You can forgive Katie Garthwaite if she’s feeling a bit like she’s on cloud nine these days.
The Mamette Lake cowgirl is coming off a $20,000-plus pay day on the weekend, as a result of placing first in the ladies barrel racing event at the annual Cloverdale Rodeo.
Garthwaite rode her six-year-old mare ShuFire to victory in Monday’s final in a time of 15.962 seconds.
The same tandem also won Sunday’s second performance in a time of 16.009.
Garthwaite started the weekend on her other ride, Frenchy, but turned to ShuFire on a hunch.
“I just had a gut feeling,” she said over the phone from Grande Prairie, where Garthwaite is getting ready to compete in Thursday’s slack. “Any time I’ve entered her anywhere, she really come through for me. On Sunday, I just wanted to see what she would do, and how she would handle it.
“She’s a bit quirky, but when they open that gate, she’s all business,” Garthwaite added. “Cloverdale was a huge crowd, and really loud. [ShuFire] just went in there and worked it.. She’s kinda like one of those once-in-a-lifetime horses.
“My instincts said that was the way things would play out. Fortunately, she came through.”
Garthwaite was especially pleased to have ridden to victory at Cloverdale with her husband Mike, daughter Gracie and mom all in attendance.
“That was pretty special,” she said. “It was awesome.”
Garthwaite and ShuFire teamed up earlier this year to do extremely well at the Sand Cup in Pasco, Washington. In a field of 490 horses from across the western Sates and Canada, the deadly duo placed first in the aggregate competition with a two-run total time of 34.207 seconds. They also won the slot race in a time of 17.085 seconds.
Garthwaite will return home from Grande Prairie for a few days before ramping things up in the months of June, July and August in her quest to once again make the Canadian Finals Rodeo in Edmonton in November. Last year, Garthwaite finished fourth at CFR42 on board Frenchy, earning over $14,000.
At only 14.3 hands tall, ShuFire is a dynamo.
“She’s thick and wide and powerful… and fast,” Garthwaite said with a laugh.
Garthwaite will have both her premiere barrel horses with her as she travels the highways through the summer months.
“I’m going to go where I think it’ll work out best for us,” she said. “I have two great horses, and I’ll pick and choose when and where I use each one.”
We should all be so lucky.