2023 Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit Finalist Sarah Verhelst

Which horse(s) are you taking to the finals?I will be taking Pearl (Doc O Can Dyna, 2014 sorrel mare by Doc O Montana x Starlight Can Dyna by Paddys Irish Whiskey, Montana Bred) and Stoney (see pedigree).

What is unique about their personality and what are their strengths? How tall are they and what is their weight (thought it would be fun to compare)? Pearl is 15h. 1250lb. Stoney is 14.3 and 1100 lb. Pearl is quiet, shy, and lazy, but very loyal and scores great! Stoney was a stud until he was six. So he’s pretty outgoing and can be a little cranky towards other horses when food is involved, but is really gritty and runs hard.

When did you start competing in breakaway? I started competing in breakaway roping when I was around 9 years old. My Dad would go to the NRAs and so I would tag along and enter junior breakaway and barrels. 

How long have you been a WPRA member? I have been a member of WPRA since 2019.

Do you raise your own horses? Or do you purchase? Are you looking for specific bloodlines? We raise all our own horses. Love to incorporate horses with both speed and cow. Both the horses I am riding go back to our foundation sires Doc O Dynamite and Paddy’s Irish Whiskey, which has been a great combo in our breeding program.

What are your conditioning and workout routines for both you and your horse(s)? I try and work out 3-4 times a week when I am at home. I usually try and mix it up between weights a couple of days and a cardio or Barr day. I usually try and practice on young horses every day and just rope on my good horses one or two days a week, and just exercise them the other days.

When you’re headed to the rodeo what do you listen to: inspirational podcasts, music, audio books? My traveling partners joke that I don’t ever listen to the radio. When I do listen to music it’s usually Zach Bryan or Baily Zimmerman.

Do you have favorite spots to stop at while on the road? Maverick gas stations are always a good one stop shop when you have a big rig and need fuel and food.

Who do you travel with (including pets or companion horses) and in what kind of rig? I travel with Joey Williams and Anna Callaway, and sometimes there two, two year olds Shay and Huck. We have a lot of fun together and the tots keep us laughing! We generally rotate rigs between the 3 of us.

What are your favorite memories/highlights and obstacles you faced getting to the 2023 circuit finals? One of the highlights of the summer was in June when we made a run from Newtown, ND, to Belt, MT to Reno, NV, to Greeley, CO to Kadoka, SD to Thermopolis, WY to Dickinson, ND, and finally to my home town rodeo of Hardin, MT, only to have it canceled due to rain. We went around 3,000 miles that week. It was a long ways but we had a lot of fun!

What or who are you thankful for? I am thankful for my family’s support. My husband is constantly challenging me to be a better horseman and roper. My kids help warm up, saddle, and run shoots. I am really blessed to have such a great people in my life!

What are your hobbies or other sports you compete in? My other hobbies include homeschooling my kids and taking them to youth rodeos and wrestling meets.

The Run Down
Ropes: Kings, Webb’s, Lone Star
Saddle: Faith saddle
Pad: Weaver, Classic
Boots: Iconclass
Bits: Balding