courtesy of SWTJC Rodeo Alumni As Southwest Texas Junior College in Uvalde, Texas celebrates their 60th Anniversary as a National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) team, […]
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Meet the Member Cheryl Harley Volz
story by Sharon Adams
Seeds of rodeo were planted early in life for this city kid, but they didn’t truly blossom until her NIRA years at Colorado State University. While there, she was the women’s goat tying director and qualified for the national finals in St. George, Utah. Her dad said she majored in art and minored in rodeo. She says he had it backwards. Cheryl also studied drawing at the Kansas City Art Institute, has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in drawing and painting from Colorado State University, studied art at Western States College, Gunnison, Colorado and later earned her art K-12 teaching certification, garnering enough credits for a BFA in ceramics.
If you want to be the best, compete against and haul with the best. While Cheryl was in the NIRA Mountain States Region, some of the stellar college rodeo athletes were in attendance: (in alphabetical order) Joe Alexander, Bonnie Blassingame, Ivan Daines, Butch Meyers, Celie Whitcom Ray, and Jerome Robinson, to name a few. Beyond that, her sister, Lynne Schricker, an accomplished pro barrel racer, was married to Mark Schricker, 14 time National Finals Rodeo qualifier and 2 time NFR Champion.
Building on that solid foundation, Cheryl and then husband Toy Simon raised their three boys, Trevor, Bo and Cord and one girl, Elie on the pro rodeo trail. There was no time for art. Cheryl and Elie, beginning at age 10, qualified for several Circuit Finals in barrel racing. Cheryl learned to team rope along with her children and won second in the team roping heading for Merna Titsworth at the first ever Professional Women’s Rodeo Association National Finals. As seasons passed, Cheryl “graduated” into the Senior Pro Rodeo Association enjoying success in both barrel racing and ribbon roping, qualifying and winning at their National Finals in Reno, Nevada.
Later, she found the need to set rodeo life and horses aside so she picked up her drawing pencils once again. Rodeo will never be replaced in her heart, but art now has a prominent spot there as a rebirth passion. Other components that contributed to success in those rodeo days are still in play for the art career: a balance between passion for winning and willingness to grow from defeat; the “If you’re not bleeding you’re not trying” work ethic; being a student of the “game” that if they beat you, you figure out why and fix it; the knowledge that you can be as good as anyone if the tenacious work ethic is applied and God gives the opportunity.
Cheryl, together with the support of her husband Mike Volz, has built a base of collectors across the United States and abroad and is a signature member of Women Artists of the West, a Premier Member of Western Art Rodeo Association, and Associate Member of American Women Artists. She has a website to actively promote her award winning work at www.charleyart.net. Fine Art Connoisseur, Art of the West, Rodeo News, Horses in Art, and the Grand Junction Sentinel have all run articles on Cheryl. For two years her work graced the pages of the Grand National Livestock Show and Rodeo Event Guide as rodeo event illustrator.
To quote an old saying, “It’s a great life if you don’t weaken.” The past is serving the future and all things are working together for good. All those years on the rodeo trail taught her the reality of western life and now she can translate all that savvy into 2-dimentional works of art. Weaken? Not hardly. There are too many goals to be conquered and experiences to be embraced.