For Halle Johnson, rodeo is not only a sport, it is also a means of bringing her family together. Her great-grandparents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles […]
Written by: Lily Landreth< Back to Articles
For Jaclyn Corcoran, nearly everything in her life revolves around rodeo – and she loves it that way. The barrel racer from Earlville, Ill. is preparing for her eleventh year of competing in the IPRA. Jaclyn, 34, did not grow up rodeoing. While she started showing horses in 4-H when she was in junior high, Jaclyn says, “I didn’t even know rodeo existed until I was 19. When I was 22 I really got into it.” Jaclyn began rodeoing seriously in 2004. Before that, she was competing extensively in the Illinois Paint Horse Association at horse shows from the APHA World Championship Show to the World Wide Paint Horse Congress.
Although Jaclyn loved competing in barrels and poles at the horse shows, she found that banding manes and keeping her horses gleaming and clean was not how she wanted to spend all of her time. Jaclyn had bought her IPRA card in 2003, and in 2004 she sold her pleasure horse, bought a barrel horse, and embarked on a new adventure. “I feel like coming from that, (horse showing) that I am a good rider. I’m able to take some of those (horsemanship) concepts and put them into barrel racing.” Today, in addition to the IPRA, Jaclyn also barrel races in the CSRA and the NBHA. Several of her accomplishments include winning third in the average at the CSRA finals rodeo in 2013 and sitting high in the standings of the NBHA.
Jaclyn credits her two horses as the reason she has been able to go so far in rodeo over the past 11 years. “Hussy is 21 this year, but she hasn’t gotten the memo yet,” Jaclyn says of one of her barrel horses. “She’s the horse I’ve had the longest and she’s done the most for me.” Jaclyn prefers to use Hussy for summer rodeos and smaller pens. Her other horse is Wanda, a 12-year-old mare. She rides Wanda in some of the larger arenas and for the more demanding rodeos. Jaclyn rides through the Illinois winters to keep her horses in shape, either riding in the snow or travelling to indoor arenas to practice.
Jaclyn lives outside of Earlville on what she calls a “farmette” with her husband, Dave, and their three-year-old son Casen. She and her husband buy calves in the spring for him to practice tie-down roping. In addition to their horses, they also have a pony for Casen. “He likes to go for little trail rides and he does like to rope the dummy already. He’s pretty good at that. Recently he’s been riding his toy bucking bull and pretending to buck off, but I’m trying to steer him towards timed events,” Jaclyn said with a laugh. Casen loves to watch his parents compete, and Jaclyn is especially pleased that rodeo is something her whole family can do together.
In addition to the full time job of being a mother, Jaclyn works as a nurse, both in a nursing home, in a hospital, in-home nursing and home health. In the midst of it all, she still makes time to rodeo and go to barrel races. Jaclyn is also planning to start one of her colts on barrels this year. She explained her goals for the coming year in rodeo. “I want to become a more consistent rider and do the best I can for each of my horses. I start out every year going to rodeos and seeing where I have won money, and then I will try to make those finals!”