Innisfail woman to compete in Project Cowboy

An Innisfail woman is vying to be picked as the best cowgirl as part of Project Cowboy, being held Oct. 8t to 10 in Fort Worth, Tex.

Adrienne Herron

Adrienne Herron

An Innisfail woman is vying to be picked as the best cowgirl as part of Project Cowboy, being held Oct. 8 to 10 in Fort Worth, Tex.

Adrienne Herron, 28, will be one of around 180 people from Canada, the U.S. and as far away as Australia competing for the title of “the Great American Horseman.”

The winner will receive $10,000, a Martin trophy saddle, a Gist trophy buckle and an invitation to appear at the 2011 Road to the Horse Legends World Championship event and the 2011 Extreme Mustang Makeover events as a clinician.

Herron has lived on a quarter section east of Innisfail for the past decade, but grew up in Fort St. John, B.C. She comes from a family of horsemen on her mother’s side, which ranched in the Chilcotin area in the central interior plateau of B.C. Her grandfather worked on the Douglas Lake Ranch and the Gang Lake Ranch.

Herron’s mother rode until she was eight months pregnant with her. “I always tell people I’ve been riding since before I was born,” Herron said.

As a youngster, Herron rode horses and was involved in 4-H, horse showing and trail riding. She eventually did a master’s degree in animal behaviour and welfare at the University of Alberta and now does custom grazing, as well as training quarter horses, Appaloosas and half-Arabian horses with her husband.

“I like to do this. It’s hard to describe other than it speaks to my soul, being involved with the horses and the land is a calling I find,” Herron said. “It’s not work, it’s joy to do the stewardship and the animal husbandry.”

During the event the competition gets progressively more difficult, testing not only the cowboys’ and cowgirls’ horsemanship skills, but also their media savvy and on-camera personality. Herron said it starts with basic horsemanship moves to the addition of obstacles and eventually at higher levels of the competition contact with an unstarted yearling.

Herron found out about the competition in one of the magazines she subscribes to, applied and found out in mid-September that she was chosen to compete. She is the only woman competitor out of Alberta, but a cowboy from Calgary will also take part in the competition, and a family of ranchers from B.C.

“I’m very excited to represent Alberta,” Herron said. “We raise them and ride them just as good as they do down there.”

The Project Cowboy event is jointly being produced by Tootie Bland Productions and Patti Colbert Enterprises. More information on the event is available at www.projectcowboy.net.

sobrien@bprda.wpengine.com