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'Busy being the best' | Mississippi barrel racer juggles work, riding lessons and championships

Southaven’s Kindyl Scruggs is a world class 'barrel racer,' a profession that allows her to travel all around the country and Canada competing in rodeos.

SOUTHHAVEN, Miss — This isn't Kindyl Scruggs' first rodeo—in fact she's lost count of how many barrel racing competitions she has won. In 2016 she even took home the world championship title from the International Professional Rodeo Association (IPRA).

“The last time I counted I had like 85 or 90 buckles,” Scruggs said. “I’ve got my world championship saddle from 2016 and I’ve got my intercollegiate saddle from 2013. Those were the two that were really, really big goals.”

Barrel racing is an event that often takes place at rodeos. Riders compete for the fastest times around barrels set in cloverleaf-esque patterns. For Scruggs, this sport is something that “escalated” quickly in her life as a priority after she was introduced to it.  

“I was two years old—my mom and dad asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I said a pony,” she said. “They bought me a pony.”

Not too far away from being a pony was the horse Scruggs rode to win that 2016 world championship. He has a registered name, but Scruggs calls him “Bull.”

“His registered name is Money Red Down Home,” Scruggs said. “He was five years old when he won the championship. That’s extremely young for a horse to do something like that. He is my favorite horse.”

Still, Bull is far from Scruggs’ only horse. Jack is a “stud pony” that Scruggs said is extremely talented.

“I have invested in pony mares—that would be mama ponies,” Scruggs said. “The mama that was bred to Jack had a baby probably two weeks ago. She’s very protective.”

In order to be a champion, Scruggs said it takes "very serious work ethic." 

“It takes a lot of passion, self drive and motivation because this is not a sport where you have a coach constantly," she said. "You have to be extremely self-motivated.”

In fact, Scruggs said she has a full-time job in addition to the work she does with her horses. 

“I get home in the afternoon and give riding lessons from 5:30 till whenever I get done—seven, eight, nine, 10 o’clock at night,” she said. “I’m very busy being the best that I can be.”