Local barrel racer Lisa Zachoda recently won the title of 2010 Canadian Barrel Derby High Point Champion with her horse Dynamite Perfection.
This year was Zachoda's first time competing in a futurity/derby, this was Dynamite Perfection's first year campaigning at events other than jackpots.
"He did really well at the first two and just kept consistently placing third, fourth, then I thought we'll keep going. His best placing overall was second in Melville," she explained.
Zachoda and Dynamite Perfection (also called Jack) competed in two guaranteed rounds each time, then the top 10 competed in a short go.
"He did win a couple of go rounds throughout the year and also had fast times, it's a three-run average. You gotta stay really consistent," said Zachoda.
"If you tip a barrel over and get a penalty, you're pretty much out of the short go. And then you don't accumulate points from the short go. It's really a consistency game."
Zachoda travelled to six races around Western Canada this year, competing in Cardston and Brooks, Alta., Moosejaw, Sask., Brandon, Man., Melville, Sask. and then most recently in Thorsby, Alta.
She said there are usually about 45 to 50 competitors.
"You get to know the different horses, there's a lot of tough horses, and there's a lot of people that do this is as their profession. That's what they do full-time is train horses and compete so it is pretty tough," said the full-time Senior Accountant with Spectra Energy.
Zachoda started riding when she was 12 in a summer learn-to-ride program at the North Peace Light Horse Association, and she said she was hooked. Her parents bought her first horse, Trinket, that fall. She rode English with him and went on to do well at local horse shows. Later on, she had a couple of other horses that she began barrel racing with and qualified for the 1998 National High School Rodeo Finals in the barrels and as the BC High School Rodeo Queen.
After high school, she spent a year riding with reiner J.P. Forget and then later with Montana barrel racer and trainer Judy Myllymaki. She was the 2000 Miss Rodeo Sundre and won the horsemanship category at the Miss Rodeo Canada Pageant.
In 2006, she was the Peace Country Barrel Racing Association 1D Champion, Alberta Barrel Racing Association 1D short-go qualifier and three-time Northwest Rodeo Association finalist.
Zachoda filled her CPRA permit in 2009 and was second at the Harmon Valley Pro Rodeo on Skye.
Zachoda said she likes to compete in the local rodeos too and won the ladies barrels at the Doig River Rodeo this year.
Zachoda and Skye won the Open CBHI 1D saddle in Thorsby this year against 268 other barrel racers in the Open competition.
Her next goal is the Canadian Finals Rodeo, she feels that her horses are ready to go to the next level.
"Really just stick to my program and keeping the horses sound because you always gotta keep them sound because they can get injured. If they're running good and handling themselves properly, they can usually keep running for quite a long time,"
Zachoda sent out her thanks to her support system - her parents, Rick and Ivey Henderson, and her husband, Gabriel. She said her mom helped her with the long drives, and her husband has helped her with anything that needs to be done, and is really good with the horses and improved his horse skills, since he didn't have anything to do with horses before they met. She said her dad shares her passion and love for horses and barrel racing, has an excellent eye for top notch horses, and has helped her become the rider she is today.