story by Michele Toberer Dale Davies has been blessed to live a life centered around horses and rodeo. Growing up in Fort Collins, Colorado as […]
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Meet the Member Cindy Woods
story by Lily Weinacht
Cindy Woods and her family purchased a house in Montana in the 1990s, and when a barrel horse came along with the contract, it gave Cindy her first opportunity to pro rodeo. “This horse ran 16.8s on a standard pattern once I got him to turn the first barrel, when no one ran 16.8s on a standard pattern,” recalls Cindy, 55, who now divides her time between her homes in Molalla, Oregon, and Casa Grande, Arizona. “I told my husband I wanted the horse for gymkhanas, and the next thing I knew, I got into pro rodeos!” Though Cindy was also raising a family and running a construction business with her husband, she’d turn on the truck headlights and ride in the evening, and she and Mack Son Of A Truck went on to compete on the WPRA Montana Circuit. Demand Ezcellance, a horse Cindy trained from a yearling, later took her to several top-20 WPRA year-end finishes, and today, she’s sitting in the top 20 on the WPRA Columbia River Circuit.
Along with pro rodeos, Cindy has competed in the GCPRA for the last five years, where she’s won the year-end in the incentive barrel racing twice. “The GCPRA is a really special organization, and it’s awesome the opportunities they give people with their incentive. There are so many places for people to go and season their horse, win some money, be with their family, and not travel all over the country. I’ve gotten a lot of people turned on to it learning how to rodeo.”
Cindy is currently sitting seventh in the GCPRA barrel racing standings, while she and her daughter, Kristin Brashears, spent July and part of August pro rodeoing around the West. “We went to bucket list things, like Colorado Springs, Greeley, and Lehi—rodeos we haven’t been to,” says Cindy. “Most all of the horses the kids and I have ridden have come from us. If they don’t make barrels, they go to the roping pen, or vice versa. I have an 11-year-old Bogie Biankus mare name Chubby who I won the NWPRA finals on in 2013. The horse my son, Austin, is heading on this year won the GCPRA incentive in barrels with me in 2016, and Austin has done an outstanding job finishing him. My newest colt, Legs, is by Brownie Jones out of a Firecracker Fire mare, and I’ve won most of my GCPRA money on him this year to help season him.”
Cindy’s love for horses makes each ride special—she even trained with an equestrian from the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, and rode dressage and three-day eventing as a teenager—but her battle with multiple sclerosis (MS) puts every opportunity to ride in a different light. She lost her eyesight in her 30s and struggled with her balance, then went into remission for six years until her symptoms returned. “It hit me hard again and I had no strength or balance, and I was told I was going to be in a wheelchair, but there is a program in Mexico that has been fabulous in treating me and helping me get healthy again. I don’t just want the disease to take over—I’m blessed with good horses I’ve been able to point in the right direction, and I wanted to give it one more shot. You don’t have to just quit. There’s a lot of options out there and we’re really blessed that way.
“My husband, Rob Woods, is my rock, and he’s pushed me to do things I never would have left home for. I’m really proud of both my kids, and my son-in-law, Paul, is a very talented heeler and helps so much by keeping our horses shod, and driving. There are so many people in your life that are strong and tell you to keep going, and truly the hugest is my family,” says Cindy. “I’m a huge goal writer, and this year my goal was to make the GCPRA Finals, NPRA Finals, and Columbia River Circuit Finals, and I’m sitting pretty good. My other goal was to have fun doing it. Kristin and I sit down every week and write down what we need to accomplish with our colts and rodeos. I figure, if we’re going to spend the time and money, we might as well do it well.”