By Katy Nesbitt
Wallowa Valley Online
On a winter morning she watches a video – a montage of photos mostly taken by her mom, Vixen Radford-Wecks, put to Country Western songs. It was shown at the coronation of this year’s incoming Reynece Ryan, the 11 year-old to whom Barney passed the crown in Philomath last month.
“Almost everyone that saw the video, who knows me, cried,” Barney said.
Besides the memories and the photos, Barney has her Miss Junior Rodeo Oregon saddle. Her mother said it was hard to convince her not to hang it on the wall as a trophy.
“If I didn’t ride in it, it would still be over there,” Barney said as she motioned toward the living room.
Pretty enough for a wall hanging, the barrel saddle is being put to good use on her new horse, Rhett.
“He was loping weird until I used the new saddle and he came out of it,” Barney said.
Rhett joined the family this winter. Barney said after living alone the first 12 years of his life he’s quite happy with the family’s herd of quarter horses.
Radford-Wecks said the woman who sold the horse was very particular about to whom to sell her prize horse. “She wanted him to have a forever home.”
Barney said, “We message her and send photos and videos.”
Rhett will be her show horse.
Barney said, “He’s a nice Western pleasure horse. I hope to place higher this year with him.”
Her trusty rodeo steed, Music, is 24 and Barney said she will still ride her in rodeos and the Mountain High Broncs and Bulls drill team.
“Music can go fast and slow down easily and she learns fast,” Barney said.
On her to-do list this summer – improve her standing at regional horse shows in Western Equitation.
“I don’t like the feel of English riding, but I might do it when I get to know Rhett more – what his buttons, levers and switches are,” Barney said.
Rhett, unlike Music, was trained to “spur stop”, so Barney’s learning curve just ratcheted up a few degrees.
Radford-Wecks said, “She was taught her whole life not to use her legs, now it’s totally the opposite.”
A member of both the Rusty Spurs 4-H club and the drill team, Barney will have plenty of time in the saddle by springtime.
One of her longer-term goals is a spot on the Wallowa County 4-H Court. Now a sixth grader, She said she will be eligible the summer after her seventh grade year.
“I want more speaking practice, especially impromptu speaking,” Barney said.
Down the road, she said she has eyes on the Miss Teen Rodeo Oregon and the Chief Joseph Days Rodeo court.
With more time at home this year, Barney has designs on raising livestock. Her mom said when she saw her brother’s check from the sale of his pig last year she got dollar signs in her eyes. And then…she started thinking about raising cattle.
Radford-Wecks said, “When I told her about the possibility of raising a couple of cows she said, ‘Cows. This is the best day of my life.’”