Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket: The Steph Fryar Tales, Part 1

Stephanie Fryar holds a $15,000 check
Stephanie Fryar won Rodeo Carolina in October, her first Triple Crown of Rodeo win that put her in contention for $1 million. Photo by Bullstock Media courtesy WCRA.

It’s no secret that NFR barrel racer Stephanie Fryar is up for a potential $1 million payday at Rodeo Corpus Christi if she can clinch the win this May, but with all the hype and commotion, what’s actually going on inside this past NFR qualifier’s head about the upcoming event? sat down with Fryar so that she could tell her side of the story, including how she got to this place in her professional barrel racing career, personal life and faith before she heads down the alleyway in Corpus Christi.

How’d Fryar get in the position to be eligible for $1 million? We’ve got all the scoop here.

Part 1

Stephanie Fryar: Everybody wants to talk about the million. And I get it. This is exciting. It’s a potentially life-changing opportunity.

But here’s the thing, if I don’t win the million dollars, at least I’ll walk out of Corpus Christi the same I walked in—without a million in my back pocket.

I’m prepared–I know what I have to do to win. But I also know that I have to treat it like every other run I’ve ever made. (Some Streakin French) Frank took care of me in North Carolina, then in Guthrie, and if I keep doing my job, he’ll keep taking care of me through Corpus.

It’s not just one run that defines the entire last run of my life. Honestly, I would have never even dreamed I’d be in this position two years ago.

I’ve dealt with personal loss, losing horses, being broke, and all of those things that come with trying to make a living as a barrel racer over my lifetime. And we’ll get into all that later, but my story has a theme to it and I know I’m not the only one.

As the old saying goes, you just can’t put all of your eggs in one basket in life or in barrel racing. It’s dangerous to canbank everything on that one race, one horse or one moment to define your entire career. You do have some control over how you go around three barrels, how you prepare and how you care for your horses, but it’s anybody’s guess after that. So I learned a long time ago, if you make that one thing that you want so badly your entire world, God’s just going to laugh.

People get caught up in chasing these career highs in any sport, especially rodeo. But when you let the high moments be your defining ones, it means there’s a dangerous other side of it: your lows are that much lower and hurt that much harder.

I’ll get into one story today. In 2022, when Frank was being seasoned alongside another I thought for was going to be the next horse to take me to the NFR—my great one. Streakin Ta By Fame, “Romeo,” was going to be that horse that took me back to the top, I just knew it. I loved that horse so much.

One day, I was exercising Romeo in the morning. It was a normal, easy workout.

I finished my ride, got off and started unsaddling. It’s hard to explain what happened next. I heard as clear as day, a voice saying “Hurry Up!” As I slipped on Romeo’s halter and went to loosen his girth. I couldn’t explain it, but the voice was insistent—I know that now to be God’s voice speaking to me in that moment—so I quickly undid the straps and pulled Romeo’s saddle.

Seconds later, he had an aneurysm and dropped dead on the ground in front of me.

It was in that moment, as he fell, that it felt like my whole world went with it. I saw my dreams, all the hard work I’d put in, all the potential that Romeo had, hit the ground. It hurt more than I could put into words. I felt helpless. I was in shock.

Romeo was my basket at that time. As I was mourning, it took me time to see that Frank was ready to catch me. It didn’t happen overnight. But Frank and he had already proved to me that he had the potential to carry the team as needed. Although I loved Romeo and losing him was heartwrenching, I had to stay focused in moving forward and pouring into the awesome horses that I had, not in what I had lost.

I’m not the only one who has endured the loss of a great horse too early in this industry. I know this. But I’m here to tell you that even though it is heartbreaking, you can trust that there’s something else in store on the other end. Maybe you thought all your eggs were in that one basket, but one fell out along the way, and it’s just waiting for you to go back and find it.

I have many more stories and life lessons that led me to this moment in my career, and I’m so grateful for the WCRA that I’m in this position and I have the chance to share this with you all over the next six weeks.

But what I want to convey is that come May, I’m going to give it my all to take that million-dollar check, but I’m also going to continue to live my life in the days leading up to it. I’m enjoying rodeoing on the string of horses I have now, I’m loving my futurity colts and babies coming up and I’m also gearing up for a full week of barrel racing at the WRWC, Kid Rock’s Rock N Rodeo and more just the week after Corpus. It’s going to be a fun couple of months.