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Barrel racers excited as rodeo kicks off

For riders adrenaline rush a part of the rodeo experience

SAN ANTONIO – Thursday was the day rodeo fans have been waiting for, for about 12 months. It was opening day at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo.

While some people may like the carnival and the concerts, the competitions are the main attraction. There's bucking and racing at its finest.

Whether you're 9, 19 or 90, barrel racing is something that once you do it, you never quite shake.

"You have a little bit of nerves, but when you're done, it's such a great high (that) you have to go back and do it again," Kendra Johnson said.

Johnson has been barrel racing for only a few years, but she's hooked.

Others, like Larry Hammons' daughter, have only just begun a lifelong addiction. In fact, his dad is hoping she'll go professional.

"That's what we are hoping," Hammons said.

"At least you can't get hurt barrel racing," KSAT 12 News Ursula Pari said.

"I don't know about that. She's been bucked off," Hammons said. Pari said she has as well, but when offered to try it again, she's in. 

"The one thing is the relationship with the horse," Hammons said. "You have to be one with your horse and you have to be a team. There's that aspect of it, but you have to be a bit of an adrenaline junkie."

One woman who can attest to that is Callie Duperier. She's the new reigning world champion in barrels at just 22 years old.

"His saddle probably won't fit him, he's so fat," Duperier said of her horse.

Duperier and her buckskin Dylan brought home the world buckle in December. She said they hope to win now at home in the San Antonio Rodeo this month.

"It is an awesome rodeo," Duperier said. "I'd have to say it's one of my favorites."                                                                                                                                           

In fact, the San Antonio Rodeo is a bucket list item for a lot of cowgirls.