Episode 003 - World Champion, Sherry Cervi & Jr. World Champion, Tru Most

Join four-time Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) World Champion Sherry Cervi as she travels down the rodeo road and discovers the up-and-coming talent of Tru Most, the 2022 YETI® Junior World Senior Girls Barrel Racing Champion. These two women discuss the importance of horsemanship, a good mindset, and even better horses. Hear about legendary barrel horse Stingray’s daughter, Money May, who is blazing the way down the rodeo trail one barrel at a time. Sherry even shares about her Sherry Cervi Youth Championships, where she awards graduating high school seniors scholarships ranging from $500 to $5,000. See below for a full episode transcript.

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Podcast Transcript

Taylor Mcadams: You're listening to the kick your boots up podcast where we swap stories of the West. Whether you're just waking up or getting in for the day, come on in and kick your boots up. Hi guys. Thanks for listening to the kick your boots up podcast. I'm your host, Taylor McAdams and joining me today are two incredible women in the industry. I can't wait till you get to meet them and take a little bit of a look inside their lives. First, I have to start with the four-time world champion Sherry Cervi. Sherry bought her (Woman’s Professional Rodeo Association) WPRA card when she was only 12 years old, won her first championship when she was 20 and was even inducted to the Cowgirl Hall of Fame in 2018. We're so excited that she's here. She continues on today with the legacy of her Sherry Cervi Youth Championships where she has competitions in California, Arizona and Minnesota and has even launched a scholarship program. That's an incredible way to give back. Thanks for being on sherry.

Sherry Cervi: Thank you for having me.

Taylor Mcadams: And next Tru Most is a name that you're not going to want to forget. You want to know, after rising to earn the title of the 2022 YETI Junior World Senior Barrel Racing Championship In just one year of preparation. She's becoming more of a household name by the day. At only 14 years old. This Longview Washington cowgirl has a story to tell Tru, it's so good to have you to thank you for being here.

Tru Most: Thank you so much for having me.

Taylor Mcadams: Ladies, I'm gonna jump right into this because you both have very, very special and unique stories to tell we have an underdog story with you Tru and then an overall World Championship story with you with impactful horses. So Sherry, let's get started with you tell us about how you got started in rodeo.

Sherry Cervi: My mom and dad both competed. They both attended the NFR. My dad competed in the very first NFR in Dallas, Texas. So I feel like you know I was destined to ride horses, I was in local events when I was 5, 6, or 7 years old, and I just grew up on horses. I've done all the events, I rode rope and cutting horses and barrel racing was my passion. And I wanted to be a racer from a very young age, but didn't ever really think that it would be my career. You know, when I first started out when 18 years old, you just you know, my goal was to make the NFR. But it's been an incredible journey. And it's you know, I love what I do and that the connection I get with my horses is what I love about you know, being a barrel racer besides just the competition.

Taylor Mcadams: Okay, very, that's an incredible story, Sherry, we have so much more to talk about. But let's get into Tru’s story Tru, introduce us to yourself and talk about your background and how you got started.

Tru Most: My background is probably the exact opposite from Sherry's. Um, my family did not do any form of rodeo they like nothing. They had nothing to do with horses, none of that. I loved it from a really young age because my favorite movie in the whole world growing up was Toy Story. And I wanted to be Jessie from Toy Story cowgirl so bad. It was my entire personality. I had a full outfit and I wouldn't like I wouldn't go anywhere without my sparkly red Jessie boots. I like all I wanted to be with a cowgirl and I had none of that in my family. So my my uncle married a horse girl. And they had they had a barn they had like a boarding barn and she did lessons and stuff. And I was obsessed it was I was so happy to finally have something like that in my family and I was at their house all the time, it was my favorite place to be. And when they finally got me my first horse, it kind of just grew from there. And they had me doing western pleasure because that's what she did. And she did western pleasure. But I was like, This is not for me. I remember when she would be teaching me in the round pin. I would just we would I would try it and then I'd be like, okay, like what's faster than this? Like, what's the next? What's the next step? I just wanted to go fast, fast, fast, and I didn't like the showmanship and I didn't like the western pleasure. So when I found out about barrel racing at one of our 4-H competitions, I was like that is what I'm going to do like that is perfect for me. So I told my parents and after begging them for a really long time they got me my very first barrel horse and that it was tricky because my like I said my parents didn't come from rodeo or anything so they didn't know what a barrel horse was capable of. So he was a lot of horse for me going from lesson horses to a big scary barrel horse who just wanted to run. So honestly, I didn't like him at all. When I first got him I really didn't like him. We weren't friends at all. But after the first couple months of having him I learned to really love him. And I learned that his excitement was the same as my excitement and we got to be really best friends and it's grown from there.

