story by Lindsay Humphrey A bar called Mr Luckys in downtown Phoenix, Arizona, is where 18-year-old Will Rogers got on his first, of many, bulls. […]
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Meet the Member Vicky Brookman
story by Lindsay Humphrey
“My message would be for people to not quit riding because it will keep you young. Don’t stop until you absolutely have to; it’s well worth it and it’s also great for your mind,” said Vicky Brookman who just might be one of the oldest barrel racers in the NSPRA. She’s well over 70 years old and still a competitive barrel racer, but Vicky’s lived anything but an ordinary rodeo life in that time. “We didn’t have youth rodeo when I got started, we had community events and little horse shows.” Getting into town for these activities was surely a sight to see. “Very few people had horse trailers, so most of us brought our horses into town in the bed of a pickup with a stock rack on it. You backed up to a chute or a hill and your horse jumped out.”
Heading off to college Vicky didn’t have a competitive barrel horse, so she settled for a 2-year-old colt to school on. “I ended up buying that horse from Chris Brookman who eventually became my husband. They were rodeo people, from the famous Brookman Rodeo Company. Once I was in that family it was just natural that I had ranch horses available to go to some amateur and pro rodeos on.” Before Vicky could fill her PRCA permit, her mount got hurt and then her focus shifted to hauling her two kids to youth rodeos and jackpots.
During those years Vicky took up heeling and competed in the up-and-coming mixed team roping. “That was a lot of fun. Those days women were just starting to team rope and it had its own category. We had a great time at it and that kept us involved in barrel racing.” The mother of Miss Rodeo Montana 1998, Vicky found herself traveling across Big Sky country that summer to major PRCA events in the state.
Now a resident of Cochise, Arizona, Vicky kept herself busy competing at jackpots. RFD-TV brought Vicky’s attention to the NSPRA just last year. “I lost track of the association and then it was on RFD one night. I thought it would be a great venue for old barrel racers like me. I’ve had so much fun.” Vicky competed with the association back in the 80s when it was still known as the Old Timers’ Rodeo Association. “I knew it would be neat to get in touch with some of the folks I had known in rodeo way back when, if I joined.”
Barreling down the long alley in Duncan, Oklahoma, at the 2019 finals proved challenging for Vicky and her young mount. “By the time we got to the first barrel, my horse still had a lot of run in her. We tipped a couple barrels as a result, but it was still a great experience for both of us.” By the end of the weekend, Vicky had managed to take third in the average but not in barrel racing. “One of my friends needed a runner in the ribbon roping. I’m sure it was a hilarious sight to see this old woman try and grab a ribbon and run down the arena.”
Barrel racing longer than most of her competitors have even been alive gives Vicky a unique perspective on the sport. “The great thing about being older is watching the sport evolve, the changes and the speed of barrel racing is amazing. It used to be that an 18 could win a rodeo and the rest of the pack would be a 19.” That’s simply no longer the case. Vicky’s found herself drawn to cutting and reining bloodlines as a means to get around the clover leaf pattern quicker. Vicky’s mare traces back to Pepto Boonsmal and Shining Spark. “She’s a dependable ride, and because of her pedigree she is quick and powerful coming around the barrels.” This speed keeps Vicky on her toes, but it’s also enhanced her horsemanship in the process. “I have to give credit to my significant other, Bruce Newby, a professional cutting horse trainer, that I’m able to barrel race at my age. He’s helped my riding tremendously.”