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: Carrie Putnam
story by Lindsay Whelchel
It didn’t take long for Carrie Putnam to become a force to be reckoned with in the International Professional Rodeo Association. As a rookie barrel racer in 2015, she led the world standings for much of the season. Naturally, she secured the Barrel Racing Rookie of the Year title. That alone was enough to make others take notice, but Carrie went a step further and took home a world championship too.
The North Carolina cowgirl might’ve been new to the IPRA, but she’s not new to the sport of barrel racing.
“I grew up with horses. I started barrel racing when I was 3 or 4 years old, and I’ve been doing it ever since,” Carrie says, describing how she junior rodeoed in regional associations. Then when she got a second barrel horse, she spent much of her high school years doing jackpots so she could run both horses.
She couldn’t stay away from rodeo for long though and was soon making the rounds again.
After she graduated with a degree in Business Management from East Carolina State University, Carrie almost bought her pro card in 2014, but at the advice of her mentor Traci Morris, she realized she had to clear a few hurdles syncing up with her new barrel horse Ace, before she went for her rookie year, so she waited to buy her card in 2015.
“It was a good thing I did, because I struggled all year , couldn’t place anywhere. It wasn’t that me and [Ace] didn’t get along. He didn’t fire real hard for me. He wasn’t feeling good. I just had to figure him out.”
Carrie credits Karen Noble with helping her get Ace on track. “She helped me tremendously with my horse. She told me what to feed him, told me what saddle pad to ride, told me everything there is that I need to do with my horse, and in three weeks I went and won the rodeo I entered. I called her in tears. I was like, ‘I believe you, I’ll do whatever you tell me to do,” Carrie laughs and adds, “once I got everything figured out we hit the road, and he was on fire. He surprised me. I knew he could do it, but I didn’t know he was going to do it as big as he did.’’
Carrie calls winning the world title a dream come true.
“I think every barrel racer dreams of winning the world. My goals that year were make it to the finals and win the rookie title, so winning the world was like icing on the cake for me.”
Carrie credits her family and boyfriend, world champion team roper, Caleb Anderson, for their support.
“My mom grew up with horses, my dad he kind of married into it,” Carrie says of parents Sam and Julie. Despite his lack of horse experience, she calls her dad her biggest supporter. “He’s definitely my biggest fan. When I hit a barrel I can call him, and he’s going to pick me back up and remind me that there’s a reason I’m there and to stay humble, and that I can win it, so keep trying.”
Her older brother Brandon is a calf roper and sister-in-law Taylor is a barrel racer. Brandon is always there to make sure she has what she needs to make it down the road with her truck and trailer.
Carrie and Caleb train horses side by side. “I make my living rodeoing and riding horses, and Caleb is the same way, we’re together every day.”
She credits her best friend, cousin Ashlyn, with encouraging her, holding down the fort caring for the horses when Carrie is away.
“This is my life. Everything I do revolves around barrel racing,” she says and adds,“I’m honestly just really lucky and really blessed to be able to do what I do and be successful at it, but I don’t know where I’d be without it.”