Hudson 21-year-old Ivy Conrado has eyes on barrel racing world title
Remember being 21 years old and feeling like you have the whole world in the palm of your hand?
Well, Ivy Conrado kind of does have the whole world in the palm of her hand — at least when it comes to the world of barrel racing.
Conrado, a 21-year-old superstar on the rise from Hudson, is the second-ranked barrel racer in the world. She trails only Mary Burger, who has about a 30-year edge in experience over Conrado.
Conrado had the third fastest time — 17.59 seconds — in front of a crowd of 5,181 on Tuesday during the second day of the Greeley Stampede Pro Rodeo June 28 at Island Grove Arena.
By her own admission, it wasn’t Conrado’s best performance as she continues to pursue the first world title of her young career.
“It could have been better, but we struggled here last year, so I wasn’t sure what to expect,” Conrado said.
Conrado acknowledged she struggles a bit with the layout of the three barrels at the Stampede, which is a little atypical of the layouts she’s used to.
“The first barrel is kind of sitting out in the middle there,” she said. “Most arenas are just kind of more enclosed. So that just kind of makes it easier for (the horses) to find the barrels.”
Conrado was a standout volleyball player just a handful of years ago at Brighton High School, medaling in the Junior Olympics three times.
She had a series of scholarship offers to play in college but opted to stay true to her first love and pursue a professional barrel racing career.
That proved to be a sound decision for the second-year pro, who has already racked up $68,812.38 this season. Burger, a Pauls Valley, Okla. native, has accumulated $88,317.29, recently winning $50,000 in March in Houston, Texas, to boost herself ahead of Conrado.
Conrado is a sure bet to qualify for the National Finals Rodeo in December in Las Vegas, needing to merely be in the top 15.
Conrado said making it to the NFR is “every little girl’s dream”.
However, even with her entire career ahead of her, Conrado already has her sights set on much more ambitious goals than merely qualifying for the finals.
She said she hopes to earn her first world despite barely being old enough to toast herself properly if she were to top the standings at the Thomas and Mack Center in December.
“It is exciting; I don’t want to overwhelm her or myself,” Conrado said, nodding toward her horse. “I just want to keep trying to do what we’ve been doing. We haven’t been too consistent here lately, but hopefully we can get back into our groove and do what we should be doing.”
Former Platte Valley High School football standout and Kersey native Craig Wisehart made a stop right close to home to kick off a busy stretch that includes six rodeos in six days.
His wily horse, Self Dumper, got the best of him in bareback bronc riding, bucking him off just past the six-second mark.
Wisehart, 28, said he knew of Self Dumper’s daunting reputation but was determined to ride him anyway, hoping to show well in front of his home crowd.
“Hometown just gives you that extra motivation,” said Wisehart, a 2007 Platte Valley graduate. “I really thought I had him, but he just bucked really hard tonight and got the best of me.”
Wisehart didn’t dwell on the performance, knowing he had to quickly shift his focus to a rodeo today in Prescott, Ariz.
“I call it the five-minute rule,” Wisehart said. “If you want to fret about or analyze what you did right or did wrong, you give yourself about five minutes and other than that, just move on.”
Another Kersey native, Cody Johansen, competed in bull riding Tuesday.
He was bucked off by a bull named Captain Call, but it is somewhat remarkable Johansen was able to compete at all.
He’s battling through a torn labrum in his shoulder, along with an internal rotator cuff contusion and a possible rotator cuff tear after being kicked in the elbow by a bull about two months ago during a rodeo in Hayward, Calif.
“I did what I could do,” said Johansen, who attended Platte Valley before graduating from Briggsdale in 2011. “It’s kind of a zero-excuse sport.”
Johansen, 23, is ranked 24th in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. He said he will likely need surgery after the season is over, but for now, he’s just trying to battle through the pain.
“If you can’t deal with it, you’re probably not in the right sport,” he said.
Tuesday’s rodeo results
Bareback riding — Tanner Aus, Granite Falls, Minn., 82; Bill Tutor, Huntsville, Texas, 80; Jerad Schlegel, Burns, 77; Steer wrestling — Blair Jones, Colby, Kan., 4.9; K.C. Jones, Decatur, Texas, 5.8; Cody Cabral, Hilo, Hawaii, 6.0; Jon Herl, Goodland, Kan., 6.0; Team roping — Clay Smith, Broken Bow, Okla, & Paul Eaves, Lonedell, Mo., 4.9; Lane Karney, Creston, Calif., & Jordan Ketscher, Squaw Valley, Calif., 7.7; Riley Minor, Ellensburg, Wash., & Brady Minor, Ellensburg, Wash., 9.9; Saddle bronc — Zeke Thurston, Big Valley, Alberta, 80; Taos Muncy, Corona, N.M., 79; Colton Miller, Lance Creek, Wyo., 77; Tie-down roping — Timber Moore, Aubrey, Texas, 8.5; Cooper Martin, Alma, Kan., 9.0; Bryson Sechrist, Apache, Okla., 9.5; Mutton bustin’ — Jayline Pereyra, Longmont, 83; Quinntyn Steinmetz, Greeley, 80; Julian Luevanos, Fort Lupton, 78; Jackson Buffington, Severance, 78; Barrel racing — Taylor Homuth, Huntsville, Texas, 17.53; Tillar Murray, Fort Worth, Texas, 17.55; Ivy Conrado, Hudson, 17.59; Bull riding — Trevor Reiste, Linden, Iowa, 62.