Who is your current employer and what is your job title?
Luckily, I’m retired & getting to pursue my dream of barrel racing!
What does being a rodeo cowboy mean to you?
Being a cowboy means honesty and integrity are some of the first words others would use to describe you. It means making your animals’ welfare a priority.
Being a rodeo cowboy means getting misty-eyed as you stand with your hand over your heart as the American flag passes by. It’s the overwhelming feeling of pride as you hear the national anthem because you understand the price of freedom and what the American flag represents.
Being a ranch cowboy, a rodeo cowboy, or a cowboy at heart, means you’re preserving and passing down part of our American history of how the west was settled. For example, our hard-working, gritty ancestors figured out how to catch cattle that needed to be doctored or branded out on the prairie with no fences!
Early cowboys figured out how to round up a herd of wild horses and tame them the old way by stepping on, cowboying up, and riding the buck out of them so that they could go take care of the cattle. (Bareback and Saddlebronc Riding roots!)
Cowboys would run their horse up alongside a runaway steer, bail off their horse, and twist him to the ground to stop him! (Steer Wrestling roots!)
Cowboys had to be handy with a rope and get their horse to help stop the calf as they jumped off and ran down the rope, put it on the ground, and tied its feet long enough to doctor it or do what needed to be done. (Calf Roping roots!)
If they had another cowboy around to help, one of them would rope the animal by the horns so his partner could catch its hind legs to lay it on the ground. Then the header would jump off (trusting his horse to hold the rope snug) and run over and tie the hind legs real quick with a square knot to keep the animal still to doctor or brand or whatever. (Tie-down Roping roots!)
Barrel racing started as a “specialty act” during men’s rodeo events. Early barrel racing was a way of judging young ladies in a contest, emphasizing their beauty, attire, and horsemanship. Barrel racing has since evolved into a sport of champion racehorses and athletic women racing against the clock with speed and agility around three barrels in a cloverleaf pattern.
Please rate your skills on the following from 1-10 (10 being the highest): Barrel Racing
Because I believe I can always get better, I give myself a 9 out of 10. We’ve got to be in pursuit of constant growth and improvement. It’s the continual fine-tuning and improving on your last run that makes the sport worthwhile to compete in.
Are you single, married and do you have any children?
My husband, Steve Wyatt, is a fantastic guy who is just as passionate about chasing this dream as I am!
What are your kids’ names and ages?
I have two amazing birth sons. M. Curtis McCoy (39) and Monte McCoy (36). I also have three “bonus children” I got when I married Steve! Their names are Jessie (47), Aja (43) & Drew (40). I also am blessed with six grandchildren! John, Jacob, Capri, Abby, Bella, and Briggs!
If you haven’t competed in the professional circuit or major rodeos, what struggles have been holding you back, or have you been facing along the way?
I was college rodeoing on a full-ride scholarship. In 1980 I met “Mr. wonderful” at a jackpot roping, had a short engagement, and married. We moved 8 ½ hrs away the following day, and he sold my horses, truck, and trailer. He was insanely jealous of me being around any other man, so that was my last competition.
It took me 12 years to get out of that abusive marriage, but I got out alive with my two sons. My oldest son was a type 1 juvenile diabetic from the age of two. He had seizures that got worse and worse, and it wasn’t until he was 22 that we found out he had a malignant brain tumor growing. Doctors said he had no hope of survival. But, they said, “take him home and make him comfortable.” So I took Curtis to Tijuana, MX, and although he still has brain scar tissue issues, he’s alive over 13 years later!
I married a wonderful guy, Steve Wyatt, in 2008. So I finally have a horse-loving partner who loves to be my “Equine Waste Management Specialist” (poop shoveler) and enjoys this starting-over journey with me.
After 38 years out of the saddle, I ran my first barrel race in November 2018!
