Barrel racer Victoria Procter may be No. 2 in the 2023 Resistol Rookie standings with just shy of $20,000 won on her 2023 ProRodeo season, but the road hasn’t been smooth sailing for the Texas cowgirl.
Procter had command of the Resistol Rookie standings after a hot spring, where off the road, she captured her first BBR world championship on NNN Sixums Firewater, and cleaned up at rodeos around the Texas Circuit, where she’s since moved down to No. 13 overall since heading up north, just outside of circuit finals territory.
After her smooth spring travels, Procter eagerly took off for the ProRodeo trail in June. Quickly, her summer run began to look like a series of unfortunate events, despite winning money along the way. She faced each challenge bravely—including the theft of her dog over the Fourth of July (he was eventually returned)—until she found herself spending more time in tears than enjoying life on the road. She called upon her mentor, seven-time NFR qualifier, Tammy Fischer.
“I think I cried so much that (Tammy) got scared I’d completely come apart,” Procter admitted. “So she came before my 21st birthday. We stayed with some family friends of hers, rode horses, went and saw some movies. It was a great mental reset for Cheyenne.”
Unfortunately, Cheyenne didn’t offer much relief for Procter’s broken heart in the arena after Fischer left. On the day of her 21st birthday, Procter spent the morning at a mechanic’s with her truck, then went to the fairgrounds for barrel practice.
During practice on the day before the qualifying round, Procter’s horse fell down completely at the first turn in barrel practice at a slow lope (this was before the CFD crew worked tirelessly to fix the footing in the arena) and after she ran at The Daddy and in Nampa, Idaho, the combination of ground trouble and a family emergency in Texas had the young cowgirl headed home.
“I drove almost 24 hours straight home from Nampa and stayed for a week at Tammy’s,” Procter said. “It was good for me. I mean, if rodeo doesn’t humble you enough, riding colts at home will really do the trick. Even (Bunny) was a train wreck, though. She saw her vet and her chiropractor, then we went right back after it.”
One of Procter’s first rodeos back was the Dodge City Roundup in Kansas. She picked up an additional young horse, Clifford, while in Texas, and the new addition didn’t help to make her life any easier while on the road alone with three horses.
“Well, Clifford has never been anywhere and a thunderstorm rolled in at (Dodge City) while I was setting panels up,” Procter said. “I had ahold of him and the thunder cracked one good time, and he came down right on my foot—broke it. It was like, three in the morning. I just crawled into my bed after I finished with the horses. It was so painful. He’s every bit of 16 hands.”
For the next week, Procter consulted with judges at each rodeo to make an exemption for her by way of dress code due to the swelling in her left foot.
“I went to the judges and showed them my foot and asked if I could run with a tennis shoe on that foot,” Procter said. “They took one look at my black, swollen foot and said ‘Oh yeah.’ So I ran with a spur on my tennis shoe, and a boot and spur on the other foot everywhere that week. I’m sure people thought I looked ridiculous. It was sort of embarrassing.”
Procter’s Rookie Survival Guide
Procter plans to finish out her summer run moving forward, then is thrilled to head back to Texas, where she will attend Texas A & M University for her senior year as an agricultural business major. Through her struggles, Proctor has kept track of her hard lessons learned to pass along to upcoming rookies.
1. Master your mental game.
“Aside from wearing like, steel boots around your colts, the most important thing out here is mental game.”
2. Find a mentor.
“Having Tammy helped me so much out here. You need somebody who knows how tough it is out here. My family has been supportive, but they didn’t fully get the mental side of it, or know how to help in different situations. Tammy told me where to enter, find places to stay, how to bounce back from absolutely sucking in the arena. I’d call her for any rulebook questions I had.”
3. Have a short-term memory.
“You can literally suck one day and win the next. You’ve got to just keep moving forward and believing in yourself.”
4. Trust the bigger plan.
“My mom text me this summer a few times to remember that I’m living my dream. I thought my dream was to win, but that’s not what it’s all about. God has done some incredible things in my life this summer with horses, family and friends. The devil will attack when you’re down, and that’s why you can’t get caught up in just winning.”
5. Know why you’re out there.
“It took me a little while to realize that I’m not rodeoing to win Rookie of the Year. I’m rodeoing to have fun with horses that I love and at the end of the day, to glorify God. You have to have faith in what you’re doing and why you’re doing it
6. Put an air tag on your dog.
No, seriously. She keeps one on his collar now.
Who is Victoria Procter?
“I’ve heard a couple announcers say this summer that I’ve only been barrel racing for two years. That’s not true, I’ve been running barrels—I just wasn’t very good.”Victoria Procter
Procter grew up competitive in stock shows, but her heart wasn’t in raising and selling cattle. She had aspirations to be a barrel racer, but her family didn’t know much about rodeo. A family friend referred her parents to seven-time NFR qualifier, Tammy Fischer, to help Procter get started in the right direction.
“Tammy loves telling the story of the day I showed up at her house,” Procter said. “I just remember having so many butterflies about meeting her, but she will tell you I had this old, crippled paint horse that I couldn’t even lope a circle on. She put me on ‘Trouble,’ which was a 7/8 brother to (her world-famous bay, Easy Dash Oak) ‘Roundpen.'”
From there, Fischer continued to be a key resource for Procter. Her career accelerated whenever she moved in with Fischer after high school, allowing her to attend college and study barrel racing simultanously.
NNN Sixums Firewater, “Bunny”
Most of Procter’s 2023 success has been aboard NNN Sixums Firewater, “Bunny.”
“I owe so much to Bunny. She’s such a great horse and we’ve grown so much together.”Victoria Procter
“Bunny,” was trained by NFR talent Ryann Pedone before teaming up with Procter. The 2014 mare is by Deep Sixum and out of Miss Doubtfire Flit, by Fire Water Flit.