Russell Huffman | El Defensor Chieftain
Linda Dyson was outrunning barrel racers more than half her age on Saturday at the Socorro Rodeo and Sports Complex on her horse Jubal. While her horse is new to barrell racing, Dyson is not.

At 79 years old, Lemitar’s Linda Dyson was outrunning barrels racers more than half her age on Saturday at the Socorro Rodeo and Sports Complex during a New Mexico Barrel Racing Association event.

“I’ll be 80 in April,” Dyson said after completing her run on Jubal, a barrel horse she has been training for the past three years.

Training barrel horses has been a life-long passion she got into after marrying her husband Gene in 1963. When they got hitched, Gene was rodeoing on bareback broncs and having been around horses her whole life Dyson kind of just fell into the life.

“Gene was in the army at Fort Hood. Texas, and when he got out of the army, he wanted to stay down there where he could rodeo,” Dyson said.

Later, the couple would move to Roswell to help with the family ranch and raise a pair of boys. In 2007, life brought them to New Mexico.

Along the way, Dyson discovered she had talent and passion for training horses around the clover-leaf pattern. She’s quick to access her horse’s performance while viewing some photographs of her run.

“We were a little wide on the second barrel today,” Dyson said.

Jubal is new to barrel racing and won’t be for sale when Dyson is done training him.
“Right now, at this stage of the game, I’m going to keep him because he’s got such a nice mind. We ride the hills a lot. We go across into San Lorenzo Canyon and ride in the hills. Gene still rides with me up there. Jubal, he’s real good up there.”

As a long-time trainer, Dyson has seen many pitfalls when it comes to being involved in barrel racing, and when she advises someone new to the sport, she doesn’t talk about speed.

“Get an old solid horse. That’s the main thing. It might not be the fastest one, but you’ll be able to learn how to barrel race,” Dyson said.

Dyson goes to fewer barrel races than she used to, but she’s always ready to mount up when there’s a local event.

“I wish we had more local events around here because I enjoy coming out to them and seeing everyone out here. At my age, we don’t travel as much as we used to,” Dyson said.


Russell Huffman, El Defensor Chieftain Asst. Editor