserve champ there and that was a dream come true. That was an amazing experience winning it last year. That is one of the things I am most proud of. It had gotten muddy and it rained and Movin doesn’t do great in the mud ... but everything worked out and it was amazing.
Q: Has it really sunk in yet for you, winning Cheyenne?
A: Every time I head up north for any reason, I have to drive by that rodeo ... and it is legendary. I think it is equally as prestigious as the NFR, winning that. No, it hasn’t really sunk in. I wear my Cheyenne buckle and I practically sleep in it. I wear it all the time and I never take it off. I haven’t even sent it off to get my name engraved in it. I don’t want to part with it. I keep thinking I need to send this and put my name in it and I won’t do it (laugh).
Q: You are on the road a lot. What is your favorite part of being on the road and competing?
A: You get to live your dream and you are out doing what you love. It’s hard work and people don’t see that side of it all the time. How many people get to get up and spend the day with their horses and go ride and do something that they love? There are people that are constantly miserable and are sitting in an office and wishing they were doing something else. I guess that’s my favorite part is being able to spend it doing something that I love.
Q: How great is to be able to compete in the same rodeos with your daughter (Randi Timmons)?
A: That is awesome and I am so proud of her. She’s pretty much come into her own on her own, and established a name for herself in this industry and I’m pretty proud of that.
Q: Did you ever think your daughter was going to be a barrel racer and you would be racing in the same rodeos?
A: Yes, because Randi is constantly telling me she’s coming after me (laugh). I had a feeling that was going to happen, yes (more laughter).
Q: Last question. What would you attribute your success to, at this point in time?
A: Some people might think this is unrealistic, but I tell my kids this all the time. If you can dream, it you can do it. If you have a passion (and) if you want something bad enough, you can make it happen. It is people that would rather sit and complain or worry and say they can’t — I don’t like to hear that. If I want it, I put my mind to it and I make it happen. So I think I have a little bit of a fantasy world where I think I can do anything I set my mind to, but it also helps me succeed at things. You fail a lot, but I just keep trying, I guess. ❖