Tough Enough for Cheyenne

Reid Barker of Comfort, Texas is headed to his second CBR World Finals at Cheyenne Frontier Days. Dancing around not one, not two, but three major injuries during his Road to Cheyenne, Barker was only able to attend six CBR events during this season, but he made the most of those six and it paid off as he got the nod from the CBR and enters Cheyenne in the No. 21 position.

Appearing twice in the final four Shoot Out rounds, first at the season opener in Huron and then again a few months later in Mercedes, Barker built a strong foundation of points that would come in handy when injuries sacked him during the final portion of the CBR season.

Barker started strong last year riding Boogeyman (Clarkview) for 87.5 points and Spotted Warfare (JC Knapp) for 84 points in the first and semifinal rounds in Huron. He advanced to the final four where all four riders bucked off.

One month later he added 87.5 points to his total in Conroe and then finished 2015 riding two of three in Mercedes. He was ranked No. 13 in the CBR World Standings at the end of the first quarter of the season in October.

Barker, who had qualified for his second Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (2014, 2015) was sidelined during the event with a fractured left shoulder blade and a fractured rib when after a 74-point ride on Pete Carr’s Lonestar, the bull stepped on him during Round 3 on December 5. He would place third in the round and win $15,654 which was not enough for Barker.  

“I’m a no-go, I’m out,” said Barker, 23, who has a sling around his left arm. “I can’t move my arm. I’m pretty frustrated. I worked my butt off all year long to get here, and I wish things would’ve gone my way a little more (at the WNFR).”

“The whistle rang, and I just kind of let go, and I couldn’t jump off and get away from him because I was already underneath him,” Barker said. “I landed on the back of my neck and I rolled over to get up and the next thing I knew I was being stomped into the ground. Then, I couldn’t move so I rolled over to my right side and laid there until they pulled me out. I knew something was pretty wrong.”

Through Round 3 at the WNFR, Barker was 10th in the world standings with $89,501.

Reid missed the first events of the 2016 portion of the CBR Road to Cheyenne, but was released in time to ride in El Paso on February 5. He would not cover his first round bull and head to the pro rodeos before planning to attend the next CBR in Lufkin, Texas.

But just one week later, injury would strike again as Reid suffered a bruised left lower rib when he was bucked off at the San Antonio Rodeo on February 13.

“I don’t know if I got hurt when I was riding or when I got bucked off,” said Barker, 23. “I just leaned too far in on my left side and I got hurt. I’ve been putting ice packs on my ribs as much as possible to try and get healed up fast. I’m just taking things day-by-day.”

On March 19, the 5’8 160-pound bull rider known for his mental toughness, would demonstrate that trait when returning to one of the richest events, RodeoHouston, where he would battle his way into the top 4 and take home $17,333 from the ten days of grueling competition.

"It can take months, years to get over head injuries," Barker said. "I sat at home, getting madder and madder that I wasn't out here. I couldn't wait. I thought, “As soon as they let me go, I'm like a dog off its chain.”

He gained a few more points on the Road to Cheyenne in Salina, Texas before butting heads, literally, at a pro rodeo resulting in head and facial surgery. The most recent bump in the road has kept him at home until this week when he hits the road again in pursuit of the CBR World Finals and the NFR.

Barker who won several CBR Horizon events while qualifying for the televised tour competes in all divisions of professional bull riding.

After winning the Texas High School Bull Riding State Championship in 2011, Barker qualified for the National High School Finals Rodeo in 2011. But riding bulls was not the only thing on Barker’s mind.

Rushing for more than 1,000 yards and scoring 35 touchdowns in one season, Barker, the starting running back on his high school football team, received All-District honors and his team was a semi-finalist in Division I of Texas High School football.

Barker started riding sheep at age four and worked his way up to calves, steers and junior bulls. At age 14, his bull riding career took off as he won the Junior Wrangler National Finals Rodeo Bull Riding in the summer of 2006.


It’s All in the Family

Reid Barker is not the first in his family to compete in Cheyenne. Barker’s family is very familiar with the fun and excitement that is a big part of Cheyenne Frontier Days. His Dad, Tiger Barker, who rode with Tuff Hedeman and Lane Frost, competed in Cheyenne multiple times. His first cousin, CBR World Champion, Clayton Foltyn was the 2009 All Around Cowboy in Cheyenne and the first rough stock rider to win that title in the history of Cheyenne Frontier Days. Clayton continues to compete in Cheyenne and for many years he rode in both the rodeo and CBR World Finals. His bull riding uncle, Lane Foltyn has also bucked out of the chutes in Cheyenne and is a respected judge on the bull riding circuits today. Lane and Barker’s mother, Angie Foltyn Barker, are brother and sister.

Barker is married to Shelby Barker and they have one daughter, Tinley and reside in Comfort, Texas.