From Brazil to the USA: Keyla Costa Fulfills Her Childhood Dreams on ProRodeo Trail in 2024

Brazilian barrel racer Keyla Costa wins West of the Pecos and $3,600 aboard The Dragon Roll with goals of getting her husband Marcus to the Thomas & Mack.
Keyla Costa barrel racing
Keyla Costs | Phil Kitts/Avid Visual Imagery

Keyla Costa and her outstanding gelding, The Dragon Roll, cashed in at Texas’ West of the Pecos Rodeo, taking home the win and $3,655 on June 29, 2024.

Though she’s only been in the country since 2016, Costa is no stranger to the ProRodeo scene, qualifying for her first Texas Circuit Finals last year in 2023.

The Buck Jackson Arena in Pecos is a tough one for barrel racers. Costa ran at the “World’s First Rodeo”—Pecos’ historical claim to fame—there in 2018 aboard Spotlite Ta Fame, a 2009 by My Stud Leroy out of Lite On The Bar by Stripping On The Bar.

“Pecos is a difficult arena for horses: It’s a big, wide-open pen,” Costa said. “I didn’t have a good run at Pecos in 2018, but I believe we should never give up, believe in our dreams, and always keep fighting.”

Costa took her own advice this year, laying down a 17.62-second smoking run aboard “Pipe,” a 2015 gelding by Frenchmans Guy out of Tellhericalled by Dash Ta Fame. The time held for all three days of competition to take home the win.

“Reagan Dillard started him, then sent him to me three years ago,”Costa said. “When I got him, we were running in the 3D, but I always believed in him. It has been a long journey to get to where we are today, but I am very grateful that [Reagan] trusted my work and believed in me.”.


Keyla Polizello Costa came out of the arena from her second-round run where she clocked a 16.968 inside the @Lazy E Arena with tears welling up in her eyes and on The Dragon Roll, a 2015 gelding by Frenchmans Guy and out of TellHerIcalled by @Dash Ta Fame. “This is all God. All of it,” she said moments later. Costa placed second overall in both rounds of the Rookie Ruby at her first Ruby Buckle barrel racing event in Guthrie. Full results and recaps on this week’s winners brought to you by Classic Equine all week long from the Ruby Buckle. #BarrelRacer #Cowgirl #RubyBuckle #Brazilian

♬ original sound – Ryder Wright

Though Costa has placed at many rodeos this year—including finishing 5th in the average at the Texas Circuit Finals—topping the standings isn’t her main goal. She hauls with her husband, World Champion Tie-Down Roper Marcos Costa, and right now they’re both focusing on punching his NFR ticket.

“We are partners, and Marcos is the priority,” she said. “He always enters more rodeos to try to make the NFR, but I’m not ready for that yet. I only run when the dates are the same, and I have the condition of running. My plan for this year is to season my horses and maybe one day fight for something bigger.”

Despite her recent success aboard Pipe, Costa has struggled to stay consistent on one horse. She has sold five good horses that were already winning rodeos in the last four years,but making another winning horse is challenging.

“Making a good horse requires much work, long hours of training, jackpots, and adapting; it all takes time. On the other side, it is a great achievement to see those five horses winning with their new owners. It is a wonderful feeling.”

Starting anew

Before moving to the United States in 2016, Costa had her fair share of success in Brazil.

“I started competing at a very young age. My first competitions were at 5 years old, [then] I started rodeoing at 7 years old,” Costa said. “At that time, I trained four to six hours every day. The competitions were intense and different from how I compete and train here in the United States.”

Costa competed for 25 years in Brazil and earned many titles, which she holds near and dear to her heart.

Although she has been able to ride, campaign, and own several good horses since moving to the States, it hasn’t always been that way.

“My start here was with just one mare, and I confess that it was full of struggles and many difficulties,” Costa said. “I had many difficulties when I started here. …It helped to have wonderful people and my husband by my side, all who helped me train and be better here in the United States.

“It was one of the most difficult decisions of my entire life,” Costa continued. “I left my family, job, home, and a solid career.I believe in one great thing, God. He always shaped and directed me toward the best path. When I met Marcos, I felt in my heart that I had to leave everything and live next to my forever love.”

Young Keyla Costa barrel racing
Young Keyla Costa barrel racing

Chasing love to a different country made Costa’s dreams come true.

“There’s an interview I did with a magazine right after winning a big competition in Brazil when I was 13 years old,” Costa said. “They asked me in the interview what my biggest dream was, and I said, ‘It’s to compete one day in the United States!’ I always want to thank the people who believed in me and my work, my sponsors, my family, who, even from afar, are very supportive, and my husband, who is my greatest companion in life.”

Costa’s story is one of triumphs, hardships, hard work, and a whole lot of dreams come true.

“My God, this is the realization of the biggest dream I’ve ever had,”Costa said. “But none of this would have been possible without God. He is the author of everything in our lives.”