courtesy of SWTJC Rodeo Alumni As Southwest Texas Junior College in Uvalde, Texas celebrates their 60th Anniversary as a National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) team, […]
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Meet the Member: Sharon Camarillo
By Sharon Adams
Poised, articulate, as lovely and fashionably dressed as the models she will introduce, Sharon Camarillo will share Master of Ceremonies duties with Pam Minick and Jennifer Smith at the Pro Rodeo League of Women Fashion Show and Luncheon in Las Vegas on December 10. She will also be one of the four judges helping to select the 2016 Miss Rodeo America.
Sharon Meffan Camarillo is a self-described “city raised, self made cowgirl from the beaches of Southern California.” So how did she get from those beaches to the Cowgirl Hall of Fame in Texas, the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma, the podium of that Fashion Show and out in the arena judging the Miss Rodeo America Pageant?
She did not come from a ranching background but as a young girl she dreamed of having a ranch, horses and cattle. She had an opportunity to gain experience with horses and livestock working at a livestock auction. Sharon wanted to pursue her interests in horses. Her dad wanted her to get a good education so they negotiated a compromise. She would go to Pierce College in the San Fernando Valley, a community college with a strong emphasis on agriculture and veterinary studies, where she received an Associate’s degree.
This step led to scholarships to the agriculture program at CalPoly, San Luis Obispo, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Business and Economics and a spot on the women’s rodeo team with a couple of other tough competitors, Nancy Robinson Peterson and Barbara Baer. At the 1970 College National Finals Rodeo Sharon won the Goat Tying Championship.
The only event for women in professional rodeo at that time was barrel racing so Sharon honed her skills in that event, eventually qualifying for four National Finals Rodeos. Her time as an active competitor in professional rodeo led to some never-to-be-forgotten experiences. One was competing with other national finalists in a Command Performance Rodeo for President Ronald Reagan. All the competitors from the rodeo were invited to dine at the White House! She was selected by Jim Shoulders to compete in an international rodeo in Argentina. During this time, she worked on her horsemanship, learning from others, always with that goal of making a career showcasing her respect for horses, her knowledge of the sport of rodeo and her love of the the western lifestyle.
When it came time to move from rodeo competition she had prepared herself to enter the fields of media and product design. She used three words as guideposts to her goals: Purpose-know what you want to have happen; Passion-do what you love; and Patience-work to make things happen. Sharon is proud to have worked for 16 years with Bob Tallman and Boyd Polhamus as part of the broadcast team of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. She has designed a line of saddles and tack, written several books on barrel racing and competition, and produced instructional tapes and DVDs. Sharon has conducted horsemanship and barrel racing clinics around the nation and in five foreign countries, helping young people to realize their own potential and bring out the best in their horses.
Sharon Camarillo is a recipient of the Tad Lucas Award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma. This award honors women who excel in any field related to Western Heritage. Sharon was inducted into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame in 2006. These honors did not just happen. They came to her through making thoughtful choices, working hard, preparing to accept challenges and opportunities when they come along. Her “rodeo world” role models are Donna McSpadden, Liz Kesler, and Sharon Shoulders. “They promoted rodeo and the Western way of life, raised strong families and are gracious and caring women.”
She credits college rodeo with starting her on the road to being a rodeo and barrel racing superstar. College rodeo helped her to develop a strong work ethic, time management skills and handle the challenges of traveling and competition.. College rodeo for her was a stepping stone to professional rodeo and to the lifelong learning needed to do well in her diverse endeavors.
Her Better Barrel Racing/Horsemanship clinics keep her away from her “little ranchette” in California around 200 days a year. Sharon has a son, Wade, a Navy veteran of two deployments to the Middle East. He is now a college student working on a degree in recreational therapy, with an eye toward working for the Veteran’s Administration. Daughter Storme Robbins is an accomplished horsewoman and teaches and assists with her clinics.