Washington-Sometimes a little break is just what you need.
After a lifetime on the road, Molly Powell didn't mind taking
a break from rodeo in 2011. The 10-time Wrangler National
Finals Rodeo (WNFR) qualifier took time off to have her
first child, son Layne, who arrived August 8. Just four
months later, her husband Turtle won the average and World
Championship at the Wrangler NFR in his sixth appearance
in Las Vegas.
"It was really exciting,"
Powell says of the year and watching Turtle achieve the
pinnacle of professional team roping. "I've had my
card since I was 10-years old and have rodeoed pretty hard
my whole life. It was nice to have a break and it was fun
to step back and watch for a while."
Not only was it a proud moment for her
family but Powell also believes that the needed rest helped
her come back to competition better.
It's hard to argue the point. Powell's
summer is definitely heading in the right direction with
wins coming at nearly every stop. But it wasn't the path
she had planned when she started her trip in Reno, Nev.,
back in June.
"I had a young horse that my Mom
trained for me and I had kind of written off the season,
thinking I would just run him to get him seasoned and be
ready for next year." Unfortunately, the young horse
got hurt the day before Powell's scheduled competition in
Reno, leaving her afoot not just there but for the upcoming
Calgary Stampede, a favorite of Powell's as a two-time Champion.
Enter Gardnerville, Nev., cowgirl Carmen
Creekbaum. Powell was staying with friends near Creekbaum's
home and says the cowgirl wanted her to try her horse Missy
whom Creekbaum had ridden to the victory at the Marysville
(Calif.) Stampede a few weeks prior to Reno.
"I was just mildly interested in
buying something until my horse got hurt," laughs Powell
who is sponsored by Swire Oil Field Services, Atascosa Dodge,
Reinsman, Pureform and Wrangler. With one practice run,
Powell decided to take the chance on Quixotes Bar Chex,
the 11-year old daughter of Dustin Quixote out of Ebes Concession.
"I ran at Reno the next day and
I had wired half the money that morning. I was saddling
the mare to make my first run and we were working out a
contract that I would pay the rest of the money regardless
of what happened on the run," Powell says. "After
my run, I was winning the first go so it was a big thrill
that I was literally stepping in the stirrup as we finished
The new pair started big, making the
short round at Reno and earning big money at Calgary and
Salinas as well. Despite a few minor adjustments along the
way, the duo is quickly making up for lost time.
Over the course of 10 WNFR seasons,
Powell has come to be known for her strong late summer pushes
and she knows the Northwest run well, having grown up in
Montana. So it was little surprise to see her name come
to the top of the results once again at the Omak (Wash.)
Held in conjunction with the World Famous
Suicide Race, the rodeo provides many of thrills to fans
and is one of the toughest barrel races around with many
current and former WNFR qualifiers competing.
Running on the final Sunday, Powell
and Missy scampered around the pattern in 16.22 seconds
to edge out one of the other hottest barrel racers of the
past few weeks, Mary Walker, by just six one-hundredths
of a second. She pocketed $3,004 for the win. Added to her
winnings in Hermiston, Ore., Powell earned nearly $6,000
for the weekend.
"It's been fun, a good year,"
For more information on the Omak
Stampede and World Famous Suicide Race, visit them on-line