Taylor Mcadams: What a story what to be able to say that you just had an interest based off of western pleasure going slow the opposite of barrels. Let's kind of talk about the similarities here Sherry you made an iconic impact on your career when you were younger. And then same with Tru just winning in December the World Championship there the Junior World Finals, Sherry, what do you think is so important about being a youth and getting started young and just going from there?

Sherry Cervi: You know, I mean, I love Tru’s story, because I'm hearing more stories like that the kids that don't come from a western background, you know, that they find that passion, and they can, you know, the horse and, and her going fast, you know, I love that. And the awesome thing about the western industry, or rodeo is we are just one big family. And, you know, the fact that she maybe doesn't have parents that know, very soon, but there's so many people out there willing to help and, you know, make her dreams come true. And, you know, I just, I think that there are people that get started later in life, which is still that's awesome. And that's the thing about barrel racin is you can compete, you know, when you're a little bit over, but the fact that Tru get to, you know, learn at an early age and, and, you know, get to pursue our goals, and I think it's awesome.

Taylor Mcadams: And true, what was the hardest part for you being younger and going to such a big stage, after not much time to prepare for that?

Tru Most: Um, I'd say, the hardest part for me is really just having to work with what I got, you know, um, my family has been super supportive. And they have definitely given me given me all of the, the blocks to get here. But it was definitely a lot of figuring it out on my own. And in a lot of trying to get people to take me seriously because when you have a family that doesn't really know how, you know, like rodeo works and all that kind of stuff. It's hard for them for them sometimes to understand how serious it can get but, but a lot of it for me was doing stuff on my own and building up on my own. Cuz a lot of like, Junior High School rodeos is that kind of stuff. You'll see all those girls, you know, that come from the big rodeo families, and they kind of got it all figured out figured out. But, but sometimes it still feels like I'm just starting, and there's still so much that I have to know. And we're definitely working up by myself to get here.

Taylor Mcadams: I like your attitude. It's all about keeping going and staying hungry and always being coachable. And Sherry, I bet you say the same things hen you put on these championships and you go talk to the youth, what do you think is the best piece of advice you have for someone that's wanting to get started in rodeo?

Sherry Cervi: Um, I think that, you know, set out you have your goals that you want to accomplish and and even though it may not go how you think it should beginning or you may get you know, have some trials and maybe a struggle sometimes that you stay focused on the end goal and what you want to accomplish. I think it's really important matter and, you know, barrel racin and in even in life that, you know, sometimes it looks easy from the outsider, but you know, you know how hard you have to work and to get there. And you know, just don't don't give up.

Taylor Mcadams: I love that you said that in barrel racing. And in life. There are so many life lessons that we've all learned probably from the barrel pen or the practice pen just going around the barrels doing the doing the thing. So thank you for that tidbit of advice. And, you know, we've got to move on to our next bit of questions. It's very important to talk about being a horsewoman and the horsemanship that goes along with it. But the incredible horses that you guys are just blessed to get to go along with along the way. So let's talk about some horses that built you Tru, do you want to get started?

Tru Most: Sure. My first, as I was saying, my first barrel horse Cash was was tricky and took a lot of learning and, and he wasn't an easy, I wouldn't even say kid friendly at all, horse. But I would definitely say I don't think that I would be here without him. Having a horse like that has made every other horse feel like I'm driving a four-wheeler like, he really taught me a lot. And he also taught me about how important it is to have a relationship on the ground with your horse before in the arena. Something that I think is really important is definitely having a bond with your horse because it like in all honesty, this this sport is a team sport. I can't do it without my horse and my horse can't do without me. So it's really important for me that my horse and I are a team and we have a connection on the ground before in the arena. So learning that from cash and realizing that when I got a connection with him on the ground and he started to become my best friend, stuff started going a lot better for us in the arena. So He definitely taught me that and got me to where I am.

Taylor Mcadams: And then moving on to Rockette, that's something too that you've got to talk about too, because she's the one that that really helped you in the championship.

