Utah-It was a gut feeling . . . a gut feeling that was
worth about $4,200. New Mexico cowgirl Sabrina Ketcham
unsaddled her great horse Swivel ta Fame after a run
at the Silver Tour rodeo in Sheridan, Wyo., with a sense
of unease. The 10-year old son of legendary PESI stallion
Dash ta Fame had been back from an injury suffered at
Silver City, N.M., in June for just over a week but
he wasn't feeling right to his jockey.
"It wasn't that he wasn't working
but he wasn't turning like he turns. He has a unique
turn and he was kinda bouncing around," Ketcham
says of her frustrating journey through three Fourth
of July rodeos and Sheridan. "I actually had a
ride for him to go back to the vet but I wanted to take
him to Vernal."
The Dinosaur Round-Up Rodeo had
been good to Ketcham and Swivel as the pair had earned
money in their two previous trips there. With $10,000
in added money and over 100 entries, the 2012 edition
promised to be well worth the effort to the winners.
"I wanted to get him there,
to run him in some good ground," Ketcham says,
adding that she just felt she should try him one more
run as she couldn't find any soreness to point to specifically
for the horse's slower times.
It was a fortuitous decision. Running
in the slack after the second performance on Friday
the 13th, Ketcham blew through a blazing sub-seventeen
second run. Her time of 16.91 was fifteen one-hundredths
better than closest competitor Kaley Bass.
"He worked super nice,"
says Ketcham, an endorsee for ADM Alliance Nutrition.
"He just needed the confidence that being in good
ground can give, that he won't hurt and he won't fall
Swivel is actually Ketcham's mother's
horse, bought at the sale barn in Roswell for the incredibly
low price of $1,200.
"Yeah, all the barrel racers
around New Mexico said, 'there must be something wrong
with him,'" Ketcham laughs, noting that Swivel's
famous pedigree would normally push the sale price much
higher. "He came off the track, had several starts
but didn't win. It was our lucky day, just meant to
Deana Murphy cowboyed on the horse
and broke him to the pattern. After spending time taking
the gelding to the local jackpots, she was scheduled
to have her knees replaced and asked her daughter if
she wanted to ride Swivel.
"We didn't know how good he
would be. He didn't know how good he was," says
Ketcham. Together, the pair has garnered numerous big
wins including the Western Frontier ProRodeo in Pocatello
With the $4,260 won in Vernal, Ketcham
moved to 42nd in the World standings. While she is on
the road for several weeks with scheduled stops in Salt
Lake City, Nampa, Spanish Fork and Cheyenne in the next
week, Ketcham is not planning to stay on the road full
"I rodeo in spurts. I'll go
hard a few weeks here and there and in the summer,"
she laughs. When not on the road, Ketcham and her husband
Justin ranch in Yeso, N.M. "My son Bridger starts
school the first of August so I'll probably go home
then." Bridger is seven and starting second grade
while younger brother Pike is three.
For her part, Ketcham couldn't say
enough good things about the Dinosaur Round-Up.
"They really work hard and
put a lot of time into it," she says, adding that
the committee knows their ground and always does a good
job in creating fair conditions for the barrel racers.
"It's nice to go to one that cares that much."
For more information on the Dinosaur
Round-Up, visit them on-line at www.vernalrodeo.com.