Burning up the barrel racing circuit to come out on top

Twila Zunti of Unity, owner/operator of Junction 21 Tack and Feed Store, is not only a busy mom of two and local businesswoman, she is also an avid rodeo competitor.

Twila has competed in barrel racing for the past seven years.

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Twila and husband Brent Zunti, along with children Ryder, age 10, and Kaybree, age nine, are all involved in both the business and the rodeo adventures.

In 2015, Twila has won events at the Saskatchewan and Manitoba locations of Elbow, Grunthal, Virden, Estevan, Edam and Beechy. Twila headed to Brandon, Man. Oct. 23 weekend to compete in the Manitoba Rodeo Cowboys Association Finals.

Being the season leader in her event, there is always the feeling of a “target on the back;” however, Twila says, “I didn’t feel a lot of pressure. I just wanted to go out and make three clean solid runs. I had set a goal this year of being the MRCA season leader and I was happy to be able to achieve that.”

Twila won round one and split round two. Her “rodeo dad” gave her the advice to play it safe for round three, although when the adrenalin set in before entering the arena, and knowing what was at stake, Zunti made the decision to “go for it,” stating she’d rather give it her all than live with “what ifs” afterward if the event had been lost.

Twila is also sitting in third spot with $13,163.67 in the CCA — Canadian Cowboys Association — standings with those finals coming up in November during the Canadian Western Agribition.

Twila says between now and that time her horse Chex will get some much needed rest as it has been a long season.

“As well, I will keep up on the chiro and massage treatments to keep him happy.” She adds.

Twila says she will continue to keep riding her other horses to keep them and herself in shape.

“In addition, I plan to hit a few jackpot events on the other horses so both horses and rider can stay sharp before finals arrive.”

Chex is a 16-year-old registered quarter horse officially named RB Mr. King Bar and Twila describes him as “one of those finicky old guys that have some quirks to go along with the perk. One of them being he hates hearing the sound of Velcro being ripped around him. He’s the kind of horse that you like to keep calm and cool going up the alley then it’s fun to turn him loose.”

Joanie is an 11-year-old mare Twila just bought in February. Bud, who her daughter Kaybree rides, is a 15-year-old gelding.

Kaybree has been barrel racing since age four. Her season this year consisted of running at Kakeyow Cowboys Rodeo Association as well as at some CCA rodeos. She made the KCRA finals for her third consecutive year.

Ryder is following in dad’s footsteps and started steer riding this year and qualified for his first KCRA finals. A few years ago dad Brent hung up his bull rope and this year started bull fighting at a few of the KCRA rodeos.

The CCA finals will be held Nov. 24-28 in Regina. The KCRA finals were held in Saskatoon in September.

© Copyright Battlefords News Optimist

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