5 Things You Didn’t Know About Canadian Sensation Julie Plourde

Canadian Julie Plourde's got a few defining characteristics including one of the stickiest seats North of the border and the horsepower to match.
Julie Plourde barrel racing
Julie Plourde is leading the IFR 54 field with more than $55,000 earned. Photo courtesy of the WRWC.

Julie Plourde from Quebec, Canada, has a few notable characteristics: she’s a mom, owner of some rank barrel horses, has one of the stickiest seats North of the border and is currently sitting third on the WCRA’s Rodeo North Carolina Leaderboard with 2,948 points.

Plourde is leading the IPRA world standings with $24,124 in earnings, too. The next-closest competitor is $6,472 behind her.

The Barrel Racing Magazine sat down with Plourde to get to know this fiery Canadian making the WCRA events her oyster.

No. 5 Plourde’s got a really sticky seat

If there was a poster child for having a sticky seat, Plourde would be one of the options. Competing in the 2023 Women’s Rodeo World Championship, Plourde lost both her stirrups by the third barrel and stayed balanced—and quick—enough to advance to the WRWC Showdown Round, where she earned a total of $7,900.

“I grew up riding ponies and I think it started there,” Plourde said. “I ride in a Brazilian saddle, it’s very small and has short [swells]. You need to be really sticky to ride in a saddle like that, and I’ve been riding in it since 2010. I think it’s helped me a lot with my positioning. I don’t like [deeper seats], I feel like I am sloppy in them.”

No. 4 No tiedown, breast collar or back cinch required

To an average barrel racer, Plourde’s horses may seem a bit naked. But that’s just how she likes them.

“All my horses are just ridden with a little saddle and a bit,” Plourde said, laughing. “I like to have the horse working by themselves, and when I have to do a quick move, I think [the freedom] helps me.”

No. 3 She’s got a trailer full of rank horses

The two main horses in Plourde’s string, KF Epic Ta Fame, “Epic,” and Lesley, are push style horses who love their jobs.

“Epic is a push style but he’s not a cheater at all,” Plourde said. “I have been hauling him since April of 2022 and I’ve only hit one barrel with my foot leaving the first. He’s a very honest horse.”

Epic is an 6-year-old gelding is sired by Epic Leader and out of a Dash Ta Fame mare Gotta Go Tafame. He boasts $40,047 in earnings on QData, including $11,111 at the 53rd IFR in January, 2023. He’s usually Plourde’s pick for the Canadian rodeos, while Lesley runs in the open 4Ds that take place before rodeos.

“I bought Lesley as a futurity horse for my husband in January, but he’s been improving and improving… he’s almost as strong as Epic,” Plourde said. “He’s my backup horse for now but he’s done really well in the last few rodeos.”

No. 2 She’s a proud Canadian

They do rodeos a little differently in Canada, and it suits Plourde well.

“I’m from Quebec, and what I appreciate about the Quebec rodeo circuit that they have a 4D barrel race in the morning, so I can haul all of my horses on the weekends,” Plourde said. “I go to rodeos with three or four horses and I run the others in the morning. And I can make two runs on the rodeo horse or save them for the rodeo.”

Plourde says this setup allows her younger horses to get acclimated to the sights and sounds of a rodeo, such as the rough stock banging in the pens.

No. 1 She loves the WCRA

Plourde frequents the amateur rodeo circuit in the U.S. and rodeos heavily in Canada during the summer. With the WCRA, she can nominate her rodeos in Canada and qualify for events such as the WCRA’s Rodeo Corpus Christi and WRWC.

“I like the WCRA because of the variety of everything, too,” Plourde said. “You will have every caliber of horses and girls there. I’m from Quebec and we’re not running 365 days a year here. So, when I was starting to do well last year, I thought ‘I am doing well [in Canada] but how do I compare to others?’ At the WCRA you get to run against big-name girls and you get to see where you stand.”

Another perk of the WCRA for Plourde is that is lets her quality for lucrative events without rodeoing all year, allowing her to spend time with husband Yves Morissette and 10-year-old daughter Evalynn.