Kylee Scribner, a 21-year-old from Azle, Texas, collected $47,313 in rodeo winnings in 2021, secured her spot at No. 22 in the world, and topped it off with a WPRA Resistol Rookie of the Year title.
Did we mention the rookie cowgirl did it aboard an unseasoned 5-year-old gelding?
Aboard her 16.1 hand gelding, Scribner shocked the rodeo community in 2021. Firewater Cartel, or “BB,” is her 2016 gelding by Firewater Frost and out of DNA Awesome Crystal, a AAA running mare that goes back to Corona Cartel. However, the team’s success came as no surprise to Scribner’s family and friends.
As a teenager, Scribner worked for Holly Pritchard, a family friend. Cleaning stalls and riding colts with Pritchard gave Scribner the chance to learn. This relationship proved extremely beneficial to Scribner’s career. Holly Pritchard trained First Fire Frost, a horse that Scribner had great success riding. After she lost the opportunity to run that horse, Scribner had a new outlook on rodeo.
“I made a promise to myself that if I ever had another horse that was that high caliber again, I would go,” she explained.
Without the money in the bank to purchase another champion, Scribner turned her focus to earning her bachelors degree and building up her business, Believe Performance Horses.
As fate would have it, in 2019 Scribner received a call from Pritchard. She had come across a rebellious colt that needed a jockey who could handle his antics. Slamming his jockeys into fences was his signature move, and Pritchard decided a younger jockey needed to take the reins. Something told Scribner that the fractious gelding could be great despite his bucking fits and general stubbornness.
“I could feel what an athlete he was and how nice he was going to be,” she said.
Scribner was up for the challenge, and the duo ended up meshing well.
“When BB started to excel in the barrel pen, I was like okay, it’s time to go,” Scribner said.
She kept her promise to herself, purchased and filled her Women’s Professional Rodeo Association permit in October of 2020, and hit the road. She faced challenges related to seasoning both herself and BB along the way.
“When we started this year, he had never been to a rodeo, or even an outdoor arena more than once,” Scribner said.
That disadvantage didn’t show up much in their performances. The duo picked up big money in places like Reno, Nev., Sheridan, Wyo., and Omak, Wash. Their win in Hermiston, Ore. was worth an impressive $7,514. Scribner describes Hermiston as her favorite rodeo in 2021.
“The hospitality was good, the ground was good, and winning it made it even better!” she exclaimed.
Seasoning a young horse while learning the ropes on the road was no easy task, especially with a powerful horse like BB.
“He is a very strong horse that likes to run, so he ended up getting really free on me this year as well,” Scribner said. “That was a battle that we faced, keeping him from being too free in those big pens.”
Scribner shared that she used a combination of bit changes and slow, collected work to keep BB in line on the road.
“When you’re hauling that much, you don’t want to ride them too much extra, because you’re already putting so many miles on them. When I did ride and do slow work, I tried to keep everything very slow and correct, and just reinforced rating down and staying soft,” she said.
For smaller setups, Scribner uses an Ed Wright chain Pretzel bit, while her bit of choice in open, outdoor arenas where she needs more control is a custom B Squared designed by J.D. Morrow.
Using a professional to enter rodeos for her seemed appealing to Scribner at the start of 2021. The popular way to enter seemed like a great idea, until it led to her getting turned out of the wrong rodeo, showing up at one she was already turned out of, and getting hit with a double fine.
“It was a handful,” she laughed as she describes a few adventures she encountered on her summer run.
Getting lost on the way to rodeos, changing time zones frequently, and encountering numerous surprises while traveling was just the start. Pritchard had the opportunity to travel with Scribner for a short period of time and was full of praise for the competitor that Scribner had become.
“I was very impressed. At just 20-years-old, she was out there focused, determined, tending to business, and taking excellent care of her horses,” Pritchard said.
“It’s a dream come true,” Scribner said of winning the WPRA Resistol Rookie title in barrel racing. The young cowgirl plans to take all the knowledge that she gained out on the trail this year and apply it to her 2022 plans. Her position in the world standings will help her get into the limited entry rodeos, and she hopes to have success in the winter months so she can keep her schedule calmer during the summer. BB’s increased confidence and the knowledge gained by this duo in 2021 should make them an exciting pair to watch in the upcoming season.
“Kylee has made the horse out of BB that I knew was in there,” Pritchard said. “To say that I’m proud of both of them is an understatement.”