Behind the Scenes with Cassidy Kruse
Professional barrel racer Cassidy Kruse shares five things you might not know about professional rodeo.
By Abigail Boatwright
Rodeo is not all glitz and glamor. While the fierce competition is exciting and the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo is the stuff of legends, the ins and outs of hitting the road are a little more down-to-earth. Women's Professional Rodeo Association competitor and NFR qualifier Cassidy Kruse shares a few things that might surprise a rodeo newbie about the sport.
Warmup is scarce.
Kruse says at a recent rodeo, a fellow competitor asked her if the small, rough dirt patch they were riding on was the only warmup area—she was shocked when Kruse confirmed.
"I said oh no, this is a good warm-up place compared to some places where we don't get anything and just have to trot up and down the road a couple of times," Kruse said. "It can get really hard when there are 60 riders in a spot like this. We just all have to take turns. When you're at the rodeo, you don't really have a warm-up place—the only place to ride really is the arena."
Your truck is your castle.
Kruse says for the most part, rodeo is not glamours. She gets really attached to her vehicle.
"We spend most of our time sitting in the truck driving or trying to catch up on sleep," Kruse said. "There are a lot of late nights and early mornings. You get very comfortable in your truck, because that's where you spent most of your time."
There are a lot of rodeos.
Kruse says her biggest surprise was how many rodeos are produced each year.
"There are over 100 rodeos," Kruse said. "When you first start, you don't realize how many there are to go to. But there are so many. Every rodeo is different. Most of the time, they are pretty great, and it's really neat knowing there are so many rodeos put on. They try to do such a good job for us rodeo contestants."
Get your card early.
Kruse said some riders don't realize how long it can take to receive your competitor's card after you purchase it. She says it can take two weeks to a month to receive it.
"Sometimes people go to enter and they don't have a card, and then they just have to miss that rodeo," Kruse said. "You definitely want to make sure you have a card in time."
Plan your trip.
Kruse says you can waste a lot of time and money criss crossing all over the country without planning your rodeo schedule.
"You really want to make sure you sit down to get a good trip planned of where you want to go and how you want to get there," Kruse said. "Doing that is going to save a lot of miles on yourself and your horse if you plan really well. If you have a goal in mind of what you want to accomplish, whether it's making your circuit finals or making the NFR, get your plan and get your goal and go for it and don't look back. It's going to be ups and downs on the road—I had to learn that all the hard way too—but if you have a goal, to stick to it and don't let anything get in the way."
Tags: rodeo, WPRA, Cassidy Kruse, barrel racer advice, how to handle bumps in the road, on the rodeo road, rodeo season, handling unforseen elements in rodeo, PRCA, Womens Professional Rodeo Association, Entering rodeos, Novice advice, Road warrior, Barrel racing basics, Rodeo advice