Homestate Barrel Racer Kristin Yde Looks to Make Her Mark at Tryon International Equestrian Center

By: Julia Dondero

This October, history will be written at the prestigious Tryon International Equestrian Center and Resort (Tryon International) in Mill Spring, North Carolina. Athletes from across the country will make their way to the foothills of the Blue Mountains with hopes of taking home a piece of the record-setting payout and the opportunity to compete at one of the country’s most prestigious equine facilities. 

While many are making the trek eastwards, one barrel racer will feel right at home, with fellow North Carolinians cheering her on through each turn. Kristin Yde, a North Carolina native, currently resides in Benson, NC, just four hours away from Tryon International. Yde, who has qualified for Rodeo Carolina through a strategic blend of barrel races and rodeos, will look to make her mark at the most prosperous rodeo to come to the East Coast. 

Photo Credit: Kristin Yde (KY Performance Horses)

Yde expressed her excitement for this event and its proximity, explaining, “It is so exciting to see the growth of rodeo everywhere, especially on the East Coast. It is exciting to watch history unfold at Tryon.”

Yde, who grew up riding English, jumped to Barrel Racing when she was 11 years old and hasn’t looked back since. Competing in everything from futurities to rodeos, Yde has over two decades of barrel racing experience and now owns her own training and clinician services, KY Performance Horses. 

“I love the sport because it is you and the horse against the time clock. Everyone cheers each other on, and I love seeing the next generation of barrel racers cheer each other on and grow,” said Yde. 

Yde, who will compete with her trusted equine partner, “Smokin’ Mack Frost,” better known as “Smack,” will look to add Rodeo Carolina to the duo’s long list of accomplishments. 

“I’ve had Smack for 15 years. I owe many of my accomplishments to him, and running him at Tryon will be so special,” explained Yde, who has had to return to her reliable mount after one of her best mounts sustained sidelining injuries. 

Photo Credit: Kristin Yde (KY Performance Horses)

As Yde looks to add Rodeo Carolina to her long list of accomplishments, she also expressed her gratitude and excitement for the future of the barrel racing industry. As a coach for several youth barrel racers, Yde has seen the potential and growth of the industry. 

“The WCRA and Division Youth Showcase have continued to grow the opportunities for future generations of barrel racers. As excited as I am to run at Rodeo Carolina, I am also excited to watch the talent of the [CEAT] Division Youth Showcase. The future of the sport looks bright, and it’s so exciting to see it in this region of the country,” said Yde.  


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