From an early age, Dripping Springs native Krystal Kotzur always knew she’d fall into the rodeo lifestyle.
Born into a rodeo family, Kotzur’s life in the arena began at the tender age of three.
“I kind of fell into it,” Kotzur said. “My grandfather rodeo’d and competed and trained horses. My dad was a competitor. My mom ran barrels. So I’ve been on a horse since before I could sit up.”
Ever since then, Kotzur has followed in her family’s footsteps, making her way through the rodeo circuit and competing as much as she can.
During last weekend’s Dripping Springs Fair and Rodeo, Kotzur, a former professional barrel racer, and her horse, “Boyfriend,” finished just outside of the top six with a time of 17.9 seconds.
While disappointed in their time, Kotzur believes the experience is one of the initial steps she’s taking to get back into the professional scene.
Breaking into the rodeo scene
Kotzur followed her passion of barrel racing and pursued a professional career with her horse “Jonetta Fane” in 2007. They traveled around the United States for competitions for most of that year before breaking through professionally in 2008.
“It kind of gets into your blood and you get addicted to it,” Kotzur said about barrel racing. “It’s an adrenaline rush.”
They reached their peak in December 2008 when they won a race in Las Vegas and became the number three ranked barrel racer in the world. Unfortunately, Fane suffered an injury in that same race, which ended the animal’s career as she had to be retired from the sport in March 2009.
Kotzur quit professionally riding in 2009 after Fane’s injury, but she kept her focus on the future as she bred two of her trained Meyer horses. One of their babies, Boyfriend, is now being trained by Kotzur to compete in barrel racing events.
“For me it’s to finally riding the babies I have bred from my horses that I had trained and was competing at a professional level,” Kotzur said about her motivation to ride again. “To have those horses start out as babies, and I train them up to being a competitor, and watching them at each stage in their training and lifestyle.”
Eyeing a return to the ring
Kotzur plans to rise again to the professional ranks, but this time with Boyfriend weaving in between and around the barrels. A hurdle in the way of reaching that goal is to get Boyfriend comfortable competing in front of rodeo crowds.
During the Dripping Springs Rodeo, Kotzur said Boyfriend was still getting his feet wet in front of crowds as it was only his third event. While he went and did his job, Boyfriend “just didn’t have fire and have the drive” he normally does
“They really have to build their confidence which is what I’m doing with this particular horse now,” said Kotzur. “And they’ve got to go and they’ve got to see it and get over their stage fright, basically.”
Kotzur has her eyes set on the upcoming Cedar Park and La Grange rodeos this fall to give Boyfriend more experience in the pen. Kotzur likes the tough competition that the Texas rodeos bring, as she believes it will only make her and Boyfriend stronger in the long run.
“I like the competitive edge,” Kotzur said. “I like going up against the best of the best because if I can compete with them, then I am right there with them. And I know where I’m at and where I need to train and be to get there too. That’s the fun part.”