As people settle into the new year, many are thinking about their goals for 2020.
One Creek County girl is already working toward making it to Vegas for the Junior World Finals. Nine-year-old Maddi Billingsly just got back into town after her first Vegas competition in December.
"It was fun, kinda scary,” Billingsly said.
She and her horse, Cowgirl, competed against more than 50 other barrel racers at the Junior World Finals. Billingsly’s Great Aunt, Tina Scanlan, introduced her to the sport. It all started at the Cross Bar Arena in Mounds.
"After I had competed on Cowgirl, I walked around the barrels, and we had to find her a horse,” Scanlan said.
That was about five years ago. Maddi started out with "Skip," then rode with "Fonzie" and "Peanut" throughout the years. Barrel racing is a passion she plans to continue for quite a while.
"She says she is until she's about 70. And then she says she might think about quitting,” Scanlan said.
But Billingsly is just getting started. She and Cowgirl finished in second place on their first day of competition in Vegas.
“I was so glad I did,” she said. “I was so happy. And then the second day it didn't work out as much."
Billingsly hit a barrel the next day, making her two-day average score too high to continue.
“It's ok,” Billingsly sighed.
"She's so competitive, so she wants to win every time,” Scanlan said.
But Billingsly is resilient and knows if she follows her own advice, she'll be getting back up on her horse, ready for Vegas again.
“Try really, really, really, really hard,” she said.
She has a competition coming up in February in Guthrie that would qualify her for the Junior World Finals in Vegas for this year.