The Real Legacy

Sherry Cervi is on the Mount Rushmore of Barrel Racers. She has won four World Championships on three different horses.

She has qualified for an amazing nineteen National Finals Rodeos. She is the only three million dollar winner in the sport. And yet, with all of these accolades, Sherry’s real legacy goes beyond her personal accomplishments.

The Sherry Cervi Youth Championship was held this weekend in Tucson, Arizona. Nearly four hundred girls and their horses competed over the two day event. Saturday started with the girls entering the arena behind each of their state flags. At this event, there were fourteen different states and three Canadian Provinces represented. Sherry spoke on the microphone and offered words of encouragement. The action was ready to begin. 

The atmosphere inside the Pima County Fairgrounds indoor facility was unlike any other barrel race these young girls can attend. The joy could literally be seen on the young girl’s faces as many of them ran to the first barrel with a smile. People in the crowd cheered for good runs and let out the unified “aww” for a tipped barrel. Girls walked around the many booths set up inside the facility and stopped by for their picture with Sherry. The smiles on many of the girls’ faces were priceless as they walked back to their parents having just met their idol. 

What does any of this have to do with Sherry’s legacy? Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” The rodeo world is an ever changing world. There is a new crop of barrel racers at the National Finals Rodeo every year. Most of the barrel racers’ time in the spotlight is the duration of the great horse they were lucky enough to come upon. The great horses that belonged to Sherry, such as Hawk and Troubles, have now been replaced in this generation’s mind by Stingray and Arson. There will inevitably come a time when these horses will be replaced in people’s minds by the ones they see run at that year’s National Finals Rodeo. 

No matter how great of a barrel racer Sherry Cervi is, as Maya pointed out, people will forget. That is why the Sherry Cervi Youth Championships is Sherry’s real legacy. This weekend nearly four hundred young girls felt things inside the Pima County Fairgrounds that they will not forget. The excitement and nerves that were felt by many of the girls cannot be duplicated at the local, weekly barrel race. They are given a chance to compete for many different prizes, including saddles and scholarships, against girls from all over the country. And the best part is that they able to so in an atmosphere that is conducive for making memories that will last their lifetime. 

The Sherry Cervi Youth Championship is more than just a barrel race; it is an event. It is something for young girls to look forward to running at every year. There are currently three Sherry Cervi Youth Championship scheduled for this year. The final two will be held in May in Ceres, California and Verndale, Minnesota. Sherry hopes to add more events in the coming years. “I want every girl, who wants to, to have the opportunity to compete at one of our barrel races,” Sherry said with a smile.

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