Living the rodeo lifestyle: not always rubies and rhinestones

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – The Rotary Classic Rodeo is back in the saddle and hundreds are gearing up for Saturday’s final events. What is a fun show for fans is a way of life for others.

Award-winning barrel racers talked about the lifestyle of a rodeo athlete.

Cassidy Champlin placed in the top 40 worlds standing in barrel racing last year.

Having several titles under her belt this cowgirl lives for the high moments but said the rodeo lifestyle isn’t all rubies and rhinestones.

“Unlike most people’s lifestyle, it’s kind of like the rock star lifestyle without the pazazz. You don’t have a driver. I was in Belton Texas yesterday and I drove 12 hours to get here. I got in at midnight and that’s pretty much normal,” said Champlin.

Women can compete in 100 rodeos a year. Most, appear in about 60 to 80 events. Unlike other professional athletes, rodeo competitors are only paid if they place. Tiany Schuster said it can be tough when you travel all over to compete.

“If you don’t win that money you may as well stay home because you can not keep going up the road without that paycheck, ” said Schuster.

Schuster is a 2x NFR Barrel racer contended and holds several titles in the rodeo world. Being a rider she knows the heart of the sport is the horse, and finding the perfect match can be challenging.

“I’ve got to find a better stronger horse. I have to get out of my comfort zone and quit riding Mr. reliable the horse that’s comfortable but not fast enough,” said Schuster.

Being a veteran, Schuster doesn’t plan to hang up her hat anytime soon and said her rodeo community is what outweighs the lows.

“Rodeo is a way of life. It’s a family within a family. Most people just adopt everyone in this group,” said Schuster.

The final events for the rodeo were on Saturday starting at 7.

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