AUSTIN – To say the 2011 has been frustrating for barrel racer Tana Poppino might be a huge understatement.
The three-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo from Big Cabin, Okla., has struggled on the rodeo trail. Both her horses, Amigo and Goose, have suffered some injuries, and that just compounds a potential lack of confidence in the world-class cowgirl.
“I hadn’t won a dime all year, and that’s frustrating,” said Poppino, who runs this week at the Heart of Texas Fair and Rodeo.
But there is no quit in Poppino, who has continued working through all those issues. She’s given the horses the best care possible, and she’s gaining more confidence with every run. Poppino ran last week at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo; while success was limited, there was a bright spot.
“Amigo made the best two runs that he’s ever made in the Reliant Stadium,” Poppino said. “Even though I got the first barrel in the second-go, our time was good.”
In the third round of Super Series III at RodeoHouston, Poppino and her main partner finished in a tie for third place to secure $250. Although it wasn’t a big paycheck, it was finally something. The two standout athletes then followed it up with a solid run at the Marshall (Texas) ProRodeo, where they finished seventh and earned $415.
“We’re on a roll,” Poppino said. “That’s two in a row. Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.”