Since stepping into the rodeo arena four years ago, Chevelle Reed discovered a passion for the competition under the brightest lights. She, along with her equine teammate, Salty, showcased their fiery spirit on the highest level, as Reed took center stage in mid-December at the Junior World Finals in Fort Worth, Texas.
The Montezuma-Cortez High School senior qualified for the World Finals for the first time in her career, competing in the senior division of barrel racing in the famed Cowtown Coliseum.
“It was such an amazing experience,” said Reed, “the people, both the spectators and fellow competitors, were so supportive.”
During the competition, an annual showcase for the world’s best in various categories including roping and bull riding, Reed and her hand pony Salty entered as one of 60 competitors set to take on the barrel racing course.
Amidst all the excitement in an electric atmosphere, Reed’s hopes of a top finish vanished around the first barrel, as the footing slipped from beneath the horse’s hooves, and she and Salty fell to the coliseum floor.
“It was definitely disappointing,” said Reed, “I’m glad we were both OK, but we know it could have gone so much better.”
Proving that point, Reed demonstrated that she was a real threat to the top racers when she rallied for a tremendous second run a couple days later. She and Salty blitzed the course with a time that ranked 15th in the standings, validating that she ranked amongst the world’s elite.
Even with the frustrating performance, Reed walked away energized and more driven.
“I definitely feel like I belonged there,” Reed said, “and that I’m capable of competing against anyone.”
With her profile as a rising star in the sport, Reed recognized all the influential figures in her life that have supported her path, not only to enter the sport, but also help her excel.
“I’ve made friends all over the country through rodeo,” said Reed, “and, along with them, the local support of our area barrel racers has been so helpful for me to get where I am.”
Her love of horses, as well, has contributed to her goals beyond graduation from M-CHS this spring. Reed aims to head to New Mexico and pursue education working in equine dentistry.
In the meantime, however, Chevelle, along with her parents, Robert and Michelle, has made the commitment to travel the country to continue to hone her craft and compete against the best. With competitions running year-round, she relishes the opportunity to take on each new race as a chance to get even better.
Reed is poised for one more chance to qualify for the Junior World Finals, and already has her mind focused on a top finish.
“Failure is a part of the learning process,” she said, “and that will ultimately help me get closer to the things I want to achieve.”