BILLINGS — Should Lindsay Kruse ever decide to stop barrel racing, which is very unlikely, she has other career options.
The 30-year-old barrel racer from Winston spent her summer hauling her three young children — Paisley, Kree and Harlow — to rodeos around the state along with handling the entering for her husband Jesse, who was pursuing another trip to the National Finals Rodeo. Jesse Kruse is the 2009 saddle bronc world champion.
“Pure chaos,” Kruse said. She was also quick to credit her mother Jolyn Karp and friend Carol Wayland for helping and allowing Kruse to compete in barrel racing.
Paisley is eight, “And as tall as her father and I,” said the mother with a big laugh, while Kree is four and Harlow one.
Jesse Kruse finished 26th in the final world standings.
Things were a bit calmer Saturday night as both Lindsay and Jesse Kruse competed in the last performance of the PRCA NILE Rodeo at First Interstate Arena at MetraPark.
For Lindsay Kruse, it was a completely different scenario from when she raced last year.
She was pregnant with Harlow most of 2018, welcoming her second daughter in early October.
“I had to sit and watch my husband go ride,” Kruse said. “It was hard. I was craving it.”
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Just a few weeks after Harlow’s arrival, Kruse was back in the saddle to compete at the NILE. “I started riding again five days after I had her,” she said. “I knew I had to get on my horse and see what she could do. Mom kept her sharp.”
Despite the hectic summer, “It was an insane year,” Kruse said, she managed to cash checks at 21 WPRA rodeos in Montana, winning four.
Kruse won $21,781 to easily lead the 2019 Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit standings. Next is Margaret Polonic of Gillette, Wyoming, with $12,965. Jesse Kruse is second in the MPRC saddle bronc standings.
“I had fun this year,” said Kruse. “My goal coming in was to make the circuit finals.”
Kruse has been riding Cover Girl, a horse she purchased two years ago.
“She’s pretty easy going,” said the barrel racer. “When I first bought her, she didn’t have much experience. One thing about Cover Girl, she is very consistent. If we didn’t win, we placed well. And that’s my main concern, consistency.”
The pair had 17 top-five finishes, including wins at Augusta, Chinook, Shelby and Cascade. She placed fourth at Baker for $2,133 and earned another $1,372 at Red Lodge for tying for fifth place against world-class competition.
Kruse also entered four rodeos for the Northern Women’s Rodeo Association — Conrad, Gardiner, Wilsall and Hamilton — winning all four. She will be competing at the Northern Rodeo Association/NWRA Finals later this week in Kalispell.
Kruse is already mapping out her rodeo plans for 2020.
“Try to win enough and get qualified for the winter rodeos in January and February,” she said. “We have a game plan. We’ll enter some winter rodeos and see how it goes. If it goes well, we’ll keep going.”