Killeen’s Shelbie Parrish is currently the 13th ranked rookie barrel racer in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association.
Overall, she ranks No. 106 in the WPRA, a field with thousands of competitors.
Parrish and her horse “Biscuit” are now on the road getting ready for four rodeos in the next three weeks.
“This is my first-ever road trip so, naturally, I’m very excited,” said Parrish, 20. “My nerves haven’t kicked in yet.”
Parrish will compete in Laramie (Wyo.) on Friday and then Estes Park (Colo.) on Saturday. She’ll compete in one of America’s top rodeos, “The Rodeo,” in Cheyenne on July 15 and conclude her trip in Dodge City (Kan.) on July 30.
“I’ll be nervous about competing in Cheyenne, that’s for sure,” Parrish said. “Every competitor is a pro in that event. And they bump up the first-place prize money to around $40,000.”
Most WPRA rodeos offer a first-place prize of around $1,100. Parrish has already won two such rodeos this season.
“My goal in Cheyenne is to get into the top 96 qualifying times,” Parrish said.
There will be 214 competitors total in Cheyenne and only the top 96 qualifiers get a shot to compete for that large five-figure championship purse.
“Since it’s such a big payday, you can see why I’ll be so nervous,” Parrish said. “But I know Biscuit can do it.”
Parrish competed in Belton on Thursday and finished with an impressive time of 16.60. Unfortunately, a barrel got knocked over during her ride, adding a five-second penalty, and so Parrish didn’t finish in the money.
“I was still happy with the ride,” Parrish said. “And I’m still very happy with Biscuit. I had no idea I’d ever get this far with him. At first, I hated him with a passion. But, now, he’s taken me so far and I feel he’s an amazing horse. I wouldn’t trade him for any other horse.”
Biscuit was unavailable for an interview.
“But I can speak for him,” said Parrish with a hearty chuckle. “He loves me. He wouldn’t trade me for anyone. In fact, he gets very jealous when I ride any other horses, he looks ornery.”