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Monday, January 24, 2011

Cowgirl Laurie Shelton, EXTREME World Champion

Laurie Shelton ExCA 2010 World Champion
                                                                      Story by Roger Edison 

Laurie Shelton has had a lifelong experience with Horses and cattle. Growing up in the small town of Ben Bolt, Texas, fifty miles west of Corpus Christi, she began with her families deep roots in the area ranching and farming industries. Early on, she had the passion to become a leading veterinarian with a love for horses.

She participated in FFA and 4-H activities throughout school the moment she became age eligibility. Attending Ben Bolt - Palito Blanco High School, home of the fighting Badgers, Texas centers around the Friday Night Lights of Football while Laurie was competing in Rodeo's earning many awards including Texas Youth Rodeo Association State Championship in Senior Girls Division for Goat Tying. "Growing up I competed in all the Rodeo events, but enjoyed the roping events most," states Laurie.

After graduation from High School, Laurie headed off to Austin, Texas entering the prestigious private college of Saint Edwards University known for strong emphasizes on academics.  Laurie put competition aside for her academic studies graduating in 1998 with her Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology. 

The following year she married Denman Shelton. Laurie continued her education earning her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine graduating from Texas A&M with the class of 2003. Both Laurie and Husband Denman practice as veterinarians for mixed-animal medicine. Laurie first worked at Waller Equine Hospital, a booming referral hospital northwest of Houston. The caseload ranged from the routine to the truly bizarre and Laurie obtained invaluable experience in emergency equine medicine and surgery. 

She later moved opening Hilltop Equine Veterinary Services in Washington County near  Brenham, Texas. The services provided general preventive medicine  of  health exams, vaccinations, dentistry, lameness and minor surgery. Her mobile equine veterinary care utilized a full range of contemporary diagnostics, including radiography (X-ray), ultrasound, and endoscopy.  She also began entering several competitions with Ranch Horse Versatility and Reined Cow Horse events before moving to her current home in Dripping Springs, Texas.  

In 2009, Laurie was elected to the board of Directors with Stock Horse of Texas. She continue her equestrian competition ranking herself in 2010 participating in Stock Horse of Texas (4 event ranch versatility), AQHA Ranch Versatility and National Reined Cow Horse events. She also became involve with ExCA, the fast growing competitive Cowboy racing. She also competed in the October 2010 Project Cowboy against top rank horseman across the nation and Canada. 

Laurie succeeded as a finalist in the Top Ten where Mike Major earn the championship. Although, earlier in the year, Laurie competed in the  2010 AQHA Fort Dodge Versatility Ranch Horse World Championship Show.  Mike Major had taken an early lead riding Smart Whiskey Doc in the open, with a win in ranch riding event and a second in ranch trail event. Laurie proved her mastering of horsemanship skills taking first place wins in both Amateur Ranch Trail event and Amateur Ranch Riding event earning a higher score taking the All-Around AQHA Versatility Ranch Horse World Championship riding "A Real Chic Magnet."

Laurie Shelton AQHA
When asked about Project Cowboy, Laurie stated  "Project Cowboy was a really fun event. There were many great competitors and the format was pretty neat. It was similar in many ways to Extreme Cowboy Racing (ExCA) but Project Cowboy added another dimension to the competition. This area required riders to also engage the audience both live and behind the camera with their personality. Another neat thing was in the later rounds - they required us to work in teams, and then pulled us off our horses for colt work, and then put us on foreign horses and asked us to perform - pretty darn unique, and definitely a test of your ability to adapt and perform on the fly." 

Molly's Custom Silver
Laurie's successful competitions with ExCA throughout the year earned herself a qualifier seat to compete in the Extreme Cowboy Association 2010 World Championship held at the Kansas Expo Centre, Topeka Kansas last November.  The competition was a full house of highly qualified riders who came from across the United States and Canada. Divided into several age brackets, Extreme gives a great opportunity for youth to seniors, Novice and Professionals Cowboys the same opportunity to earn a Championship. Laurie competed in the Non-Pro Division earning the 2010 ExCA World Championship. 

When asked about her training routine and plans for the 2011 year, Laurie replied, "ExCA is an exciting event. Competitors have to ride outside the box of their comfort zone. Things like jumping, bareback riding and many unique obstacles require a lot of trust between horse and rider. It pushes the limits of your riding ability. I do not plan to change my training program much this year but will add more riding outside the pen along with introducing tough and scary obstacles to young horses, not just the horse I ride in ExCa."  

Admired by her peers, friends and fellow competitors. Laurie is an utmost likable woman that has earn the respect of others from inside the arena. The trail from the little girl with pigtails that dreamed about becoming a veterinarian, now holds not only her doctorate, yet several World Championships earning many credits and trophy buckles to her name. She currently ranks number one on the leader board with the American Stock Horse Association in Region One riding "A Real Chic Magnet."  Laurie Shelton has truly mastered the horse.

Laurie Shelton, Top Ten Competitors PROJECT COWBOY



  1. Nice story on Laurie ... she is truly a top notch cowgirl whom I admire greatly!!!

    Cindy Galow Lafferty
    Katy, Texas

  2. She is a wonderful example to those that do compete not to mention fun to be around!!
    Dorothy Wynne
    Sundance Horse Ranch

  3. I wondered how she was doing, I loved her when she was at Waller Eq. Great all around cowgirl for sure.

  4. Laurie and Denman are some of the best people in the world!