story by Michele Toberer Anna Jae Griffin goes by AJae, and the Mississippi native has been a cowgirl for a lifetime, and a Southeastern Professional […]
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Meet the Member DJ Crenshaw
story by Lily Weinacht
DJ Crenshaw grew up on a farm and competed in her first rodeo by the time she was eight, carrying on the family sport which both her dad and grandpa had competed in, riding bulls and broncs. DJ competed through high school and rodeoed independently with the NIRA while studying at Mississippi Community College, going on to earn her degree in Criminal Justice from University of Mississippi. Today, the 30-year-old barrel racer from Hernando, Miss., competes in the SPRA, IPRA, and WPRA, and she will be competing in the SPRA finals this coming January. Though her main horse is recovering from an illness, which took DJ out of the running for IFR 46, she is quick to encourage her fellow competitors in their own events. “My cousin, Liz, and I are really into sports psychology and helping to motivate each other,” says DJ. “If I’m not competing well, I can’t keep that in my mind for very long – I have to focus on the good things and how to improve. My motivation to rodeo is the never ending drive to be the best I can be, and to try and accomplish more than I did the year before.”
DJ and her younger sister, Kindyl, haul together to all of their rodeos, often joined by their friend, Katey Campbell. Kindyl won the NIRA Ozark region in the barrel racing, and is currently sitting second in the IPRA world standings. “Kindyl is another person who motivates me,” says DJ. “She really works hard. She went from being outside the top 15 in the standings to winning nearly ever rodeo she entered. Our goal was for both of us to qualify for the IFR, but I’m still going with her to Oklahoma City. We’re still a team. And Kindle won’t let anyone else walk her in the gate but me,” DJ adds with a laugh. “Even if I’m the next runner, I’m down there helping her.” Their cousin, Michael, a bull rider, will also be competing in the IFR.
Presently, DJ has four horses – Foxy, DD, Whodat, and Willy. Foxy, the daughter of Frenchmans Guy, is a 15-year-old buckskin. “I’ve had her for eight years, and she’s so solid and honest,” says DJ. “She got EPM this summer, which was really hard since we were sitting fifth in the IPRA. I kept going on my younger horses, but I couldn’t get back up.” DD, the daughter of Darkelly, is DJ’s seven-year-old. “She’s a powerhouse!” DJ describes. “When she’s solid, I think she’ll be even better than Foxy – she’s got a bigger motor. My three year old, Whodat, is out of French Too Fame, and she seems pretty natural on the barrels – I’m excited about her. I bought Willy for Liz, but I still use him sometimes. Liz might as well be my little sister too!” DJ says happily.
When she’s not loading up for the next rodeo, DJ works for her family’s business out of Como, Miss. – Crenshaw Auction Company. They sell large farm equipment during five or six large auctions every year. DJ also enjoys playing guitar and writing music, which she has been doing since she was a little kid. She makes her home just outside of town with her horses and dog, Rhyder, who goes everywhere with her.
“I filled my permit with the WPRA, and I might claim the Great Lakes Circuit next year, but I really want to focus on making the IPRA and SPRA finals next year,” says DJ. “I love that those rodeos are co-approved, and Angela and Billy Hudson with the SPRA have always been really nice to me,” she adds. “Next year, I definitely want to make the IFR and have most of my horses sound and solid, and I feel like I will be able to accomplish that!”