Lockhart, Williams Share Same Rodeo Path
By JOE KUSEK
June 23, 2022
In February of 1991, Lisa Schillinger of Circle won the all-around cowgirl title for the Northern Women’s Rodeo Association.
One month later, Cadee Tew was born. She too would win an all-around cowgirl championship, hers coming 2002.
Two talented cowgirls from two different generations.
And sharing so many similarities.
Both married talented tie-down ropers. Schillinger tied the knot with Grady Lockhart, the 1996 Badlands Circuit champion. They have three children – Alyssa, Thane and Cade – all who will be in college this fall.
Tew, who grew up in Belgrade, joined together with Landon Williams, the 2013 tie-down roping champion for the Northern Rodeo Association. Their two young children – Honor and Wyatt – can often be found hanging on the arena fence, watching their favorite ropers.
Both Lockhart and Williams are outstanding in their events.
Lockhart, now living Oelrichs, South Dakota, is a 15-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier and has won the most money in barrel racing at the NFR. She ranks second in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association for career earnings and could surpass the $3 million mark sometime later this season.
She has competed at the NFR aboard six different horses.
Williams won the first of three consecutive NWRA barrel racing titles in 2000 at the age of nine. She would add a breakaway roping year-end championship in 2009.
That same year, she was the national high school breakaway roping champion.
This past January, Williams traveled from her home in Weatherford, Texas to win the breakaway roping title at the Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit Finals in Great Falls.
So different, yet so same.
Both started their rodeo journey in the NWRA.
“Oh my gosh, it elevated things to another level,” said Lockhart. “There is no substitute for experience. It was a huge deal for me to have competed in the NWRA.”
Lockhart began in the junior events, tagging along with older sister Angie (Lockwood) also a barrel racer. Angie Lockwood is also the mother to Jess Lockwood, the two-time Professional Bull Riders world champion and two-time Northern Rodeo Association champion.
Lockhart returned the favor, traveling and mentoring her niece Teresa Wolff at NWRA rodeos.
“I learned how to be a competitor. To always be moving forward,” Lockhart said. “It was a great stepping-stone to the level of where I am now.”
And Lockhart has vivid memories of competing at the Finals, held then at First Interstate Arena in Billings.
“The whole concept, of being in the building for the Finals,” she recalled. “Going through the turns and hearing the dirt bounce off the fences. I remember it so well.
“The NRA has always been a great association. There is great money and a very well run organization by people who knew rodeo. The NRA is all part of the process … for the horses and the people.”
Williams can attest to that.
A few summers ago, she and her family made their annual trip to Montana. She used the NWRA events to season a young horse, Dropit Likeitz Hott, better known as Scandal.
Now Williams and her prized bay mare are in the top 10 of the WPRA world standings and chasing their first trip to the National Finals Breakaway Roping in Las Vegas.
“The NRA is still the very best foundation,” Williams said. “Great rodeos, fun crowds.”
Williams competed in the NWRA from 1999 to 2009, balancing between adult and junior events. She is one of only three cowgirls to win three consecutive barrel racing titles.
“I definitely remember riding Feathers,” she said of the sorrel mare she rode. “I remember it so well. I was pretty little. She was like an ATM. You rode her, you won. She took care of me.
“That horse was very special to us.”
She won her first NWRA breakaway check in Boulder. “I was so excited,” Williams said. “Little things like that give you a surge of confidence. Cool memories.”
The NWRA provided her the rodeo education needed as she climbed the competitive ranks.
“You learn how to handle different scenarios,” said Williams. “You learn to catch in high-pressure situations. You learn to block all the rest out and go do your job.”
Breakaway roping is the fastest-growing event in the WPRA after being approved to be held in conjunction with PRCA rodeos.
The NWRA has been crowning a breakaway roping champion since 1976.
“The NWRA had to have been a huge help,” Williams said. “Transitioning to the WPRA was not a big deal. For sure, 100 percent, the NWRA had an impact on my career.”
She and her family plan to be back in Montana on July 1 to visit family and compete.
“I love Montana. I still wish I had my Montana address,” said Williams. “I would love to have my children come back and compete in the NRA.”
With the postponement of the Upper Yellowstone Roundup in Gardiner because of flooding and road damage, all eyes were on the Wilsall Rodeo for the Mountain Health Co-op Tour.
And Wilsall did not disappoint.
Three former champions earned first place checks.
Tyler Houle won the steer wrestling, while Trevin Baumann did the same in tie-down roping. Multi-time former champion Tammy Jo Carpenter was the winner in the barrel racing.
Tanner Theriault was the high money winner with a victory in the bull riding. Miles City cowgirl Harley Meged won the tightly-bunched breakaway roping in 2.4 seconds. Only a half-second separated the top six, all under three seconds.
Other Wilsall winners were: Spur Owens, bareback; Tanner Hollenback, saddle bronc; Dillon Johnson and Gavin Beattie, team roping; Tammy Jo Carpenter, barrel racing; Chaleee Harms; Trevor Kay, rookie bareback; Carson Klingler, rookie saddle bronc; Mesa Radue, junior barrel racing; Brooke Billingsley, junior breakaway roping.
The Mountain Health Co-Op tour cranks up the competitive heat this weekend with rodeos scheduled for Polson (Friday-Saturday), Big Timber (Friday-Saturday) and Opheim (Sunday).
Performances for Big Timber will be 7 p.m. on Friday and 6 p.m. on Saturday. In 2020, former world champion Ty Erickson won the steer wrestling in 3.2 seconds, believed to be the fastest time ever in Montana at any level.
Polson will go at 7 p.m. both nights while Opheim has a 2 p.m. performance.
The debut of the Hell’s A-Roarin’ Guts N Glory Rodeo in Jardine has been postponed because of flooding and road damage in the area. The newest member of the Mountain Health Co-Op Tour was scheduled for rodeos on Thursday and Friday.