Days of '47 Rodeo: Neola grandmother still riding like a daredevil
Nancy Hunter says she never tires of barrel-racing thrill
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
WEST VALLEY CITY — Hallie Hunter's grandmother doesn't look like a daredevil, but she sure does act like one.
The 54-year-old registered nurse, devoted wife, mother of four and grandmother of two, admits with a grin that she is a bit of a risk taker.
"I think it's an addiction," said the Neola barrel racer who earned a time of 14.85 on her young horse Bossman, who was running in just his fifth rodeo Saturday night at the Days of '47 Rodeo. "It's kind of like a runner's high … I've always said I'm an adrenaline junkie."
Originally from Lehi, Nancy Hunter met her husband, Fred, when they were in high school. She was impressed with his vehicle right out of the gate.
"We met in high school, and I started dating him because he had a nice truck and trailer," she said, grinning in her husband's direction. "He took me to the high school finals where I competed in barrels, pole bending and goat tying."
And maybe more importantly, he let her ride his roping horse in two of those events. He's been helping her find the right horse — and giving her rides — ever since.
"I'm very spoiled," she said with another big grin.
Nancy Hunter doesn't aspire to do anything but go fast and enjoy the horses that she and her husband train. Fred trained her main barrel horse, Fuzz, who is now 12.
"He's won the Wilderness Circuit three times," she said, admitting she loves to brag about her husband and her horses. "He ran at Spanish Fork last night, so we just pick and choose. We take him where he wants to run. … I've had someone offer me a blank check for him. I've been offered six figures."
She doesn't sell because she's loyal to the horse that helps her feed that addiction so successfully.
"He doesn't owe me anything," she said. "When he's done, we have a geriatric pasture for him."
Hunter spent enough time on the road competing with her husband when they were young. Once they started having children, however, the couple decided to limit their competitions to weekends.
Fred started to get requests to train cutting horses, which he did so well, he's made a career out of it. Nearly four decades later, he trains barrel horses, teaches clinics and sells specialized bits in Neola. (www.fredhunteronline.com)
The couple lived in various places, including Texas and all over Utah. Their oldest son, Josh, lives near them in Neola, and they said all four boys earned college scholarships through the sport of rodeo.
"It was a family thing for us," she said. "The kids came first, and they just liked doing it. Instead of going boating, we went to rodeos. They learned to compete, to be good sportsmen, and they never got in trouble because they were cleaning stalls every night. We all enjoyed it, and we're a very close family because of it."
Nancy knows she's older than most of the barrel racers, but no one is enjoying the ride any more than she does.
"When I'm too afraid to ride down the alley way, I'll quit," she said. "Right now I can't go fast enough."
In the other events Saturday night:
In saddle bronc riding Jake Wright, Milford, and Dustin Flundra, Alberta, Canada, tied for the night's highest score of 80 points; in steer wrestling Jacob Shofner, Texas, earned the fastest time of 6.1 seconds; in tie down roping, Rhen Richard, Roosevelt, had the quickest time with 8.4 seconds; in bareback riding Orin Larsen, Idaho, earned 76 points; in team roping, Speed Williams and Coleman Proctor had the fastest time with six seconds; Nicole Yost was the quickest barrel racer with a time of 14.32 seconds; Cole Echols scored the night's highest score in bull riding with 86 points. That ties him for the overall lead.
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