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Charmayne James on Barrel Racing

Charmayne James on Barrel Racing

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by Charmayne James, Kathy Swan (Editor), Ron Bonge (Illustrator)
Her name identifies an industry. Say "Charmayne" and it's like dropping Babe Ruth's moniker or Michael Jordon's or Lance Armstrong's. People who don't even follow the sport know that Charmayne James is the greatest barrel racer of all time.

She burst on to the professional rodeo scene in 1984, winning the first of eleven world championships before her fifteenth


Her name identifies an industry. Say "Charmayne" and it's like dropping Babe Ruth's moniker or Michael Jordon's or Lance Armstrong's. People who don't even follow the sport know that Charmayne James is the greatest barrel racer of all time.

She burst on to the professional rodeo scene in 1984, winning the first of eleven world championships before her fifteenth birthday. In the next nineteen consecutive years, she qualified for every National Finals Rodeo and became the most decorated female equine athlete of all time.

Although in the beginning she was discounted as just another kid with a great horse, rodeo fans around the world soon realized that this rider had something extra. She had trained Scamper herself, and had actually trained her prior mount, one she earned over $20,000 on before switching to Scamper.

And she never stopped learning. Absorbing knowledge like a sponge, Charmayne has worked with trainers, equine health professionals, nutritionists, and other experts to always be on the leading edge of competition-based horse care.

In a world where longevity is measured more in months than years, she kept Scamper sound and winning in world class competition an incredible ten years—over three times as long as the industry average.

Charmayne retired from rodeo competition in 2003, and began to devote herself to training horses and riders with the same single-minded determination that earned her over $2 million in the arena.

"The number one reason I am so passionate about writing this book is to let everyone know why I was so successful and hopefully help them along their own road to success," she says. "I won by following what I was always taught about my horses—treating them well, taking good care of them, making sure that I ride well enough so that they're never confused or hurt—and always keeping my focus on taking care of business."

This icon of women's rodeo reveals that she also won because, to keep going, she had to. "I didn't have a rich daddy or a big sponsor. I did have a horse I had faith in and parents that believed in me. They said we could keep going to the professional rodeos as long as we could pay our way."

"I knew that if I could be a good partner to Scamper, we could win. I had to believe in myself and stay true to what I knew worked for me, even when it was new and intimidating to compete against people who had been there longer and won more. Once I learned to do that, we began to be successful."

She continues, "My lifelong passion for running barrels kept me studying and working to find ways to make it easier for my horses to win. In this book, I share what my years of experience have taught me."

Product Details

Western Horseman, Incorporated, The
Publication date:
Western Horseman Bks.
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.00(w) x 10.75(h) x (d)

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Read an Excerpt

Charmayne James on Barrel Racing

By James, Charmayne

Western Horseman

Copyright © 2005 James, Charmayne
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780911647761

From the chapter titled "The Rider's Responsibilities."

As you go on the road, the mental challenge accelerates. It's natural to be afraid and timid in the beginning. That's one of the biggest hurdles I had to overcome--learning not to worry what people think or how you look.

In some ways, it was easier because I was young, but in others, it was made even more difficult that I was so young and the people all around me were adults.

I had won at the amateur rodeos, so I turned pro. Then I went to those pro events and I didn't ride like I was supposed to. Scamper felt it and didn't run. I was scared, shy and intimidated.

At Denver, I placed in the round, then knocked one down. It was the same at Kansas City. At Scottsdale, I knocked over a barrel and did the same at El Paso.

Finally, my dad talked to me, "We've spent a lot of money for motels, gas, entry fees and you're going to have to go home if you don't start winning."

We'd gone through all I saved from my earlier winnings and Dad gave me that ultimatum before San Antonio.

Finally - it got through to me. I remember thinking, "Scamper and I are better than this."

At San Antonio there were girls making fun of me. I had a green saddle pad and green reins and Scamper was hairy. I tried not to listen to them.

At San Antonio, they had side gates. All the pros were working out of the gateacross the pen and I felt like my horse would work better if I came out of the gate closest to the first barrel, so I did.

I did what I thought was best for my horse at San Antonio. I came out of my shell and rode to my potential. I rode like I'd been riding at the amateur rodeos and we won. I didn't have to go home!

The feeling that gave me was a kind of relief. I thought, "That's what I know how to do!" It worked because I believed in myself and in my horse.

People were not always kind and remembering that always makes me try to be nice to newcomers. I had people tell me Scamper would win if I rode him backward. None of them knew how much time I spent riding - how close a bond I had with Scamper.

They should have been embarrassed to say that at the time if they'd known what I knew. That's where the confidence came in and not letting what people said affect me. My strength was my bond with Scamper.

My mother helped so much. I could have been the ugliest kid in the world - and she'd have told me I was pretty. When I made mistakes she let me know. But she was always there to say, "You can do it. You're the best!" to all us kids. She encouraged us and could never tell you enough that you could do it.

My parents, Charlie and Gloria, were a large part of my success. Mom was a rodeo queen who rode but never competed. I grew up in Dad's feedlot.

They helped me so much with the attitude of being laid back and not panicking over situations.

Scamper hurt himself at Josey's Barrel Race that year. He came out dragging his hind leg and had strained a ligament in his stifle. My first thought was, "It's okay, Scamper. We'll get you fixed."

I've never had that "freakout' mode. I bought a hand-held ultrasound to use on it and ran cold water on it three times a day - and because Scamper was like he was, we had to rub the ultrasound machine in horse poop before he'd let us get near him with it because that new smell bothered him. You do what you have to do. We were out two months, and got going again on the Fourth of July.

Let life make you optimistic. Get confidence from making it through those little hurdles, and the big ones will come easier.

And know your priorities. I didn't care if I ever competed again. I just wanted Scamper to be all right. I'd been through losing a horse before.

The horse I'd had before Scamper belonged to my oldest sister, Eugenie. She had gotten married and left him. He was barn sour, plus he had come off the track and would run sideways and was pretty crazy.

They gave me that horse and I rode from sunup to sundown that summer. I ended up winning over $20,000 on him in amateur rodeos. One day my sister Bernadette borrowed him to make a practice run on poles and he took a bad step and shattered his front leg.

That's how I ended up with Scamper. He was what I had to ride so he became my project.


Excerpted from Charmayne James on Barrel Racing by James, Charmayne Copyright © 2005 by James, Charmayne. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Charmayne James is the greatest barrel racer of all time. She is the All Time Leading Money Earner in the sport, the first-ever Million Dollar Earner. She's the first Women's Professional Rodeo Association Member to earn the coveted #1 Back Number at the National Finals Rodeo and was the first WPRA Member listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. She's won more individual World Championships than any other woman in professional sports. Her barrel racing clinics are booked years in advance, and she is in demand as a speaker/clinician at horse expos and events across the world. She's been featured in every major horse publication, as well as in Sports Illustrated, People Magazine, USA Today, and others, and has appeared on "Good Morning America," the CBS "Morning Show," ABC "Wide World of Sports," and other major programs. She owns and operates her breeding and training operation in Athens, Texas, where she lives with husband, Tony Garritano, and their son Tyler Anthony.

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Charmayne James on Barrel Racing 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love barrel racing. I have ridden multiple horses in the past year that have potential, I just needed to give the finishing touches with my mare. Now we are almost unbeatable! Charmayne James is a fabulous rider and my gosh 11 world championships! This is a must read if you are serious!