Published 6/7/2012 in Beef Empire Days-Sports
By BRETT MARSHALL
There are days when Angie Meadors longs for staying at home, grilling steaks, corn and potatoes and hanging out with family and friends, even going to the lake for a bit of relaxation.
Brad Nading/Telegram Angie Meadors, Blanchard, Okla., turns her horse around a barrel Wednesday on a run in the Beef Empire Days PRCA Rodeo slack barrel racing at the Finney County Fairgrounds arena.
But then there the many other days where the fire that burns deep inside her soul is all consuming, as she battles the best barrel racers in the world on the Women's Professional Rodeo Association circuit.
It's a mixed blessing to Meadors, a 36-year-old single woman blessed with beauty, brains and talent. One might even consider her to be a cowgirl for all seasons. One could make a claim that she's rodeo's Cover Girl.
You'll find her coming out of the alley into the arena on a horse, competing for top honors as she's done the past two years at the National Finals Rodeo, placing among the top 10 in the world rankings.
You'll also find her at home in Blanchard, Okla., training futurity horses for high-stakes races in the South.
And you'll also find her at a photo shoot, autograph session and on the cover of western magazines.
That's what makes Angie Meadors tick and yet the well-known western lady doesn't have a favorite when taking in all the things that make up her busy lifestyle.
"I just kinda have to say I go with the flow and try to do the best I can in every aspect," Meadors said on Wedneday morning after competing in the barrel racing slack event at the Beef Empire Days Rodeo at the Fairgrounds Arena. "I'm very competitive, whether it's modeling or its on the road rodeoing. It's hard sometimes to fit it all in, but I guess I'd get bored if I wasn't doing this."
Young by social standards in her mid-30s, Meadors considers herself an "older" woman by the years of competing in barrels and in the modeling world.
Yet she remains popular and in demand.
After a 20-year modeling career with Wrangler jeans, Meadors signed in the spring of 2011 with Cowgirl Tuff, a relative newcomer to the western wear clothing business. In less than 10 years, the line of clothing is now selling nationwide and just a year ago introduced a men's line, B. Tuff Jeans.
"I'm just excited they still want me at my age," Meadors said with a big smile. "I'm kind of an old lady for the modeling now. I've been modeling since I was 14. I love their clothes. That's the main reason why I signed with them. The people there are amazing. They do so much for charity and just the reason behind Cowgirl Tuff is all a story in itself."
Meadors said the clothing provides her an avenue of flexibility, whether it is competing in the arena, going to a meeting, or just going out to socialize.
"I like clothes that you can wear out to the mall, or out to dinner, or to a nice meeting and can still go to the rodeo arena," Meadors said. "They offered me that style and that's why I really like their clothing."
The modeling provides a break from the rigors of rodeo competition and Meadors wouldn't have it any other way.
"I love my horses and I love my modeling," Meadors said of her varied career activities. "It gets you off the dirt, lets you dress up every now and then. It's fun. It helps pay the bills. At 36 years old, I'm blessed to have the things I do, have the people around me. I feel very fortunate."
Still, in the prime of her life, Meadors has never been married. She laughed when asked the question about still being single.
"Well, I've never been married, but I'm in a relationship of about three years with Kollin VonAhn," Meadors said. "He's a world champion team roper and it's great when you can go and travel together and do the same things. We understand each other's lifestyles. So, it's been a fun relationship. We know the ups and downs of the business and it's just nice to have somebody who knows what you're going through."
Successful at barrel racing since she was a teenager, Meadors took a break from the rigors of the rodeo circuit through much of the first decade of the 2000s. From 1990 to 1996, she was among the top 15 world ranked barrel racers. Then she decided it was time for a change.
"I kind of got burned out on the rodeo, being gone on the trail," Meadors said. "I went home, bought a place, fixed it up and got it going kind of the way I wanted. I've trained futurity horses all that time. I was basically still riding horses, but just not rodeoing and going for the NFR."
In 2008, things changed and once again Meadors found herself back on the road, competing against the best again — and winning.
"About three years ago I got a horse that I knew I could make the finals on," Meadors said. "After that, I tried to go on her, made the finals (2010) and last year was kind of the same thing. As long as I have a good horse underneath me, I'll go. It keeps the fire lit to keep going down the road."
Meadors, though, has seen the proverbial roller-coaster performance this year, having been forced into changing horses after a quick start to the 2012 season. Ranked fourth in February and March, she has seen her ranking drop to 17th. All because her previous horse's owner decided to take it back.
"I knew it could happen, it's something you deal with," Meadors said. "My new horse (a gray 7-year-old mare named Peeps) is struggling. She's brand new to this. Never ridden in an outdoor arena until two weeks ago. Right now I'm kinda disappointed (10th after day one). But you know, it all goes into the learning process of getting a horse seasoned that's never been to a rodeo."
Meadors said she plans to enter next week's barrel racing at Weatherford, Texas, and then will evaluate her summer schedule.
"We'll see how she does and if she shows any promise of winning, and being able to get in there and get some money, we'll be running in all the 4th of July races," Meadors said. "If not, I'll stay at home and ride colts this summer and try to get her (Peeps) finished out. If she acts like she's doing good, I'll go over the 4th and see how it goes."
Meadors said she would not place a timeline on an end point to her competitive career, but she would also know when that time would arrive.
"When I don't have that burning fire inside, and I can't be competitive, then it'll be time to go home, train my horses, enjoy life at home," Meadors said. "I pretty much grew up on horses, so no matter what my life looks like, horses will be part of it."
It's a life that has provided her with many, many memories.
"It would be difficult to pick any one part out of my life and say that's the best," Meadors said. "This has been pretty good to me. I've been very blessed. That's why I like doing so many different things. It's all part of me, who I am."
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