Meet the Member Ryan Bestol
story by Lindsay Humphrey “I’m not much of a planner,” said Ryan Bestol of his storied rodeo career so far. “When I get something in […]
story by Lindsay King
She’s the comeback kid, the one who was told she would never ride again. Kelli Reichmuth from Humphrey, Nebraska, fractured her skull after dragging behind a horse in 2004. It wasn’t until 2014 when Kelli found the horse she could really trust to get back into barrel racing. “I got my first horse when I was ten and have loved them ever since. My family didn’t have horses, but they made me a little pen. I rode every day as a kid during the summer,” said the mother of four. Kelli eventually tried out for the rodeo team at Colby Community College in Kansas garnering her a scholarship. “I was introduced to Darlene Ungles when I was growing up and she became a mentor of mine. She taught me so much about barrel racing. She was an inspiration.” Though Kelli tried her hand at roping in college, her heart has always been in turning the clover leaf pattern.
Before starting back in rodeo, Kelli had Jett, 9, and Jordi, 6. And then two while she’s been back in rodeo: Joey, 3, and Judd, 1. “They keep me going, keep me from thinking too much about my runs.” Her husband Brent is hands-down her number one fan, keeping the kids corralled while Kelli makes her runs. Brent is also a header, completing the rodeo duo. “All the kids love rodeo. They play with other rodeo kids and they have a blast. They always ask when the next one is.” The kids help keep her focus off the run until she has no other option. “I try not to think too far ahead, I just take it one run at a time. I really focus on my first barrel, how to line it up and mentally picture my run in my mind.”
Though Kelli has only been a member of the NSRA the last two years, she has made the finals both times. Last year she left the average champion, running the fastest time of the weekend. “I could not have imagined the finals going any better than they did. They have the finals in a great place and they treat everyone so well.” Though the M-SRA finals last year didn’t go so well for Kelli, the first year she ran her mare they qualified for the finals. “DHR Cheetah Bug is the only horse that has won me money and she is just awesome. She is the only horse I have been running since I got back in rodeo.” One of Kelli and Bug’s biggest accomplishments sits in Gothenburg, Nebraska, where they still hold the arena record in barrels. “I like the big purse rodeos: Gothenburg, Valentine, Sutherland. The more competition, the better. I think Bug and I feed off the adrenaline a little bit.”
This summer Kelli filled her PRCA permit, even though she couldn’t enter as many rodeos as she would have liked. “As my kids get older I would like to hit more rodeos and see what happens. One of my goals is to win the year-end award and run at some more pro rodeos. I would also like to make good horses for my kids to rodeo on in the future.” Kelli also hopes to make a circuit finals rodeo with her mare. With two kids in school and two at home, Kelli gets all of the horses ridden between shuffling kids to and from school and sports. “During the off season we have basketball, football and baseball. We are a big basketball family, my father-in-law coaches. Though we are a sports family, rodeo is our main focus.”
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