Tru Most: Yeah, and I really didn't have much time to make too much of a connection with her. I got her in March and World Finals was in April or nnot April, December. So I didn't have much time but, but I've picked up some techniques that I think really helped with bonding, I spent a lot of time on the ground with her. She's not the kind of horse like Cash he'll just lay his head in your hands and he just wants you to love on him, but she's kind of really serious and doesn't really want to be touched and loved on so it's a little trickier to make a bond with those kinds of horses. She definitely takes her job super seriously. But I found that with a lot of time just being around her, I don't even have to be all touchy with her just being around her we started to make a connection and I definitely saw an improvement in the arena.

Taylor Mcadams: And I'm so glad you mentioned a horse that really has a connection and loves their jobs. Speaking of that, Stingray, Sherry, is a legend. You know that it's no secret. Talk to us about all the other horses you've had before Stingray and leading up to Stingray and everything that she's been able to do and taking her out on on into the arena during the championships that you that you get to have.

Sherry Cervi: There are so many horses that helped me get to where I'm at today. You know, when I was younger, I had basically my parents put me on rope horses that you know, became barrel horses, and then I got my first real barrel horse and his name was dudly. And he taught me you know, that was the horse I had the first success on and so I think he's what got me for sure hooked and then I got troubles and hawk. Those were the two horses that I made the finals on in one the first two world championships and then kind of went through and they had Tin Man and Dinero and Dinero is a stud that my dad owned in his registered name is PC Frenchmans Hayday and he you know, was kind of the background backbone of my dad's breeding program and I also competed on him and that's what led to you know, getting Stingray he’s her dad and so the fact that I feel like it's come full circle because when I competed on troubles in Hawk I was competing against Christy Peterson and Bozo and my dad loves that horse and so Dinero is a full brother to Bozo and so that's why my dad you know, purchased him to get some of that breeding in our program and and then getting to raise Stingray and you know, just everything that she's done and we're now she's retired and I'm getting colds out of her which is you know, so cool that to be able to ride those codes and you know, try to um, ride one now earnings money may and she looks just like her mother she's a little mini me and you know, so I'm very grateful for myhorses that I’ve had and getting to bring Stingray in the arena to you know, get her picture taken with those kids. We just do it in Arizona because that's you know, it's close to home, and I truly feel like she loves that and she still loves attention and she poses for picture and you know that that mares very very special to our family.

Taylor Mcadams: To your family and the rest of the world too. she's an icon. Yes. And one thing that I think is really cool is that the new one that you get to ride looks just like mama I'm sure there's a lot of fans out there that think it's Stingray has anyone ever mentioned that?

Sherry Cervi: Oh, yeah, though, you know, like you mentioned they’re like is that Stingray? You know, Stingray is 21 this year, so she definitely is in full retirement. But yeah, Money May is It's funny how you know, people think that she is she does she looks just like her. So.

Taylor Mcadams: That is so fun. I can't wait to see how you guys do this year. Right now we've got to mention you're headed you're on the road headed to another rodeo and your future's bright there let's talk about your your goals for 2023 season and even in the future.

Sherry Cervi: You know, I'm just Money May’s now eight years old, and I had some, you know, had plans last summer to go a little bit more and had trouble my horses got hurt and you know, that's just part of it, you gotta regroup and so didn't get to fulfill my plans or my goals what I wanted to accomplish last year and so we're starting out this year and I'm gonna go and you know, see how how it goes and my horses are back I feel like you know, sound and ready to go and but you know, Cory and I get to go together which is is awesome just because, you know, neither one of us want to, you know, be going by ourselves and it's no fun and we're at a point in our career where you know, you you when you go you want to go enjoy it, you know, it is their career, but we also still you know, it just it's We're at a different point in our life where, you know, we're like, Okay, we're gonna enjoy this.

Taylor Mcadams: Good for you guys. That's the attitude that you should have. And I respect that so much for your quote unquote work-life balance per se, since your office is a little bit different than most and Tru, let's talk about you a little bit your your future is really bright, obviously, you're just getting started in breaking ground. Let's talk about your goals and the future for you in 2023.

Tru Most: 2023, my dad and I were going to do WPRA (Woman’s Professional Rodeo Association) over here in Washington, just to kind of introduce me to that because I definitely see that in my future, I definitely would want to go to the NFR after high school. So I feel like that would be a really good way to kind of introduce me that and get my horse introduced to that. That way, when the time comes, I feel it's gonna be a lot easier for us, we'll kind of already know the ropes, I definitely want to qualify for World Finals again and take a shot at winning that again, I definitely think we're capable. And and, and that would, that would be a cool thing to accomplish to win it twice in a row. So that's definitely something I want to try to do for 2023.

