story by Laura Martin When Jim Persinger discovered the National Senior Pro Rodeo Association in 2012, feeling like he could still compete at the age […]
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Meet the Member Norene Canada
story by Lindsay King
Dogs racing from one end of an arena to the other, a scene found at this year’s NSPRA finals rodeo. Norene Canada had the top dog from the small dog category in the final race. “Tinker might have won but she was chasing other dogs instead. It was fun to watch. The cowboys get those little poodles out and then they get real serious,” said the San Rafael, New Mexico, barrel racer. Norene is a dog groomer by trade and a cowgirl by fate. “Nobody in my family did rodeo before my sister Pauline and I took it up. We had horses growing up and somehow we talked my parents into taking us to some horse shows and it just grew from there.” She credits her parents, Norman and Jaime Holton, with ultimately launching her rodeo career. “They always made sure I had a good horse, a trailer and the means to enter.”
Norene makes a living grooming pets in Grants, New Mexico, at Jenny’s Pet Grooming. “I was a dental assistant forever and when my doctor was getting ready to retire 20 years ago, I decided I wanted to do something different. I had always groomed my own dogs and I wanted a job where I could take off for a rodeo if I needed to.” A flexible schedule for the past 25 years has allowed Norene to ride her colts and leave for rodeos whenever she needed to. Norene barrel raced all through high school and kept at it in the open and amateur rodeos. However, her true passion is with her current horse and working futurity horses.
“I ran futurity horses for about seven years, but then I got out of that and just bought a really solid horse for myself. I am trying to get back to it though, I have a futurity horse now I am trying to season.” Blessed with a great horse and supportive husband, Norene was the NSPRA world champion barrel racer in the 50 and over category. “I won the Gallup Intertribal Rodeo this year, that was really good money. I give my horse the credit, if I did not have him I would not be doing anything.” Ben Chavez, Norene’s husband and a cattleman, is a huge support when she is on the rodeo road. “I have been blessed with my husband, son Cody Canada and his family and a great horse, in that order of course.” Norene turns to her sister when she needs help with her horses. “Breakaway used to be her event but now she mostly just rides and helps me fix any problems that I have.” Pauline’s son, Dylan Henson, is a PRCA saddle bronc rider, Norene is one of his biggest fans.
The relaxed nature of the NSPRA has kept Norene in the association for the past five years. “I like that all of the contestants get along really well, we all help and support each other in the NSPRA. I say that especially for the barrel racers.” Her favorite NSPRA event each year is the Grants Wild West Days, her hometown rodeo. “My favorite runs are in New Mexico, they are closer to home and family. The furthest I have ever gone is probably Utah, but I do not like to travel that much anymore.” Keeping it in New Mexico, Norene likes competing in the Southwest Barrel Racing Association. “A group of New Mexico NBHA directors felt it would be better to form the SWBRA. It has been my passion to help it grow and keep contestants’ money close to home.” Norene and Spook traveled to Vegas during the WNFR for the All-In Barrel Race where they placed fifth in the first round of the 2D against more than 500 competitors. “Something that I always keep in mind is that I will never be old enough to assume that I know everything. I still go to clinics and trainers to ask questions. I think that is important for everyone in rodeo to remember.”