Meet Sponsored Rider: Tracy Bell
Tracy Bell is a California girl, but rather than catching waves, this passionate blonde is barrel racing and team roping around the Mojave Desert. Ridgecrest, California is a quaint little town centered around a Navy Base Tracy has worked on for seventeen years with the Department of Defense. "We are a pretty patriotic community. Traffic stops at 8am every morning for the National Anthem you can hear being played city wide." Along with her ten-year-old daughter, Jessie, Tracy loves keeping the western heritage alive by competing in rodeos and being around horses every chance that she gets. “As a Rodeo Queen back in the day, I got to share the western way of life with so many that do not realize that it is still alive and strong these days. I love sharing my passion because I know I was once a horse-crazy, little girl too.” At 43 years old, we are glad to hear that Tracy never really outgrew that horse-crazy stage and keeps pushing herself to learn more about these amazing animals.
Tracy comes from a non-horse family. At the age of ten, Tracy begged her parents to get her a horse and they thankfully obliged. Boarding her horse outside of town gave Tracy the chance to be around all sorts of four-legged creatures. “I rode pretty much everything that was said to be ‘broke to ride’ from donkeys to Clydesdales.” Tracy’s first riding instructor was big into horse shows so she naturally started in that arena, but she quickly realized she had a need for speed. "I started out showing in some local horse shows, but the feeling of going slow didn't hold enough challenge or give me the adrenaline rush I felt I needed. So, my horse, Bay Rose, and I started to go to play days and such...We started in Jr. Rodeo and High School Rodeo and it has evolved from there." With determination, Tracy learned the rodeo world quickly. She says the key for beginners is to, “Never give up! The hardest part about learning this sport is learning how to remain humble. Horses will teach you this in an instant.” Tracy spends a fair amount of her free time around horses by practicing her sports, teaching riding or barrel racing lessons to kids, and frequently volunteering as a horse show judge at local shows. “I love teaching youth about horses and our industry, whether it be roping or any other discipline.”
Slinging her FastBack Pink Patron above her head, or the Mach 4 for windy days, Tracy ropes in the American Cowboy Team Roping Association (ACTRA) rodeos. She competes more in team roping than in barrel racing, but keeps her skills up in both sports. To keep her mind calm before competing, Tracy practices a technique she learned in her Lamaze class some years ago to count to 10 forwards and backwards. “I may not be going into labor at the beginning of each run, but sometimes you’ll find me quietly counting to ten,” she says with a laugh. A quick spit on the hands is the only superstition this non-germaphobe does before going out into the arena. “If I don’t [spit on my hands] I feel like the entire run will be awful. [It helps] my hands to grip the reins better.” Tracy dreams of one day competing at the World Series of Team Roping finals in Las Vegas and barrel racing in the National Finals Rodeo. With her familiarity of horses and ability to compete under pressure, we believe she just might make it there and make those dreams a reality.
Currently, Tracy and Jessie’s herd consists of five quarter horses and a mini horse that they train and ride. Their herd includes: a mare named “That Chick Dunit” who Tracy ropes and barrel races on, “Lil Lilly Wildcat” another mare that is now retired after a long successful career and recently provided a legacy of two colts, Blast and Blurr, a mini horse named Toby that Jessie used to compete on when she was younger, and a special gelding named “Bens Brown Badger” that Jessie currently rides. Bens Brown Badger (Ben) became the family horse when he was only four years old. He was Tracy’s go-to horse as she could win buckles on him barrel racing, take him to the branding pen, and heel at a jackpot rodeo with him. He is versed in both Western and English style riding. “My horses have to be able to do it all. I believe it makes them better horses.” A few years ago, some circumstances led to a heart-broken Tracy to have to sell Ben to a nice family. As luck would have it, three years later Tracy was looking for a horse for Jessie and saw Ben for sale on a website up in Washington. “I called the lady and she was a complete angel. With the help of my family and the original family I sold him to, Ben was back home where he belongs and is the perfect horse for my daughter.” Along with their horse herd, Tracy also has two dogs and a total of 14 laying hens that provide fresh farm eggs for Jessie to sell to friends and family. Jessie and Tracy love to participate in Special Rodeos and promote the sport and the western way of life to people who do not have a chance to see it otherwise. Tracy’s love for the rodeo and the western heritage lifestyle runs deep in her heart and she works hard to try and impart some of that love on others.
Written by Kara Grimes
- Burge Linton