Chloe Crossley, top, and Jacey Crossley, bottom, competing in barrel racing.

Pro barrel racing a lifestyle for Crossley sisters

July 6, 2018 2:42 pm
Kara Kinna

While other people spend their weekends over the summer months camping, boating, and taking vacation time, two sisters from Moosomin—Jacey Crossley and Chloe Crossley—spend the majority of their weekends on the road, horse trailers in tow, off to the next barrel racing competition.

The Crossley sisters are professional barrel racers, and it’s not uncommon for them to be at multiple competitions around the Prairies on any given weekend.

Jacey and Chloe spoke to the World-Spectator last week about their time spent barrel racing.

“I’m on my way to Arrowwood, Alberta,” Jacey said Friday. “It is a CCA rodeo. I’m up there tonight, and then Raymond, Alberta, then Swift Current on Sunday.

“This is actually a nice weekend,” she adds with a laugh. “Next weekend I will start in Weyburn, then am in Moosomin Friday night, and then I go to Kelliher, then Wood Mountain on Saturday.

“I would say I am full time rodeo. I also work part-time for Saskatchewan Crop Insurance as an adjuster. I basically work for Crop Insurance during the week and then I’m usually gone for three- to four-day weekends.”

Jacey currently lives by Lloydminster, but got her start as a barrel racer when she was a young girl in Moosomin.

“I started in Gymkhana when I was really young. My sister always did it so that is where I got attached. She started with jumping and western pleasure and that kind of stuff. I skipped over that and went into riding western and barrel racing. I think I’ve been riding since I’ve been super young, maybe five or six. I started with Gymkhana and then 3D barrel racing, and then I started rodeoing in high school.”

What deos she like about barrel racing?

“It is more of an adrenaline rush, it’s a speed event, so it is exciting and fast. With your western pleasure it is slower paced.”
Jacey started racing competitively around the age of 10.

I started with the 3D racing when I was nine or ten. Then I got into rodeo. My first rodeo I think I was maybe 15, and then I guess I made my first finals in 2013, then I started with CCA, which is the semi pro association that same year. I started with them around 2012/2013. I basically have been going ever since. I started with doing Canadian College Rodeo in 2014. Then I started with CPRA, so pro rodeo, last year.

“I have been going a bit more (with pro) this year, just kind of easing my way into it because it’s a lot farther to travel too. You basically have to be based out of Alberta because everything is based in central Alberta. It is a lot more travelling, until you’re basically living there. I have just been easing my way into the professional circuit.”

Why has she chosen to do this on her weekends versus other activities?

“I guess I would say it is kind of addicting,” she says. “I talk to my friends and they’re going camping in the summer, travelling, even just hanging out at the lake or going golfing. I can’t see myself doing anything different in the summer. And it is kind of a bonus because you’re making money. People obviously don’t do it unless they really enjoy it. It is like a hobby, but then the money is a bonus if that makes any sense.

“I usually cover my travel costs then make a bit extra. It just depends on the weekend. Some rodeos have a $1,000 add in, and some have up to $3,000-$4,000 add in, so it just depends. At one event and a couple weekends ago I actually placed at all three rodeos, and that was a really good weekend. I really made enough that weekend to even make some on top of my expenses.”
What are some of Jacey’s biggest accomplishments so far?

“In 2016 I won the Canadian College finals in barrel racing,” she says. “I would say between that and just making CCA finals is a pretty huge accomplishment for me.

“I actually remember when I was young, we used to always go to Moosomin Rodeo, and I would have filled in just competing in gymkhanas and little girl races, and I remember watching the barrel racing and really being envious of those ladies and always wishing and hoping some day I would be at that level. But I don’t know if I really ever knew that I would be. It is a pretty huge deal now for me to be competitive with that association and having two qualifications now.”

Jacey says she wants to take barrel racing as far as possible.

“My goal is to be successful with professional rodeo and hopefully some day try and make the Canadian finals, the CFR. That would be like the CPRA finals. So basically just bring my career more to the next level—to the professional level.”

Chloe says she started riding early and got into jumping, but because the sport wasn’t common in the Moosomin area, she got involved in 4H, then in gymkhana and barrel racing.

“It’s all for the love of the sport and your horse,” says Chloe. “You don’t necessarily do it for money, that’s for sure, because everything adds up—the vet bills, the gas bills, the rodeo entries. And when you don’t place all weekend you’re down in the hole.

“It’s really just for the love of the sport and the feeling you get when you run, and the adrenaline rush. It’s just such an amazing, fulfilling feeling being able to do this every weekend.

“It’s not really like any other sport. This is an individual sport. You and your horse are your team, and when you work so hard and you get a good run it’s not about the amount of money you win, it’s about achieving a goal you set for you and your horse.”

Chloe says she’s proud of how her horse, who is still young, performed at some of last year’s events.

“My horse is still young and last year was his first full rodeo season,” she says. “I didn’t have very high expectations of him. But to my surprise we ended up making the MFR, Manitoba Finals Rodeo. So that was a huge accomplishment for me.

“And when I got to MBRA Finals, it’s all of Manitoba, and I think there was about 400 girls there last year. It’s an indoor rodeo and Chrome prefers to run outdoors. When it came to MBRA finals, I didn’t have too high of expectations, and we went in there and on the first day we ended up being the fastest time out of everybody, so I got the fast time award for that day, and then I was the average winner of the two long goes. Out of about 800 runs our average was the fastest.

“And then in the short go on the final day to be the MBRA champion, I fell on third barrel. It wasn’t fun but I was just so proud of how well he did that weekend. Those would be two of my most cherished accomplishments to date.”

Chloe says she wants to get to a higher level in the sport, and eventually make a career out of barrel racing.

“I would like to make CCA finals,” she says. “That’s my goal for this year, to make the Canadian Finals. I do have a lot of young horses coming up that I want to train and compete on and go to futurities. I want to create a business out of it where I can build these young horses into rodeo horses and be able to sell them to go on and win with other people.

“That’s my goal—to make a career out of this eventually and keep making horses like Chrome, because he’s pretty special to me.”