Barrel racer Mary Walker excited for The American

Barrel racer Mary Walker excited for The American

Barrel racer Mary Walker hasn't let some of life's challenges slow her down.

The 2012 WPRA World Champion, who is qualified to compete at RFD-TV's THE AMERICAN, lost her father as a teenager.

"Just had a great childhood, I think. You know, it was always fun. My dad passed away when I was 19. And I didn't go to college, got a job, went to work and rodeo'd on the weekends," Walker recalled.

As a mother, she experienced a parent's worst fear. Her son Reagon was killed in a car crash at 21 years old.

"We had some things happen in our - in my life. The loss of Reagon in April and my husband Byron decided, ‘well you know what, I think I'll buy her that horse.' And so he bought him for me for Mother's Day," she said.

Recovering from injury

"It was June 9 of 2011 and Latte, he runs in there like he always does, smokes the first barrel, smokes the second barrel, and we get to the third barrel, and it felt like somebody jerked his feet out from underneath him, and he just fell. And when he fell, he pinned me up against the barrel so I was actually sitting at the barrel like this when he fell on top of me."

"I knew I was hurt, but I didn't think I was hurt that bad. They said just lay there and I said ‘no, I'm OK. I'm OK. Just get me up, I'm walking out of this arena. You all are not taking me out in a stretcher. I'll walk out.' And, I got up and I couldn't walk out."

"Gosh, it was -- it was painful. It was very painful. I have eight plates and 11 pins in my hip and to teach those how to move without killing yourself, it was amazing."

Back on the horse

"And we all sat and cried. We, I mean we were just like, could not believe that stupid enough to get back on the horse, but that I could actually ride."

"It was a struggle. It was hard. I know Reagon was with me through the whole time. There was several things that happened throughout the year that made me think he helped me. He got me through this. I wished it wouldn't have been that way. And I would've never wanted this goal if I still had him, but I think that this was the reason that Latte was brought to me. And I think that Reagon had a lot to do with it and he still does. And, you know it's amazing, it's – I'm a world champion. I never thought at 53 years old, I'd be a world champion barrel racer."

Latte the horse

"And it doesn't matter what kind of arena you put Latte in. If it's a little, small arena like the Thomas and Mac in Las Vegas, or if it's Pendleton, or if it's Cheyenne, Greeley, whatever circumstances you put him in. Sometimes I think I can't do this, this arena's too little. I don't have enough time for myself to reposition myself on him. I should never worry about him. I just sit on him and he just goes and does it. And I'm sure I do something, I just don't remember what I do. But he does, he's got that fire about him and he loves to do it. He loves to be pampered. He's just – he's just one of those that was meant to be."

"Probably the most peaceful thing to me is his eyes, looking in his eyes. He's got big brown eyes and when you look in them, you can just see the emotion in him, the want to, the try, the go, and they sparkle. His eyes just sparkle. And I have a lot of people tell me about his eyes. He does, he's got really beautiful eyes for a horse. I'm so excited to be able to - I love my horse. I hope he doesn't go to the bathroom on their parking lot, but walking that stadium, it's going to be amazing with the people that are going to be there, the crowd, the loudness. It just – It runs chills through my body. You know I'm going to be just so excited to be there and to be a world champion and be there. That's something that you just never think of in your wildest dreams of rodeo, coming to that point and getting that big."

THE AMERICAN

"To have all my fans and friends, and family. I've had people calling me for weeks. ‘We've already bought our tickets. We're ready to be there.' Yeah, it's going to be a lot of fun, a lot of fun."

Get the details for THE AMERICAN by clicking here.

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