story by Siri Stevens Tony Keeton started his company, Rockin’ K Rodeo in 2017. It’s not his only full time job. Tony has worked for […]
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Meet the Member Chelsie Clingen
story by Lindsay Whelchel
While Chelsie Clingen has grown up around horses and barrel racing her entire life, it was only last year that the Canadian cowgirl from Ontario made a concentrated effort to foray into rodeo. The move was admittedly a bit of a culture shock for Chelsie, primarily a futurity horse trainer and rider, but it was a new world that clearly had a lot to offer.
“Rodeo changed my mindset and gave me a whole new appreciation for anyone who rodeos,” Chelsie says, adding that getting used to riding no matter the weather, even when that meant driving 16 hours to draw up on the rainy day, took some time.
That being said, Chelsie has been accustomed to perseverance all along, coming from a horse family. Chelsie’s grandparents had working cow horses, and her mother barrel raced, passing the love of the sport on to Chelsie who even met her husband and now co-trainer through the sport.
“It has definitely taught me a lot about myself. It has probably made me a lot stronger and to have a lot more passion for the sport and the respect of horses and rodeo in general, and it’s really taught me even though you can be in the lowest of lows, you can usually get out of it. It only lasts a little bit, and then you’ll be back on top,” she says of barrel racing’s life lessons.
And one thing Chelsie learned last year about rodeo in particular is the built-in support system. “No matter where you go, it’s a huge family. Everyone is so friendly and supportive, and you’re all doing the same thing. You’re all wanting to win, even though you’re competing against each other, you’re all there for the same reason and in it for the same passion that you have,” Chelsie explains.
Last year as a rookie in the International Professional Rodeo Association, Chelsie got to experience that rewarding rollercoaster ride.
“I started out with a young horse actually that I didn’t have an intention of going really far with him, but he proved me wrong and really stepped up his game and started winning some bigger rodeos, which was great, and then mid-season started to do very well,” Chelsie says. That run of wins helped Chelsie to finish in the top-four of the rookie of the year race, but an injury caused Chelsie to just miss qualifying for the International Finals Rodeo held in Oklahoma City.
“In September I actually made the Northeastern Region Finals, and [Chelsie’s horse] slipped, and I broke my foot. I was sitting 16,th and I probably would’ve made the IFR, so that put a kibosh on the whole entire rest of the season,” she laughs adding earnestly, “so last year was a lot of ups and downs, and a huge learning curve for me and that horse as well.”
But Chelsie credits the support of her husband and family with helping her get through the year, and gives thanks to God for the ability and opportunity to ride horses and rodeo. And no doubt, she’ll be gearing up as soon as the snow melts in Canada to return to the IPRA’s circuit in Quebec and Ontario this summer in another bid the for IFR.