The Greatest “Backyard” barrel horse ever…. SCAMPER!


If you are a barrel racing fan… or a girl dreaming of making the National Finals Rodeo.. you have to agree with me that the greatest barrel racing team ever… has to be Charmayne James and Scamper! I particularly love this story because Charmayne had her share of setbacks and bad news.. but just kept going… and this famous horse came from very humble “back yard” beginnings to being the most famous barrel horse EVER!

Charmayne started riding at a young age and by age 10 she was riding competitively… she purchased a high powered horse named Bordo and started winning higher level competitions … but tragically Bordo broke his leg and had to be euthanized. Charmayne knew she had to have another horse and set out searching for racehorse type bloodlines. When her dad suggested a plain bay gelding from the feedlot he operated… Charmayne agreed to try him. The gelding was not well liked by the feedlot cowboys… because he was cantankerous and was known to buck. Charmayne got on … and after a few bucks..she circled him around the barrels and became an instant team! She purchased him for $1200.00 and named the gelding Scamper because of the way he scampered around the barrels. After only 2 weeks of training she started entering in barrel races and winning. It seemed like heartbreak would again occur when Scamper was kicked in the hock by another horse. When the vet examined him, Charmayne was told that Scamper had splints, ringbone and enlarged hocks… and that he likely would not hold up… so she should look for another horse. Charmayne did not give up on him though.. his injury healed and she went back to competing and winning often times a full second faster than the competition.

Charmayne asked to start attending professional rodeos. Her dad asked her if she was going to try and make it to the NFR and she replied.. “NO… I am going to win the NFR!” In 1984 at the age of 14, she qualifed for her first NFR and did indeed win the title that year. The most famous run Scamper ever made was in 1985 when at the first barrel the bridle broke, but Scamper didn’t miss a beat and continued on clocking 14.4 to win the round! Check out that famous run below! The team then went on to qualify and win 10 NFR’s a record that has not even come close to being broken since. Scamper was retired in 1994 after winning over $1,000,000 in arena winnings. Not bad for a horse that was “not going to last!”

Charmayne went on to qualify for 6 more NFR’s on several different horses. in 2002 she qualified for her 19th NFR and won her 11th title on a horse named Cruiser she purchased for the bargain price of $ 2000.00. Charmayne is no doubt a great horsewoman and barrel horse trainer who has had some incredible back yard type horses excel at this sport….proof that with hard work and heart… you can acheive great things! To Read more about Charmayne James or to get her barrel racing training videos

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