Heading into the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) ranked as number five in the world, Marana’s Sherry Cervi, 37, said she discovered her love for barrel racing at a young age.

Being around her parents who participated in the rodeo, Cervi quickly found herself on a horse and riding in competitions around the age of 7. She rode in multiple events such as roping, tying goats and barrel racing.

Cervi became a part of the high school rodeo team while attending Marana High School.

After high school she continued to compete and made it to her first NFR in 1994. The next year, she became the world champion of barrel racing and won in 1999 and 2010 as well.

Throughout the year Cervi competes locally in Marana and in out-of-state competitions. Most of the time she competes against the same people and then ends up seeing them at nationals. She has traveled as far north as Canada and has competed mostly west of Mississippi. This year is the 15th time that Cervi has made it to the finals.

“I am very fortunate to be competing here,” said Cervi. “Even though this is not the rodeo I would have wanted.” Cervi has made $37,000 so far, which she said is not that bad. One year she made $45,000, but said the amount of money varies from year to year.

Although this competition wasn’t her strongest, Cervi said being a part of the rodeo is a lifestyle and one that she continues to enjoy.

“This is how I’ve made a living for 20 plus years,” said Cervi. “It’s nice getting the prize money and you get to travel and see a lot of cool places.”

After the 2012 NFR final results were released, Cervi finished eighth in the world standings.

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