story by Laura Martin When Jim Persinger discovered the National Senior Pro Rodeo Association in 2012, feeling like he could still compete at the age […]
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Meet the Member Lynn Ray
story by Lindsay Humphrey
Some know her as the genius behind the counter of a food truck simply titled Lynn’s; while others will recognize her last name for the feats of her family members. But Lynn Ray is famous for her own contributions to the world, if not because of her rodeo accolades then by her kind heart. This Wickenburg, Arizona, cowgirl got her start in rodeo on the back of an ex-racehorse. It’s not surprising she continues using off-the-track racehorses today. “When I was little, my folks trained racehorses. And they still do. My grandpa, uncles, mom, and even my sisters were all horse trainers. Somehow, I found my way to rodeo,” said the 17-year-NSPRA member.
“Lots of girls will come to me to help them with their horse and they look at me like I’m crazy when I say we need to teach their horse how to run. You don’t have to teach a racehorse to do that.” More than just a barrel racer or team roper, Lynn gets her kicks in the growing sport of breakaway roping. “I’m so happy that it’s getting big; I wish they had that when I was younger. I hope they have it at more pro rodeos than they already do. I hope they keep letting the girls in more.” Lynn passed her love of, and talent for, calf roping to all her kids and now her grandkids.
“I’m probably the least famous in my family. My kids and my husband (Mike Ray) are way more famous than me. They are all really good hands.” Lynn’s main mount is also Mike’s backup calf horse. The 12-year-old bay known as Boone has genetics tracing back to Smart Little Lena. “He’s not really mine, but I call him mine. He’s smooth and gives me the easy shot, he just floats to a stop. And he breaks good, he can really get across the line. I don’t have to do much.” Mike has ridden Boone, and his other calf horses, both in jackpots and the NSPRA. A regular in the top 30 PRCA calf ropers, Mike held the tie-down record at Cheyenne Frontier Days for 9 years. Lynn is no slouch herself in the saddle, as high schooler she set the NLBRA pole bending record with a 19 flat that held for many years.
“I had my kids when I was pretty young, so I mostly trained horses for them. And Mike is one of the best calf ropers from the state of NM. I’ve been an all-around champion and a world champion in the NSPRA, won some big barrel races, won some all-girl team ropings, won some ropings.” Lynn lists her accomplishments much like a recipe. Although she’s proud of them, her life revolves around much more than just titles. “I’m married to a wonderful man and have three wonderful kids and seven grandchildren.”
Seven years ago, Lynn got the idea to start a food truck and set it up at a team roping jackpot. Lynn’s love for cooking and feeding the masses was cultivated at many youth rodeos long before the food truck was born. “I’ve cooked all my life I guess; I just love food. When we went to rodeos, we would set up camp with a bunch of tents around the trailer and just cook.” One year at the national high school finals, RFD-TV offered Lynn her own cooking show because of her set up. The timing just wasn’t quite right for Lynn to become famous. “I’m known for my cooking; I can cook anything really. I can make people who don’t like eggs, like them. My green chili stew is probably my best, I perfected that when we lived in New Mexico.” For the last few years Lynn cooked with a Michelin star chef at a resort, but her cooking landscape is changing. “I have a girlfriend opening a restaurant called the Palomino Club in Wickenburg. I’ll be cooking and bartending for her there.” It shouldn’t be surprising that Lynn invites anyone and everyone to come see her at the Palomino Club once they open in late August. Her invitation overflows with her sincerity and love for all things food and fellowship.