Former Mesalands student sets rodeo record

Special to the QCS

Sydni Blanchard, 22, from Albuquerque, a former member of the Mesalands Community College’s rodeo team, recently set a record at one of the largest rodeos in the world, the Calgary Stampede rodeo in Canada.

Blanchard won all four opening elimination rounds of barrel racing, including the semi-final and the championship rounds.

According to the Calgary Herald, this has never been accomplished in the 99-year history of the Calgary Stampede.

The article stated Blanchard set the record after sitting out for four months in the spring due to serious injuries to her tailbone. She did not start competing again until June and says the last four rodeos she competed in were in preparation for the Calgary. She attributes much of her success to her horse Shotgun.

Blanchard took home the maximum event prize money of $122,000. This is the most ever won by a Stampede contestant.

“The Calgary only invites the best in the world, and the fact that Sydni set a record at that rodeo is pretty amazing.” said Mesalands Intercollegiate Rodeo Coach C.J. Aragon said. “She has a lot of potential and I can’t wait to see what else she accomplishes.”

Last week Blanchard competed at the Cheyenne Frontier Days in Cheyenne, Wy. She had the fastest time in barrel racing of that rodeo, with a run of 17.26 seconds, which was close to the record of 17.03 seconds, according to the news release.

While at Mesalands, Blanchard shined as well. In 2010 she brought home the national championship title in barrel racing, and was named the College National Finals Rodeo Rookie of the Year. This was the first national title won by the Mesalands Rodeo Team.

“Sydni has definitely set the bar high,” Aragon said. “Her performance over the years shows that the college has high expectations for our Rodeo Team.”

Aragon said that Blanchard’s success has assisted him in recruiting some of the highest nationally-ranked women to the Mesalands rodeo team for the 2011-2012 season.