By: Kendra Santos
Whatever happened to Lindsay Sears? So many of us who watched the petite Canadian powerhouse make major waves in the barrel racing world on the backs of her wonder horses Martha and Moe a few years back wondered. The short answer is that the two-time champ of the world had her fill of pounding the pavement in search of gold buckles. She went to work in the family business, and all but left rodeo. The richest women’s rodeo in the history of the sport—this week’s $750,000 Women’s Rodeo World Championship at Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth, Texas—brought her back.
“Full-time rodeo is exhausting, and to be great at traditional rodeo it has to be your sole existence,” said Sears, who these days splits her time between her native Nanton, Alberta, and her second home in Ropesville, Texas, just out of Lubbock. “The fact that I don’t have to go rodeo all year and rodeo hard, but still have a shot at big money like this is what attracts me. You could do that with the futurities, but this didn’t exist in rodeo before the WCRA (World Champions Rodeo Alliance) came along.”
The Sears family has a cattle feeding business and a steel manufacturing business, 2W Livestock Equipment, which Lindsay oversees and helps manage.
“I quit rodeoing after the 2012 NFR (Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, which was her seventh Super Bowl of Rodeo),” Sears said. “I basically decided I was done rodeoing for a living. In recent times, I’ve only gone to a handful of rodeos. I still love rodeo, but with our family business, the deal was that I could rodeo a few years, then needed to go home and help. A deal’s a deal, and I love my life now, too.”
Sears is riding Sugar Moon Eclipse—a sweet, 11-year-old sorrel stallion she raised and trained that she affectionately calls “M”—here at the WRWC. M is out of the same mare as Lindsay’s once-in-a-lifetime dream ride, Martha, whose registered name is Sugar Moon Express.
“I’ve been waiting a long time for this horse (M) to be sound and healthy,” Lindsay said. “M had EPM as a young horse, has had to have two throat surgeries, and tore his stifle during one of the throat surgeries. Non-competition injuries have plagued him. My patience was wearing pretty thin.”
She’s played the equine waiting game before. Lindsay won her first world title in 2008 on the wings of her Pegasus pony, Martha.
“That first one was a Cinderella year for Martha and me,” said Sears, who also won reserve world barrel racing crowns in 2007 and 2009. “Martha was out 80 percent of the second year (when Lindsay won the world again in 2011). She stumbled on the second barrel in Round 9 at the 2010 NFR and blew her stifle. It was bad. It tore every ligament in Martha’s stifle, and put a hole in her patellar ligament. I rode Moe (his registered name is Ima Guy of Honor) most of the year in 2011. Martha and Moe are both retired now—Martha’s living it up in Texas, and Moe’s enjoying retired life up in Canada.”
Now—ready or not—here come Lindsay and M.
“Besides what’s going on here in the WCRA, rodeo is a 12-month-a-year proposition,” said the small but mighty former figure skater, volleyball and basketball player, who twice took Willow Creek Composite High School Athlete of the Year honors up in Claresholm, Alberta. “I’ve had enough of the road, so this is appealing with the way my life is now. With the WCRA, I can compete at the highest level without having to dedicate my whole life to rodeo. I appreciate the chance to be back. A lot.”