Riding as Boise State’s sole representative at the 2021 College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyoming, junior Tea Recanzone competed in barrel racing against the best college riders in the country. Barrel racing is a timed event in which a horse and rider run a tight cloverleaf pattern around three set barrels. Recanzone placed 13th in the nation. The feat would have been impossible, she said, without her horse, a former racehorse named Fizz who’s been her partner for the past six years.
“I feel like horses know your character,” Recanzone said. “When I’m waiting to compete, I get so nervous that I shake. I can feel Fizz’s heartbeat on my leg. And he’ll turn and look at me. He’ll hit my foot with his nose.”
What does it take to be a good barrel racer? Patience and kindness, according to Recanzone.
“Yes, the sport is about horsepower, but if you put the wrong person on a horse, the horse won’t respond,” she said. “You have to take time to connect.”
A Spanish secondary education major, Recanzone grew up in Burns, Oregon. Her grandfather started the family rodeo tradition by competing in roping events. Recanzone started riding as soon as she could sit on a horse by herself, and started barrel racing at 4.
She’s taking a break from competition in the fall of 2021 to study abroad in Spain, but looks forward to returning to the collegiate national competition in 2022, and one day riding as a professional in the National Rodeo Finals.
Recanzone has other goals: following the example of her dad Mario and becoming a high school Spanish teacher, and carrying the Boise State flag into Albertsons Stadium on horseback as the official Bronco Girl.