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Oak Harbor woman wrangles TV show
Oak Harbor resident Barbra West is riding back into rodeo competition again.
West is one of the stars on A&E’s real life series “Rodeo Girls,” which follows five female barrel racers and their horses in competitions.
The show premieres Dec. 11 and 12.
Viewers will get to know all of their backstories and how rodeo influences their lives.
When the show premieres, West and her husband, Brian West, will be watching it with friends in Arizona. When they get back to Whidbey Island, they are going to have a large party with their friends and family.
“I’m excited with the anticipation of it,” she said. “I haven’t seen anything but the teasers.”
The filming ended mid-July, so both have been in a business as usual routine since then.
Brian West also participates in rodeos and competes in tie-down roping. He grew up around the lifestyle.
“I don’t know when I learned to rope, I just always have,” he said.
Barbra West competed from 2003-2010 in barrel racing. During that time she became the 2009 Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo Champion, a Columbia River Circuit Final Champion and broke a world record for her 16.735 second timed run in 2007 at the Barrel Racers 4D Final 1D Championship. All titles she won with her horse Scottie Too Hottie, who she refers to as Scottie.
She took a break from competing and retired Scottie. He had a tendon injury so they treated him with stem cell therapy so he could retire without any pain.
“He was a great horse,” she said. “Great horses only come around once in a great while.”
Scottie, who is now 20 years old, happily spends his days at their property.
During her break from competition, she kept busy by training horses, and offering private training. Occasionally she and her husband participate at different group clinics, such as the Whidbey Wranglers.
“I love trying to figure out what the horse and rider and need,” she said. “I like the problem solving and I enjoy it.”
After a while the itch to compete came back to her. But to begin, a new team of horses would have to be trained.
One of the first steps is seasoning the horse. Besides working with them at home, they also have to enter rodeos to show them different arenas.
“It takes them a while to show them what to do and help them get brave,” she said. “It’s really loud and there’s a lot of energy.”
Every horse is different when adapting to the competitive environment, she said.
“It’s all about knowing your horses,” she said. “They were at the right stage in their training and it was time to go out there and show them. I like training and I’m a strong competitor. That’s where I want to stay, that’s what I want to do.”
She has a handful of horses she’s trained for competition and one she is excited about is Fuego, who she got from one of her best friends, Kristin Weaver-Brown.
“She called me up and said,’I just had Scottie’s double,’” she said.
And the 2-year-old Fuego does look like Scottie. He became part of the horse team she trains on a regular basis.
“When you ride him, you can feel it and feel that talent,” she said. “You just know.”
Weaver-Brown is also a top trainer and a rodeo veteran.
“You need to have those people who show you how to win,” she said.
Her husband is happy to see her competing again. He said she missed it and this opportunity helped her reach that goal. She was on the fence about doing the show, but he insisted she try it out.
“Trying and failing is worse than not trying,” he said.
He also knew she’d be kicking herself for not giving it a go.
“He knew I’d be happier doing it,” she said.
As for what happens after the show airs, both are excited for the future.
“We’ll wait and see where it goes from here,” he said.
If the series takes off, West said she hopes her husband can be a part of it.
“I hope he can be more involved. I miss him when he’s at home or at a different rodeo,” she said.