Coast to coast and border to border, horse trailers burn up the road year-round, hauling horses of all disciplines to competitions throughout the country. While […]
IFYR Champion Qualifies for The American Semi-Finals
Written by: Tammie Hiatt< Back to Articles
In 2014, Ali Armstrong of Noble, OK entered the International Finals Youth Rodeo in Shawnee, OK. “It was my first time to enter the IFYR,” said Ali. “I loved that rodeo, it was great. I met a lot of new people and saw friends from a lot of different states.”
The cowgirl not only made a lot of friends, she made a lot of money and left Shawnee, OK with the barrel racing championship added to her resume. From the IFYR she traveled to Perry, GA to the NBHA Youth World Championship where she and her wonder horse, Matts Freckled Cowboy or Panama, as he is known, earned the win in the 1D, which earned her a horse trailer and a trophy saddle.
With the birth of RFD-TV’s The American in 2014 and it’s opportunity for everyone to have a chance to earn a spot at the ATT Stadium, it was no surprise that Ali had her sights set on a chance to run at the biggest payday in rodeo. “I qualified for The American Semi-Finals in Lincoln, NE last October,” said the soft-spoken cowgirl. “It wasn’t our best run by any means, he was running but his turns weren’t as good as they could have been. It was just a decent run and we ended up 8th out of the top 10. We did win the derby side-pot they had along with it.”
Ali’s strategy for her run at the semi finals in Ft. Worth is simple, “I’m just going to go in there and do the best we can and let God take care of the rest. We’ve ran there before and he likes the Cowtown Coliseum. I’ve made the top 30 and will run again on Friday night, hopefully we’ll get to move on and run in the ATT Stadium.”
Panama is Ali’s top priority. “I ride him everyday and keep him in shape and legged up. I work very hard to keep him healthy and going down the road. He had an abscess and has been off for about a month. I took him to Ardmore this past weekend and it was his first run back and there were 274 entries and we won it so I’m really excited that he came back so strong. He loves his job.”
“Running barrels is really a mental game,” said Armstrong. “I’ve learned that you have to have your priorities right and when you want it bad enough, you’ll get it.
My mom and I pray together before every run I make and that is very important to me. I will usually watch a couple of videos from past runs on my phone and that helps me prepare. I just think about him and I.”
Ali credits Debbie Caywood of Lexington, OK for being the biggest influence in her barrel racing career. “She had actually started Panama on the barrels when we bought him. I’ve been running him for 4 years now and she is always there to help me if I have any trouble.”
While Ali’s sights are set on The American right now, she is looking forward to another trip to Shawnee in July for the International Finals Youth Rodeo. “Yes ma’am, I’m definitely planning on being back there,” she said enthusiastically. “It’s a great rodeo.”
The IFYR will take place at the Heart of Oklahoma Expo Center July 5-10, 2015. Online entries open on April 1, 2015 at www.ifyr.com.