Colorado Native headed to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo
November 19, 2012
Many a great story starts with the words, "I met a man." In Christy Loflin's case, those words changed her life and even though that man and Loflin aren't together today, they are great friends and support each other's goals in ways that few adults can manage.
Colorado native Christy Loflin grew up in Parker and today lives in Franktown with her two children, daughter Randi and son, Cole Timmons. Loflin was a competitor in the Hunter-Jumper horse world before meeting and marrying Ron Timmons, who was a rodeo roper. As Loflin became accustomed to the rodeo way of life, she started looking at barrel racing in a whole new way.
"I wasn't any good at roping. I tried. And as a Hunter-Jumper I got trophies and ribbons," Loflin said. "When I figured out you could win money at rodeos I started barrel racing. Ron could rope at amateur rodeos and I could go with him."
Of course, Loflin didn't start off winning money, it took her a while, as it does for most barrel racers, but once the checks started, the money was more than enticing.
"If I knew now what I didn't know then I might not have done it," Loflin said. "I had just learned to ride Western and I took a rope horse and started him to the left instead of the right — I knew that little — and I have such little patience with things I wonder how I ever got into this. And I didn't start small, two of my friends and I bought our permits and went for it."
But get into it she did. While seasoning her horses she also joined a Colorado association, the Mile Hi Barrel Horse Association produced by another Colorado native Carol Crowder. The association has been instrumental in helping Loflin develop into the competitor she wanted to be. Loflin self-describes herself as a dreamer and knew after just a few rodeos that she wanted to make it to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR). As a mother her miles were limited while they were young, but as her children got older, Loflin started traveling farther and this last year she is excited and proud to show her children that she's made it to the NFR. Her children, she says, are her biggest supporters, along with her ex-husband and she laughs and describes how they decorated her road home with more than 15 signs that said "congrats" "you made it" and more. They also decorated the house and for the detractors who say she's not being enough of a mother she says, "My kids literally want me to be doing just what I'm doing and I'm proud to show them the person I've become."
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"I went to maybe 50 rodeos this year, but compared to everyone else, they went to a lot more," Loflin said. "I was at my son's hockey playoff and then placed at Denver, Rapid City and Tucson, and then had a hard time adjusting to being gone so long and I was hitting barrels left and right, and really questioned myself. I was missing my kids and I missed being home and I was flying back and forth from California to see my son play hockey."
Loflin sat down and questioned the road she was on and instead of over-entering rodeos for the July run, she entered less and then promptly chastised herself for doing so.
"They say that to get a shot at the NFR you need to have $12,000 won coming into the Reno rodeo which is the middle of June. And I did not. I had like $6,000 won, hardly anything," Loflin said.
On her trip to Greeley, Loflin was having a private pity party when she drove by a very bad wreck that had a van full of Boy Scouts that had somehow driven through an RV and children were dead. She told herself then that she needed to buck up and quit being a baby. She was lucky to be alive and she was lucky to be doing what she loved, even on her worst day.
"It was the worst wreck I've ever seen," Loflin said. "I told myself, even if you hit every barrel and fall off at the end, you're still doing something you love."
After pulling herself out of her funk, Loflin placed second at Greeley in the first round with a time of 17.24, tied with Lindsay Sears. She came back in the next round with the 11 other riders for the progressive round and got a second again with a 17.14, sitting between two greats, Mary Walker and Lindsay Sears, for the rodeo win of $9,000.
"So then I was up to $18,000 won. It would be hard, but I was going to go for it," Loflin said. With a second place win at Cheyenne Frontier Days and the average win at Pendleton, Loflin is on her way to her first NFR.
Loflin continues with the Mile Hi Barrel Horse Association and cherishes the friends she's made and the seasoning she's gotten. She's thankful to have a place to go where her whole family could compete and have fun.
"My son, Cole, isn't into barrel racing, he plays hockey, but he goes with my daughter and I and has a great time and I never have to worry about him. It's one big family and everyone keeps an eye out for him," Loflin said. "I love all their events, but I really love their two slot races per year and look forward to them."
Loflin's daughter, Randi Timmons, is a winner in her own right, holding down the 1D Open Youth year-end championship for the Mile Hi Barrel Horse Association and Loflin bought her daughter her WPRA permit for her 18th birthday! The co-sponsored WPRA races with the Mile Hi Association will help Randi fill her permit.
Loflin's biggest pressure regarding the NFR is that she's worried she won't be able to entertain her family while they are there.
"I don't have any pressure on my performance, I'm lucky I get to live my dream," Loflin said. "I don't think many people get to live their dream. Sure, I want to win money and show how awesome my horse is, but I have a lot of family coming out and it will be hard. I've heard from NFR veterans that you have to manage your time really well and I'm one of those that feels I have to entertain, so managing my time will be stressful."
Loflin remembers going to Carol Crowder's jackpots before her Crowder created Mile Hi. "I hope that anyone starting out in the Mile Hi or in the WPRA knows that if you can dream it, you can do it," Loflin said. "I still remember looking at the pro members in the Mile Hi and thinking that I wanted to be just like that. If you can dream of going to the NFR, then you can do it. There is nothing stopping you except you. Believe me, if I can do it anyone can do it!" ❖