This four-time world champion barrel racer is your 2023 Women of the West award recipient.
Western Horseman: How important is it for women to have other women to look up to?
Sherry Cervi: I think it’s cool that there [have] been some pretty influential women that have paved the way to get where we are today in the Western industry, and I look up to those women. They went through some trials that, you know, we could not even imagine, and I think down the road — the younger generation coming up — they can see that their struggles are real, but it is doable.
Western Horseman: Do you have any advice for young women trying to reach the next level, no matter what discipline?
Sherry Cervi: For a younger person that is trying to accomplish goals, no matter what discipline that you’re trying for, [the key] is to not let the outside negativity come in. That’s hard [sometimes] to … stay focused in the arena with your horses, but you gotta be mentally strong and stay positive. Surround yourself with positive people and people that are for you, want the best for you, and help you.
Western Horseman: What do you think is the biggest misconception for people in rodeo, and barrel racing specifically, that you want to debunk?
Sherry Cervi: I think if there’s any misconception about rodeo or barrel racing, [it] is that the bond between a girl and [her] horse — [it] is unbelievable. That’s what I love about being a barrel racer, besides the competition, is the bond that I’ve had with the horses in my career. Some of them may not have been tough enough to get me to the [Wrangler® National Finals Rodeo], but I had a bond with them, and I will forever truly be grateful for that bond.