Taylor Mcadams: Good for you setting some big goals. And it's kind of really surreal for me and everyone that's listening because Sherry just purchasing your card at 12 years old, Tru, your 14 I'm noticing so many similarities. And this is going to be so fun to watch. But I guess talking more about the future of barrel racing in general, let's talk a little bit about that some trends that you guys are noticing anything that you guys want to talk about with in order to keep barrel racing alive, all of it. It looks like we lost Sherry, Tru let’s start with you.

Tru Most: Um, I like Sherry was saying, you definitely see a lot more stories about girls who don't come from rodeo backgrounds. So that's exciting for me because there wasn't a lot of girls like that when when I was younger doing barrel racing, but I see a lot of it now of girls just starting to get into it and succeeding and doing really well. So that's exciting to kind of expand this amazing sport because like Sherry said, We're all just a big family and and and it's it's it's super fun and exciting and it'd be cool for other people who don't come from rodeo backgrounds to experience a group like this also.

Taylor Mcadams: Definitely I couldn't agree more and Sherry for you. Let's talk about future trends and barrel racing. Maybe the way you see genetics going maybe people don't watch it this year. All right. (laughter) We have some lights behind I was telling Tru before you got on we have some lights and they just fell anyways, we're gonna own re-ask you that question. Okay, so the future is bright for barrel racing in general Sherry, I'm interested to hear your thoughts. Let's talk about the future of barrel racing genetics, that you might be noticing a new trend for maybe the future of the sport as a whole.

Sherry Cervi: I think the future of the sport is headed in a really exciting direction. The breeding program just for barrel horses is you know, I mean, since probably 15 years, the depth of great horses is really deep. What I see is kids and people are getting into it, you know that the knowledge that is so accessible to our fingertips, you know, getting on the phone and watching videos and and the people that we can learn from is, you know, really easy for people to access now, and which I love because I still I think that, you know, you never want to stop learning. And I think that our horsemanship is getting better, you know, people are wanting to work more on their horsemanship and be better riders. And, you know, with the breeding programs that are that are out there and the money that's out there, just the big jackpots that you can win you know is is making it yo where barrel racers you can win a lot of money so you know what I do I think that we're headed in a really good direction.

Taylor Mcadams: I agree. And you have seen the days where barrel racers and in rodeo, in general, didn't get paid as much and now we're in the millions just in one weekend sometimes so that's very very encouraging. And you know there's not many times Tru that you get to sit down with a world champion and find out what's going on in their head so before we go I'm genuinely curious do you have any questions for Sherry that you want to ask her about?

Tru Most: I do have a question um I feel like this would apply to a lot of other people as well like a lot of other people ask the question, what do you think is the hardest part about being on the road and your your best advice for traveling so often because this really is a lifetime commitment sport.

Sherry Cervi: It definitely is. And that was a great question and the funny that you asked me that today while we're driving. We, um been on the road is is not as glamorous as it looks. We two days ago ran a wheel off at our living quarters trailer in Dallas,Texas. So we left our trailer in Texas, we borrowed a trailer from him, for his partner, we went to Arizona dropped some horses off, got up this morning at two o'clock and we were driving in and blew front tire on the truck. And so had to get that changed. And so we are behind schedule, we wish should have already been to our destination, but you know, it's just part of it. And you, you know, you got to adapt and and be ready for anything thrown at us. You are a person that thinks that you need to follow a certain schedule and have things mapped out. Let me just tell you, that doesn't happen in rodeo life, you gotta be able to go with whatever is thrown at you. So I think that just being able to, you know, not let the things outside of the arena get you down, and just be able to, you know, fix what you can and, and, you know, stay have a positive attitude, I would say, be the the most important thing that you've been to for yourself.

Taylor Mcadams: That was really great advice and great question too Tru. It sounds like our time is up for today, even though I personally would love to talk for hours and hours and hours picking both of your brains. It's been so good to kind of step back in time. It's been a while since I've gotten to even ride so I've loved this little Cowgirl cowgirl connection we've had here. And I wish you both the best on the different roads that you're taking whatever milestone it is and whatever goal you have. I wish you both the best. Sherry Thank you for being such an a great endorsee for us and Tru, thank you for being on the podcast. We look forward to seeing your bright future ahead. And I wish you both the best.

Tru Most: Thank you.

Sherry Cervi: Thank you.