I was blessed to have an amazing EasyJet/Dash For Cash mare to start racing. A farrier trimmed her too-short, two trimmings in a row, which got her suspensory ligaments really sore. This caused a snowball effect of other muscle and joint soreness. She started ringing her tail and showing lots of pain symptoms. It took over a year to learn about “Kissing Spine” and then get her x-rayed to confirm the problem. She had surgery and 5 months of rehab. She’s now feeling better and better, and her times are getting back to the consistent 1D-leading times!
Have you been told you have the talent but have always lacked the money, good horse, personality, etc. to get ahead? If yes, explain.
Yes! When I was a teenager, my cousin told me, “Man, your Uncle Dave sure scolded your dad at the coffee shop this morning!”
I asked what she meant. My cousin explained that they discussed how my folks had paid for my twin brother to go to a rough stock clinic and then a roping clinic. In addition, they had bought him a new rope horse and bull riding chaps and gear. Dad thought my barrel and pole horse was perfect for him to steer-wrestle off of, so I had to let him use my horse.
Uncle Dave said, “If you gave Connie just Half the chances you give Joe, that girl could do anything she ever sets her heart on.”
You know, I still ride on those words! I knew then that Uncle Dave believed in me, and I still draw courage and determination to prove his words right to this day!
What is your motivation for doing this show?
Competing in The American Rodeo is at the very top of my bucket list. It’s the creme de la creme of barrel racing. I am now 61 years old (I will turn 62 in February). So I have a window of time and opportunity to go for it! If not now, when? So I’m confident in my horse and my skills. I believe we can run with the best!
Please list and explain any hardships you’ve had in life.
Honestly, I’d rather focus on the blessings instead of the hardships! We all have many stories of hardships, but I’ve chosen to rise above them and not let them break or define me.
How could $50K in prizes change your life?
Our old 2003 truck has left us broke down and stranded on the interstate several times now. $50K would sure make a dent in replacing it with something more dependable!
How could winning a rodeo like The American, change your life?
I feel blessed that God has allowed us to be a part of this fantastic barrel racing family of competitors. It enables us to encourage, inspire, pray for, and tell people about Jesus using our actions rather than our words. Winning a prestigious event like The American would enable us to do that more.
What sets you apart from other rodeo competitors?
My hardships and experiences have helped me be tough. Nobody can do or say anything more hurtful or damaging than I’ve already survived!
I try to be the one at the gate or along the fence cheering my competitors on, videoing their run if I can, so they’ll have it to review later.
I genuinely want them to have their best run, for their horse to not stumble and them to ride out feeling good about their run! Hoping for anything less for them isn’t going to make them run slower; it would just make me a bad sport, right?
I’m going to run my best race as well. So we’ll see where the times end up! I’m not trying to beat them; instead, I’m trying to get my dance with my horse together in perfect timing and harmony to run the fastest time of the day.
How would friends and family describe your personality?
Some of my family called me hardheaded and stubborn. Then, years later, I met some business friends who said I was very tenacious, and they meant it as a compliment!
I learned that the God-given traits I had in me were a positive, not a negative! For example, they said if I came to a wall, I’d climb over, dig a tunnel under, or find a way to break it down but I wouldn’t quit until I won!
Whether it’s protecting my family, learning about diabetes or cancer well enough to treat it, or having the patience to work with an animal until they understand what I’m trying to communicate… I’m a bulldog man. I don’t let go!
How would you make yourself stand out? What would be your strategy during the competition?
I’ve already got an interview lined up on Amazon Fire TV following the race and hope to bring attention to the sport of barrel racing, The American in particular!
After nearly 40-years out of the saddle, competing in prestigious events like The American can inspire others who might have thought it was too late to pursue their own dreams!
Have you ever been on any other TV Shows? If yes, list the show name and air date.
Yes. RFD-TV interviewed me during the Xtreme Million Race in 2020. (4th Performance). I’ve also been a guest on the Amazon Fire TV show “Success, Motivation & Inspiration.”