Maxine McKenna wins the Ladies Barrel Racing at the 2011 Chinook Rodeo Finals

by Shayna on November 2, 2011

Maxine McKenna and her horse Rocky are the newly crowned Ladies Barrel Racing Champs at the 2011 Chinook Rodeo Association Finals.  The CRA Finals were held in Taber, AB on October 21-23, 2011.  Maxine placed 2nd in all three of the rounds, also making her end up 2nd in the average.  After the three go’s there ended up being a tie between Maxine and Bobbie Goodwin resulting in a run off!  Maxine and Bobbie flipped a coin to see who ran first and the committee was even gracious to rake before Bobbie.  When the run off was all said and done, Maxine and Rocky ended up taking home the championship.  For a complete look at all of the results from the finals you can go here.  It was a really tight barrel race with only 0.18 between first and fourth in the average.

We recently had the chance to talk with Maxine, here is what she had to say:

-What is the name of the horse you ran?

Rocky`s Pedigree - click to enlarge

Rockin Down Dash aka Rocky

-How old is she?


-How long have you been running barrels on her?

Five years

-What is the training background on this horse?

Marlon Draper and I trained her on the track as a two and three year old, and then I took her straight into barrel training, November of her 3 year old year to get her ready to barrel futurity as a 4 year old.  Rocky and I have a real unique bond that a lot of people don’t understand.  She can be very fractious when she’s pumped.  I used to pony, gallop, and work her at the race track, so it was real frustrating for me to turn her over to the jockeys to ride her in the races, because they didn’t understand her like I did.  When I got her to myself to train for barrels, she took to it quickly, and she ended up Canadian Reserve Barrel Futurity Champion, and Runner-Up Canadian Derby Champion at age five and six.

-What is your training and riding style with Rocky?

Rocky is just kind of an unorthodox style, and attitude.  She’s definitely what people call “a free runner”, so I just kind of let her do her funky stuff.

-What is it you like best about Rocky?

I like how she stays so soft, after we get her down the alley, and that she is such a sweetheart to be around.

-How did you feel your runs were at the Chinook Finals?

She ran so consistent, despite the ground conditions.  She tried so hard every run.  All of her runs were within a tenth of a second (even the run off).

-How do you prepare for your runs (warm up etc.)?

I don’t spend too much time warming up, 10-15 minutes.  I want some horse left for the race.  We do stretches though, the both of us, important for gals our age!

-What kind of saddle do you use?

Shiloh Contender, custom made.  ALL leather

-What kind of pad do you use?

Felt or wool, 3/4″ NO synthetics, nothing fancy.

-What kind of bit do you use?

On small patterns I use  a short shank combination, what I call the upside-down bit.  On big patterns – the Merrill, swivel mouth piece.  Rocky absolutely needs a tie-down (loose).

-Are there any specific goals you have set for yourself and your horse this season?

I really wanted Rocky to win the Chinook Finals this year, because she was so close last year and ended up second.  All through her career she’s always been the bridesmaid and never the bride, although she tries so darn hard.

-What lead you to be a barrel racer?

Been doing it off and on as long as I can remember.  Wanted to get into cutting, but my parents couldn’t afford it.  Barrels were cheaper than cutting cattle.

-If you were to share a training/rodeo tip what would it be?

Don’t complicate things for you or your horse.  Set simple, clear-cut, short-term goals.

In Maxine’s words:

“It was so fun and exciting to have a run-off with Bobbie Goodwin.  What a great competitor and horse woman!  Congrats to Bailey Hughson for her outstanding year, and gracious attitude!  And to all the other finalists (Juniors and Little Rascals too), you girls ROCK!  So fun to watch you all!  Thanks to the CRA and sponsors too”.

Check out Maxine and Rocky`s 2nd go run at the Finals as well as her run in the run off.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Lilly November 3, 2011 at 9:35 pm

I think that is really cool how they had to flip a coin to see who went first!

Bailey Hughson November 24, 2011 at 12:14 am

Thank You for congratulating me Maxine, I respect you as both a trainer and as a person. It means so much that you help me and Rebel celebrate our season:)

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