Ranked first in the district in barrel racing, senior Christi Roberts recently competed in the Challenge of Champions in Plymouth, Calif., March 22-24. Even though it was a “tough competition,” according to Roberts, just being selected to compete was an accomplishment itself.
Only the top three rodeo riders in each district are selected to compete in the Challenge of Champions, so it was quite an achievement for the first-year California High School Rodeo Association rider.
Before this, Roberts solely took part in barrel racing.
“I’ve been competing in barrel racing since sixth grade,” Roberts says. “This year I chose to venture out and start competing in different events, because being able to compete in all sorts of different events keeps it interesting, and it’s fun to get out of your comfort zone.”
Now Roberts trains for a variety of events including goat tying, pole bending, and breakaway roping.
Roberts’ love for rodeo riding will continue after high school. She plans to join the rodeo team at Cal Poly this fall and is bringing along her two beloved horses Miley and Skoal to the school’s stables.
Rodeos aren’t a simple task; they require immense work and dedication. Roberts claims the hardest aspect is training because “every day there is something to work on.” From traveling across the state to learn from different trainers to constantly perfecting individual events, it can be “tiring.
Roberts’ hard work has not gone unnoticed.
“It’s unbelievable how much heart and soul she has put in,” acknowledges Kim Martin, Roberts’ longtime trainer.
Along with tough training, Roberts has ventured all over California for her competitions. Of one of her favorite aspects of competing in rodeos, Roberts says, “I love being able to travel to different places and compete.”
Her travels have included a trip to the Clovis Rodeo on March 9, where Martin notes that Roberts ranked fifth out of 90 people.
Despite the long voyages, Roberts’ inspirations keep her riding.
According to Roberts, she is encouraged by “seeing how hard the others girls work and knowing that whether or not you’re practicing, others are getting better.”
She is also motivated by her daily practices with Martin at the local stables, Wishing Well Ranch, on Schulte Road.
While many of Carmel High’s students ride horses at Wishing Well, Roberts is the only person at CHS who currently competes in rodeos.
Still, the CHS senior enjoys meeting others who share her passion: “I compete with a variety of girls from different high schools. It’s fun to meet new people.”
With the support of her family and friends, Roberts is ready to take her riding to the next level. Since rodeos require participants to be 18 years old, Roberts has yet to compete in rodeos out of the high school league. She plans to compete in her first “big time” competition at the Salinas Rodeo this summer.
Roberts’ next competition is at the Salinas Sports Conference the first weekend of April, where she will be participating in barrel racing and pole bending.