Cathy Cagliari on rodeo trail |

Cathy Cagliari on rodeo trail

A lot has changed since Cathy Cagliari began to rodeo in the 1970s.

Results and checks are printed out on computers … cowboys and cowgirls carry cell phones … the competitors even go to the gym to work out …

Then again, some things never seem to change. There are still horses to ride … still lots of travel time on the road in a truck and trailer … the camaraderie and family atmosphere …

And Cagliari still enjoys her sport.

“It’s kind of addicting going to rodeos and competing,” Cagliari said after riding to fourth place in the barrel racing Sunday at the 49th Penn Valley Rodeo. “I did my first competition when I was 4 and I still enjoy it. I enjoy the adrenaline rush – especially when I’m winning.”

The Corning woman didn’t win this time, but there have been plenty of successes during her long and distinguished career. Among those are five California Cowboys Professional Rodeo Association championships, including the 2005 barrel racing title.

Sunday afternoon, she split third and fourth place with Nellie Williams of Cottonwood, both timed at 4.5 seconds. Later, Cagliari posted a time of 15.92 seconds to capture fourth place in barrels.

Not bad for a busy weekend in which she competed Friday in Hayward, then again Friday night in Redding. She was breaking in a new horse in the barrels, to boot.

“Both of my good horses are hurt and when you have two good horses, you tend not to get on the young one as much, so we’re still trying to get all the kinks worked out,” Cagliari said. “Today was just this colt’s fourth rodeo. We were a little long in Hayward and we didn’t do well in the mud in Redding, so to come out of there with a 15.9, I’m satisfied with that.

“It makes the road a lot longer when you don’t win something here and there,” she added. “You need to be in the money once in a while to keep going, especially with the way gas prices are now.”

Cagliari was the 1988 collegiate national all-around cowgirl and barrel racing champion for West Hills College (Coalinga). Before that, she qualified for the National High School Finals Rodeo in three different events (barrels, breakaway roping and pole bending) before she graduated from Fernley (Nev.) High School in 1985. She is a former Miss Reno Rodeo and Miss Rodeo Nevada.

This is a sport she literally grew up with at home since her mother, Wanda Cagliari of Fallon (Nev.), is a 10-time Senior Professional Rodeo all-around champion and twice competed in the National Finals Rodeo.

These days, Cagliari does more than ride to maintain her fitness and to maintain her level of competition.

“I find myself being more faithful to the gym,” she said, flashing a smile. “After all these years of riding barrel horses and rope horses, I find I stay a lot healthier when I’m faithful to gym.”

She obviously still enjoys the competition, not to mention the camaraderie and family-like atmosphere.

“There’s lots of people you don’t see all winter, then you see them and spend time with them all summer,” Cagliari said. “We always help each other out … it’s like being with your family … Actually, I think you spend more time on the road with your friends than you do with your family. It’s like having two families.”


To contact sports editor Dave Price, e-mail davidp@theunion .com or call 477-4240.

Calf roping: 1, Jesse Egan 9.2 seconds; 2, Billy Holland 9.8; 3, Rhett Kennedy and Mike George 9.9. Steer wrestling: 1, Rhett Kennedy 4.7 seconds; 2, Billy Holland 5.0; 3, Casey Minton 5.1; 4, Russell Cardoza 5.2. Breakaway roping: 1, Suzanne Montero 3.3 seconds; 2, Sarah McCullars 4.3; 3, Cathy Cagliari and Nellie Williams 4.5. Barrel racing: 1, Cathey Vallerga 15.40 seconds; 2, Alie Hamner 15.74; 3, Lori Anderson 15.81; 4, Cathy Cagliari 15.92; 5, Susie Gunter 15.95; 6, Nellie Williams 16.02; 7, Kaitlyn Wiggins 16.05; 8, Cyndi Fitzgerald 16.12. Team roping: 1, Wade Bunn-Allen Gill 5.9 seconds; 2, Daniel Green-Todd Hampton 6.0; 3, Justin Davis-Russell Cardoza 7.1; 4, Craig Harrison-Bill Harrison 9.6; 5, Wes Moore-Joseph Shawnego 11.2; 6, Steve McCarley-Cody Jones 13.2. Sadle bronc: 1, Roy Johnson 76 points; 2, Clay Harvey 70. Bareback riding: Alex Meroshnekoff 81.5 points; 2, George Gillespie 79; 3, Daniel Webb 77. Bull riding: 1, Keith Roquemore 88.5 points; 2, Matthew McKemy 74; 3, Clint Hunter 70; 4, Aaron Bassham 64.

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