There is no horsing around for Katie Jo Boyd-Halbert when it comes to barrel racing.

Boyd-Halbert will compete for the first time at the 2022 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Finishing 31st in the world last year in barrel racing and second in the Rookie of the Year standings, Boyd-Halbert now qualifies to compete in Fort Worth, San Antonio, and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Born and raised in Port Lavaca, Boyd-Halbert, 26, began riding when she was only 15 years old.

“I’ve been several times to watch friends compete in the rodeo (HLSR), but this is my first time to qualify. I’ve always loved horses and learned about barrel racing at Rafter D Ranch in Victoria from Donna Nichols,” said Boyd-Halbert.  “I have an arena at my house, so I’m able to practice at home. We typically don’t practice like other sports. We do a lot of “slow work” which means we work our horses according to what needs work on the pattern at a slow speed.”

Boyd-Halbert rodeoed from Oct. 1, 2020, to Sept. 30, 2021, traveling about 60,000 miles during the year.

“The world standings are based off of money won at sanctioned rodeos throughout the US. I ended placing 31st in the world standings for the 2021 rodeo season. I won Reserve Resistol Rookie of the Year in 2021. I won the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) Southern Region Barrel Racing in 2018 and Reserve NIRA Southern Region Barrel Racer in 2019.”

During the season, she was able to compete in several major rodeos.

Some of her favorites were Red Bluff, Calif.; Reno, Nev.; Clovis, Calif.; Salinas, Calif.; St. Paul, Ore.; Casper, Wyo.; Sheridan, Wyo.; Cheyenne, Wyo.; Caldwell, Idaho; Burley, ID; Ellensburg, Wash.; Kennewick, Wash.; Plains, Mont.; Puyallup, Wash. and Pendleton, Ore..

Boyd-Halbert said that her main focus is to make sure she and her horses are healthy and fit to have a successful season.

“My main goal is to win as much money as I can, so it gives me a good start for the 2022 rodeo season. My big goal of the year is to qualify for the 2022 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR). They take the top 15 in the world standings every year. Its nickname is “Super Bowl of Rodeo,” that gives people who don’t know what it is how big of an accomplishment it is to qualify there.”

Boyd-Halbert believes that persistence, hard work, responsibility, and mental toughness pay off.

“It’s easy to get down and out when you aren’t winning, but when you’re 2,000 miles from home, you can’t really quit and go home. So, you have to have persistence, work hard, and keep fighting until things come together again,” she said.

She wants to encourage other young girls to go out and work hard. “Don’t ever quit and trust in God’s plan. He wouldn’t have put the hopes and dreams in your heart if it were something you weren’t supposed to accomplish. You will meet some of the greatest people barrel racing or rodeoing.”

Boyd-Halbert said that rodeo is a unique sport.

“Rodeo is the only sport that you will see competitors helping each other to be better. We want to win against people at their best,” she said. “It’s the only sport that I believe truly glorifies God. You don’t see many interviews that don’t give glory to Him. It’s a pretty cool thing to be involved in.”

Boyd-Halbert is a 2014 graduate of Calhoun High School. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Recreation, Park, & Tourism Sciences from Texas A&M University and a Master of Agriculture Education from Texas A&M University-Commerce. She is currently employed by RLB Contracting as an accounts payable specialist. She plans to continue participating in rodeo with her husband, Reid Halbert, with hopes of one day riding in the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.