By Ann Bleiker
No. 1 ranked Tiany Schuster enters RodeoHouston later this week in Super Series II having won more money in the WPRA than any other barrel racer in the history of the sport at this time of the year. On March 6, the Krum, Texas, cowgirl had already raced her way to $72,637 in earnings at 22 rodeos.
In 2016, when Mary Burger set a new regular season earnings record in August, she didn't cross the $70,000 mark until after her big win at RodeoHouston. In fact her total following her win in Houston was $78,795 on March 21, 2016. Burger eventually finished the 2016 regular season (prior to the NFR) with record earnings of $190,977.
The winter has definitely been a hot one in the WPRA with Schuster leading the way. Amberleigh Moore, the 2016 WPRA Reserve World Champion, and her great mare Paige picked up where they left off in Las Vegas having won $58,705 at just nine rodeos in 2017. Moore will be competing in Super Series IV at RodeoHouston. Kathy Grimes of Medical Lake, Wash., has also been making several trips to the pay window having amassed $52,038 at 11 rodeos in 2017. Grimes has already added another $3,000 at RodeoHouston winning the first round of Super Series I in a time of 14.28 seconds.
Schuster recently captured her second Wrangler Champions Challenge in Grand Island, Neb., for Team Justin Boots. The WPRA News had a chance to visit with her after her first Champions Challenge win in Rapid City, S.D., and here is short excerpt from that Q&A that appears in the March issue of the WPRA News.
Describe the team aspect of the Champions Challenge:
It added more pressure as I didn't want to let the team down. I didn't know many of the guys but enjoyed signing autographs with everyone and seeing the look on the kids faces was priceless. Our Justin team was a big deal!
JSYK Im Famous seems to be your main horse and what is that horse's best quality?
I got JSYK Im Famous over a year ago. The first time I got on him it was just so amazing and something I had never felt. He was just perfect and there wasn't anything to fix on him. We just clicked from the get go and he is SUPER fast and easy to ride, unlike any of my other horses with his Firewater Flit style. JSYK is just my dream guy!
Describe your 2017 season:
Amazing. We started off strong last year but then was plagued with one thing after another. It just made for a bad recipe for everything overall and instead of getting more gray hair over it, we decided to go home after Cheyenne and regroup for 2017. We got everyone rested and regrouped both mentally and physically. When the 2017 season started we entered and went to every rodeo we could get to. As a result of having success and taking advantage of the opportunities we have collected more than anyone else in the history of barrel racing heading into RodeoHouston.
Edwin Cameron has been with me for the last 10 years. He is a top barrel racer in his own right so he is a big help. He pushes me and helps pick what horses to use. Now if I can just get him to drive...my life on the road would be perfect. The real glue that holds it all together though is Wade Whatley. I can't say enough GREAT things about Wade. He is just a calming factor for me and such a hard worker. Wade helps around the ranch and Rosie Webster helps keep the horses loped down at home while I am gone. I am not sure what I would do without them.
I have a peach color shirt and have recently developed a fondness for that color. It has become my lucky shirt, so you will see a lot of that shirt.
Barrel racing idols:
Martha and RE Josey are just so phenomenal. Martha calls me and offers encouragement and I really appreciate that coming from her. And come on...It is Martha and RE Josey! Can you say starstruck? True inspirational role models never fall from the sky!!!
How did you get involved in rodeo?
I have had an interest in horses all my life. I got my first barrel horse when I was 14 and was the only one in my family involved in the sport. I always wanted to barrel race and I struggled at the beginning. It took me four years to fill my permit. I think I caught every $20 last place check possible. Once I finally broke through and started winning at the rodeos it was just like the monkey was off my back after that. Not sure if it was a mental block but glad I got past it.
I can't leave home without:
Tweezers! Nothing worse than a wild hair and no one tells you about it. And thanks to Staci Theriot...my eyebrows are always plucked and groomed.
Favorite on the road snack:
Pure Protein shakes
Goals for 2017:
I don't really make many goals instead I try to focus more on the realistic achievements. Like entering the short round in Ft. Worth, I wanted to try to finish fifth in the average with sixth more likely but then ended up third in the average, so it was a huge accomplishment. This way when you surpass your own expectations it is such a great feeling. Last year, Jane Melby and I was talking about making the NFR and she commented that easier to try to qualify by Fort Smith (end of May) so you don't have to stress about it over the summer. We are well on our way and will just worry about what I can control.
Tiany is sponsored by Professionals Choice, Brazilian Saddle, FitnessDepot.ca, Pony Plate, Cowgirl Couture Alfalfa Express and most importantly Double X Equine Vet Services and Justin Knight horseshoeing.