This article was written for the 2022 NFR Edition of Cowboy Lifestyle Magazine
With 2022 being her third, consecutive year qualifying for the NFR, Wenda Johnson had high hopes to make this year her golden ticket to being the World Champion. She had currently been sitting number three in the standings, and Wenda needed to make solid runs every night for a shot at the top. Check out the Q&A we did with Wenda below on what her journey looked like heading into her third National Finals Rodeo.
Krysta: Can you tell our audience a little about yourself?
Wenda: I am originally from Arizona, where, along with my sisters and friends, spent as much time as possible on the back of a horse. We were raised in the city but were fortunate enough to have some land and pasture to keep our own horses and even board some additional outside horses. With the support of my parents, this environment ignited my love for horses and provided a foundation that developed my horsemanship skills in and out of the arena.
Krysta: How did you initially become involved in barrel racing?
Wenda: At an early age my parents hauled and entered me in local gymkhanas and playdays, which eventually evolved into showing in the AQHA then competing at barrel races and High School/College Rodeos.
Krysta: What’s it like being a full-time rodeo athlete and a full-time mom?
Wenda: My life is full of many great things! I strive to balance my home life as a wife and mother, my professional life as a Nurse Practitioner working part-time in the Emergency Department, and competing on horses at a high level along with so many other things. As I balance each aspect of my life, my personal relationship with God adds purpose and understanding to my journey, and I am grateful for each moment on this Earth!
Krysta: Is there anything special that you do personally for yourself or your horses heading into the NFR?
Wenda: Regardless of what competition I attend, I strive to keep the same regimen and schedule for myself and the horses year-round. Keeping myself and the horses in shape both mentally and physically is the highest priority, with so much in between. However, it is a balance and overall it is important to me to enjoy the experience and create memories while doing something that I love.
Krysta: What accomplishment are you the proudest of to date?
Wenda: Being a wife, mother, Nurse Practitioner, and competing in barrel racing at a high level.
Krysta: What is the best advice you can give aspiring barrel racers?
Wenda: Horsemanship and humility are essential in the competition pen because it promotes awareness and accountability for ourselves. Find a coach that helps improve horsemanship and your perception of horses. Also remember that our horses are trying their best to do what we ask, so treat them kindly and give them the respect that they deserve.
Wenda Johnson’s Closing Thoughts
“Minimizing resistance in all aspects of barrel racing is the key to progression.”
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