WPRA Rookie Amanda Butler and her 11-year old TS Cinch Ta Fame were more than ready to Kick Open the Chutes in Cave Creek, Arizona over Memorial Day Weekend. Ironically enough Butler calls her horse Kick and the duo stopped the clock in a blistering fast time of 15.45 seconds to run away with the title.
“I was third out in slack,” said Butler of Payson, Utah. “I clocked well but didn’t think I would end up where I ended up. I never have really been to a ProRodeo where there are big names. There were girls in Cave Creek that had been to the NFR. I said I guess we will just see where I end up but didn’t feel like I would even end up in the top 5 but you never know. It turned out to be great.”
Butler who bought her WPRA permit in October after turning 18 easily filled it at her first WPRA-approved jackpot in Buckeye, Arizona the first of January. She quickly upgraded to her rookie card and went on to win her first ProRodeo in Buckeye, Arizona, at the end of January. She has found great success in Arizona and is currently ranked seventh in the WPRA Rookie Standings after her big win in Cave Creek.
“I originally wanted to make the NFR,” said Butler, when asked about her goals for her rookie year in the WPRA. “I knew it would be hard because it would be my first year and I didn’t have any experience with really any ProRodeos. So I came to the realization that it would be really, really difficult. I am now shooting for WPRA Rookie of the Year. If I fall short there, I would like to win the Wilderness Circuit Rookie of the Year and win the circuit to get a chance to compete in Florida next year.”
Butler’s involvement in the WPRA is a new adventure for the whole family as her older sister, Lauren Butler Porter, and Amanda are first generation rodeo competitors in their family.
“My parents didn’t grow up around horses or have any interest in horses,” noted Butler. “Ever since my sister and I were little girls we wanted to own horses. I actually wanted to be a horse and it was a sad realization when I found out I couldn’t be a horse.
“We started competing through 4-H and leased a couple of horses. We had some good family friends the Pulhams (specifically Olin, a tie-down roper, and his mother Lori) who encouraged us to try high school rodeo. My dad was like ok whatever. He was never really involved when we participated in 4-H but he switched once we got into high school rodeo and really became competitive and loves it.”
They soon realized that the horses they had used in 4-H weren’t going to cut it for rodeo so they purchased new horses including Kick. “I have had Kick for four years now,” Butler said. “We bought him my sophomore year in high school and I qualified for Nationals all three years I ran him. I won State on him my Junior and Senior years and won Nationals my Junior year.”
Butler had an idea she had a nice horse in her trailer but after Memorial Weekend in Cave Creek her confidence in him is through the roof now.
“I knew he was a super nice horse,” noted Butler, who not only shocked the barrel racing community but also herself with the win in Cave Creek. “I always thought he would be able to run with those tough horses but he went way above and beyond.
“It still doesn’t feel real to me that I won. I am still convinced something wasn’t right to win by that much against those tough horses. To win by one-hundredth of a second is one thing but by that margin… my horse ran quite a bit faster than the other horses so was just shocking to me.”
Butler, like many other rodeo competitors, was just thrilled to be back competing and the win was icing on the cake. “It was really nice to be back at a rodeo again,” she said. “It was weird to not go fully back to normal rodeo where there are spectators, everyone warming up together and hanging out together. Instead, everyone was wearing masks and we had to social distance. Everyone was pretty excited to be back and we were super grateful to the people in Cave Creek for all they did to be able to put on a rodeo.”
Butler will continue to monitor which rodeos will be able to move forward this year. Her next rodeo outing will be Eagle Mountain, Utah, in June and she hopes she has the same success in her home State as she has had in Arizona.