Three-time Canadian trick riding champion Shelby Pierson continues to be recognized for her skill.
The 19-year-old was recently recognized at the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association Dress Contract Act of the Year.
“It’s a big deal for me. It has been a dream of mine since I was eight. I started at eight and that is a goal I set for myself,” she said.
The winner of the award was voted upon by the top 20 cowboys in each event.
Pierson said it was pretty cool to have the cowboys select her act.
“I have definitely worked towards quite a few goals. This is my biggest and along with this, I got to perform at the Canadian Finals Rodeo (Red Deer).
The Wardlow resident said she was very excited to have the opportunity and she did it with her horse Splatter. Splatter is the horse she started performing trick riding with at age eight.
Her trick riding schedule runs from spring to fall. The break from the action is now filled up with classes at the University of Lethbridge. She is in her first year of a goal to become a teacher.
Pierson was introduced to trick riding by Cassie Bradlay. Bradley was not only a trick rider herself but taught her grade one at Berry Creek Community School.
“I had so many great teachers growing up that I just thought it would be very cool to inspire others to pursue whatever they choose.”
Becoming a contract act as a trick rider takes a lot of hard work and it all started with her teacher who took her under her wing.
“It has taken a long time to get to where I am today. I have had a lot of teaching from my dad.”
She credits her dad’s involvement in rodeo and her love of riding horses for getting her into trick riding.
“I also love gymnastics so they kind of combined to make a cool sport.”
Pierson said she is fortunate to have the support of her parents, Connie and Bruce.
It’s an every day job that I enjoy doing.”
Trick riding is anything but easy. She said there are a lot of wipe outs and spills that go into perfecting a trick.
From the basic trick riding skills she learned at age eight, Pierson slowly built up her repertoire. Her goal is to continue to push herself to do more tricks.
But Pierson said she is happy with where she is at and the progress she has made.
She is a three time Canadian trick riding champion and an Australian trick riding champion.
Winning the Canadian championship gave her a lot of happiness. She said it was nice to be rewarded for her hard work.
“There is lots of practice. I usually practice every day in the summer. It’s a full-time commitment. I have four horses I do it on.”
Working with her four horses also helps to keep them in shape, she said.
Strength also plays a role. Pierson works out almost every other day in the summer and trick riding is a workout in itself, she said.
A lot of communication is necessary between the rider and horse.
Mental and physical strength are also important.
Summer is her busiest time. She is usually at a rodeo in either Canada or the United States every weekend.
Pierson said she is looking forward to hitting the road next summer and having a chance to again display her skills at the CFR.
The adrenalin rush from riding her horse to perform trick riding is what she enjoys the most from her sport.
“I love horses. They are my whole life. Being able to share the arena with them and do something I love is pretty cool,” she said.