March 7, 2014
Sunday afternoon, along with most of the rodeo fans in America, I had the pleasure of watching the all time greatest barrel racer make one more run.
Charmayne James was one of the Legends at the American Rodeo. The American provided the biggest payout for a one-day rodeo in the history of the sport. The competitors were a combination of the top ten in professional rodeo, cowboys and cowgirls from all walks of life who worked through the ranks of numerous qualifying rodeos, and a chosen few who are the Legends of their individual events.
Charmayne and her father bought her first horse from a feedlot when Scamper was a six year old, and she was just twelve. Two years later they qualified for the National Finals Rodeo. They went on to win the NFR that year along with the WPRA World Championship and the WPRA Rookie of the Year.
One of their most amazing runs came during the 1985 National Finals Rodeo. As they came down the alley to enter the arena, Scamper’s bridle broke. He ran the pattern on his own and won the round. In 1986 the pair won money in all ten rounds at the NFR, a feat only three other riders have accomplished.
Charmayne and Scamper ended up with the enviable record of ten WPRA titles, six NFR titles and ten Rodeo Houston titles, along with many other circuit finals and major rodeo championships. He carried Charmayne to more than one million of her $1,842,506 lifetime earnings.
Although Charmayne won on several other horses during her career, she hasn’t run competitively for ten years. Coming back and running against the very best in the barrel racing world should be daunting, but the run she made was amazing.
In the preliminary round, against fifteen of the best of the best, she ran another horse, Grasshopper to the fastest time. Unfortunately they tipped a barrel, earning a five second penalty, putting her out of the final round.
The talent it takes to come back to a sport after that many years is mind-boggling. Thank you, Charmayne, for one more run.