Steve Marshall became a proud sponsor in 2023
Celine Dodd, who has been riding since she was six. At age 12 she started competing in Jumping but later quit at age 17 due to an injury after crashing face-first into a jump. Today she is a barrel racer and very active on the race circuit.
“Of course, even after that, I still rode and was active in the community. It was rodeos and that adrenaline draw that first made me want to barrel race competitively. I was watching the barrel racing and thought, ‘Now this looks like fun.’ I have been Barrel Racing for roughly ten years.”
Born and raised on the Island Celine grew up near Parksville and Qualicum and now lives in Coombs with her husband, Jack, and their daughter, Casey.
“It’s a great community and I know all my neighbours. Many have horses and are competing in horse events, so you end up knowing everyone. That is especially important as the sport has very special challenges. The horses have such personalities and they give you everything. However, there are lots of ups and downs. I recently lost my horse, Player. He was having health issues and we did everything we could but, in the end, we discovered he had been fighting bone cancer. It’s something that cannot always be easily diagnosed in horses, but we worked and fought together through it all. The loss I feel is the same as when I have lost family members. It was my plan to race Player this season, but now I’m back riding my other horse, Blackjack. Blackjack is such an amazing horse and I’m so thankful to have him here to pick up the pieces and to help me keep chasing my dreams!”
What do you think is your biggest opportunity this season?
“This summer we’ll be heading to the Big Bang for one of the biggest barrel races in Canada. It has insane prizes and added money and over 700 competitors raced last year. I’ve never stepped out of my comfort zone that much before and competed in such a big event so it’ll be really cool to try and accomplish that.”
Do you compete in any other rodeo sports?
“Women’s breakaway roping is kind of a secret dream I have. It’s a rapidly growing event that I hope to someday try out. But for now, I just chase cans!”
What do you do outside of racing?
Celine Laughs, “There is really nothing much outside of racing, only my family.”
It’s obvious that racing is a big passion for you.
“Yes, I am very passionate about what I do. I am out in the yard till nine forgetting to eat dinner, riding, swinging the rope or taking care of all the chores that come with horses. It’s not normal but it is. I have a saying for it all, ‘Cowgirl Chaos.’ You just do it; you don’t have another option, because you love it so much and I never second guess all the energy put into it even if at times it’s super chaotic.”
On top of all this, you still have your family and work life.
“I am one of the more outgoing riders on social media and I encourage other riders that I meet to share their passion on social platforms. It’s great for inspiring others and building the community. When I go to events, I often meet people for the first time in person, but I have already got to know them through social media. So, I love to encourage and help others build their platforms.”
“I think this is important not just for the riders, but the whole sport of barrel racing. It’s so important for us to support one another, even though we are about to saddle up and compete. It’s such a great sport to see grow and evolve and I can only hope to have some sort of impact on that.”
With a tough sport like barrel riding that would be important.
“It is, and I really experienced that in the last couple of years while racing Player. There were some really tough goes and it was the people who told me to keep my head up that made me keep trying until we finally started to have the runs I always knew he was capable of. It’s that type of encouragement and support that you need. Barrel racing is a difficult mental and physical sport that takes a lot of time, discipline, and control, and when you are having challenges with your horse it magnifies all that.”
“For anyone outside the racing community, I think it would be hard to understand and relate to, and that’s why I am so passionate about barrel racing and growing the community around it.”