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Avari Johnson lives for barrel racing

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“Avari Johnson, just like every other barrel racer, loves the moment in the alleyway when she has 1200 pounds of muscle dancing beneath her ready to give it all,” explained CIHS Math Teacher/riding enthusiast Tara Rafftery.
Avari competes in barrel racing both at rodeos and horseshows. For rodeo, the rules are to avoid knocking the barrels over, or 5-seconds is added to your time. The fastest time wins the most money.
So how big a part of Avari’s life are horses? “I have two horses right now, but I’m looking for a third. My first horse is a Paint named Sarge, he is 18. Then I have a five-year-old Thoroughbred named Smallz,” she explained. “I first started riding when I was little and first rode competitively when I was 10.”

Avari rounding the barrel.

“She works hard every day to make sure her horses are in top shape and well cared for,” Mrs. Rafftery added. “The same dedication she has towards her horses, she also applies to her school work and sports.”
What’s the difference between a horseshow and a rodeo? Avari explained that horseshows could be gaming, showing halter horses or even English, which is jumping and dressage. “Rodeo is under lights with many people at the event to specifically watch bulls, broncs, ropers, steer wrestlers and barrel racers.”
Nationally many schools have rodeo teams, but CIHS isn’t one of them. “We don’t have a lot of rodeo people in our school,” Avari said.
Avari isn’t sure how much she spends on barrel racing annually but she admitted it’s probably too much. As far as travel, she puts in many miles every year.
“So far I haven’t got to travel to many other states but when I get my pro card (which she plans to do when she turns 18) then I plan to do rodeos in other states. I may be going down to Oklahoma this year for one.”
What does the future hold for this equine superstar? She plans on training horses and getting a pro card which will open up all kinds of opportunities for her.
Avari explained what a Rough Stock rodeo is mainly just Bronc riding and Bull riding, no ropers or steer wrestlers. These are the types of rodeo one will see if they go to the World’s Toughest Rodeo at the Excel Energy Center. Typically women don’t compete in Rough Stock because they are competing in barrel racing and roping events. Two of Avari’s favorite barrel racers are Sherri Cervi and Lisa Lockhart.

Avari stops to pet Jake.

“I believe that caring for livestock teaches young people how to respect life, work hard, and stay committed to a goal and that is exactly what it has done for Avari,” Mrs. Rafftery explained.

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Avari Johnson lives for barrel racing