Sitting in the passenger seat while her traveling partner Jeanne Anderson navigated their rig en route to the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo Thursday afternoon, Tana Poppino was thinking ahead to the runs she plans on putting down for big money at her next stop.
But it was last weekend’s win over the best in the world at Fort Worth that put Poppino atop the NFR standings for the first time in years that will hopefully set the tone for the rest of this season’s competition.
“I rodeo to win all the time,” Poppino said. “The ultimate goal is always to go to the NFR.”
And now, with over $20,000 won for the year, she’s about a third of the way there. But the next step is at least four runs at San Antonio, then on to San Angelo. At these two rodeos, Poppino will test both of her geldings, Goose and Amigo, in pens that bring challenges to the most seasoned rodeo mounts.
“I’m going to have to make sure I ride him (Goose) all the way to the first barrel so he doesn’t just stop before it,” Poppino said with a laugh. It was aboard Goose, who is nominated for the Barrel Racing Report’s Gelding of the Year for 2009, that Poppino claimed victory at Fort Worth, and it will be on Goose that she’ll start the rodeo at San Antonio.
But waiting in the wings will be Amigo, who took Poppino to a $100,000 Calgary Stampede win and a win at the Denver rodeo and ultimately to two NFRs. While both horses have drastically different running styles, nobody would complain about having both of them healthy and in the trailer behind her pick-up.
Goose and Amigo will spend the next two months on the road in Texas with Poppino bouncing from rodeo to rodeo, and all of that travel will certainly be hard on them.
“It’s a 24-hour a day job keeping them healthy,” Poppino said. She uses Equipride supplements, Total Health Enhancement and a combination of chiropractors, massage therapists and as much conditioning as possible to keep her boys in top shape to run in all of the pens the rough PRCA schedule demands.
The Barrel Racing Blog will continue to follow Poppino throughout her 2010 PRCA season, so keep checking here for more on Tana!