FORWARD FOCUS - Lacombe’s Cranna Roberts made her run at the Strathmore Stampede last weekend. Roberts has been on the comeback trail this year after having missed the CFR for the past three years.

Roberts is back in the hunt for the CFR

The start of the 2016 season was a good one for the barrel racer

BY ZACHARY CORMIER

Lacombe Express

It’s been a while since Cranna Roberts found herself in the top 15 in the Canadian Pro Rodeo Association standings at the halfway point of the season, but now, for the first time in three years, she’s back in the hunt for the CFR.

The start of the 2016 season was a good one for the barrel racer, as she picked up the top prize at the Grande Prairie Stampede and finished in the top 3 at several others.

“It was great at the beginning and now in the last while, not so good. I’ve had some sore horses and stuff, so it’s kind of backed down a little bit. Hopefully it picks up again here,” said Roberts, who, at the time of writing is sitting in the 15th and final CFR qualifying spot in the Canadian standings.

“My plan is to make the CFR and to be in the top 50 in the Women’s Pro Rodeo Association (WPRA) world standings so I can go to the big winter rodeos. That’s my plan if it all works out,” said Roberts, who made her last CFR appearance in 2013.

The former Calgary Stampede qualifier said that the key for her to get there is going to be hard work and perseverance.

“I just have to keep going and hope it works out. You know, when things get tough it’s hard to keep going, you want to just stay home, but you just have to keep going and keep trying it.”

Those words have rung especially true for Roberts throughout the month of July, as she’s faced some frustrating obstacles on her road to success, including a fallen barrel which kept her out of the short-go at the Strathmore Stampede this past weekend.

“My month of July has been no good. It’s just kind of little cheques here and there, like whatever, $400 here, $100 here. Nothing too crazy exciting,” she said, adding that she’s hoping her luck will turn around at some point soon.

“You just have to kind of hope that the luck’s with you and that everything decides to turn around for you. It’s like an addiction. You just keep going for the next win and hope it comes.”

Despite the setbacks this month, Roberts said she’s still very excited about making her comeback to the top of the standings this season and it’s a comeback that’s been made all the sweeter by the return of an old friend.

“It’s exciting. Actually the horse that I went to the CFR with in 2012 and 2013, she had gotten hurt and I turned her out and I didn’t think that I’d ever get to ride her again. But she’s actually who I’m riding this year,” said Roberts.

That horse is 2012 CPRA Horse With the Most Heart Leaguer Moon, or Mooney for short, and the pair have picked up right where they left off in 2013.

“It’s like putting on your favourite pair of pants. You’re just comfortable,” Roberts said of her 14-year-old mare, who she has been raising since the horse was five-years-old.

Now that the two are back together again, the 10th year pro is setting her sights on the stars after this season.

“I want to try for the NFR. That’s my goal for next year. If I can be in the top 50 of the WPRA standings, then it allows you to ride in the higher money added and limited rodeos during the winter. Then you have more opportunity for more money and from there you can keep going,” said Roberts, who at the time of writing was ranked 60th in the world, just $4,000 out of the 50th spot.

As a result of that lofty goal, Roberts has been rodeoing hard south of the 49th parallel this year, an experience that has been truly special for the small town girl.

“We don’t have too many people from Canada that rodeo across the line, you don’t see very many of us over there. So it is quite exciting that you have the opportunity. You just hope that other people want to try it as well,” she said when asked what it’s like to represent her country and her hometown at those big southern rodeos.

Until then, though, it’s just one step at a time for the local cowgirl as she guns for her first-ever Canadian Championship.

zcormier@lacombeexpress.com

 

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