With less than $2,000 separating the top four contenders in the Southeastern Circuit barrel racing standings, all eyes will be on the cowgirls in Davie, Fla., on Nov. 11-13. Coming into the event ranked No. 1 in the barrel racing standings is Christine (Laughlin) DeRenzo. The former Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR) qualifier is showing up locked and loaded with a secret weapon.
GUYS SIX PACK TO GO
Her beautiful gray gelding, Guys Six Pack To Go (“Six Pack”), carried DeRenzo to the WNFR in 2014 and is still an important member of her team. DeRenzo hints that retirement may be in Six Pack’s near future, but he is still a superstar.
GUYS ZIP TA FAME
In 2021, Guys Zip Ta Fame carried the load for most of DeRenzo’s season. “Zipper,” is a 9-year-old gelding sired by the legendary Dash Ta Fame and out of Coy French Silk, a daughter of Frenchmans Guy. Zipper stood as a stallion until about two years ago, and DeRenzo says, “He’s one of the most athletic horses I have ever sat on.”
DeRenzo’s third mount, Jess Undeniable is a 12-year-old mare by Feature Mr Jess and out of Undeniable Dash. You may have seen “Jessi” at some larger rodeos throughout the years, and DeRenzo says she is back with all her fire.
“Jessi is a super gritty mare and runs in big or little pens. She has won some great rodeos such as Denver, Colo., Tucson, Ariz., Amarillo, Texas, and more. Jessi has been off for about six months and I am legging her back up to run her at the Southeastern Circuit Finals,” said DeRenzo, who rodeoed for many years out of the Mountain States Circuit region before relocating to Florida.
3 KEYS TO RODEO SUCCESS
When asked what factors have been most beneficial to her rodeo career, DeRenzo says she attributes her success to a few key ingredients.
“The three keys to success in rodeo are a great support system, a consistent feed and exercise regimen, and dedication,” she said.
DeRenzo’s dedication to the sport of barrel racing is evident in her career. When the Ocala, Fla., resident isn’t on the road, she is giving barrel racing lessons, clinics, and riding outside horses. DeRenzo isn’t the only horse trainer in the household. Her husband, Dean DeRenzo, is a successful Thoroughbred racehorse trainer. Her parents, Ron and Patty Laughlin, have been involved in rodeo for as long as she can remember, and DeRenzo credits much of her success to their support and guidance. These close family ties helped DeRenzo have a support system when she ventured outside of her circuit in the summer months, and she notes that it made the past summer even more enjoyable.
A new strategy seems to have paid off for DeRenzo in 2021. Winning the Southeastern Circuit moved to the top of her list of goals, followed by seating herself inside of the top 50 in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association World Standings. In addition to leading her circuit standings going into the finals with $6,940, DeRenzo is 48th in the WPRA world standings with $21,859. In the No. 2 position in the Southeastern Circuit is Ericka Nelson with $5,693 in regular season earnings.
DeRenzo is optimistic about the Southeastern Circuit Finals Rodeo thanks to having Jess Undeniable back in the lineup. “Jessi is my pick for an average horse,” she said.
One thing is for sure, eyes will be on the Southeastern Circuit barrel racers and their star-studded equine partners.