Photo by Bearden Photography
BY CAITLIN RICHARDS
The young lady setting the cloverleaf pattern at the 91st Texas Cowboy Reunion will be Samantha Wilson. As the 90th TCR Sponsor, Samantha will represent the TCR by welcoming the barrel racers, riding in the Grand Parade and hosting a meal for the slack barrel racers alongside the TCR Hostess Cindy Ford.
As the daughter of Cody and Leah Wilson and granddaughter of Wilbur and Annette Wilson, Samantha has deep roots in Stamford. Samantha was born and raised in Abilene, but spent many summers in Stamford with her grandparents and never missed the TCR. The Wilson’s have competed in the TCR Chuckwagon Cookoff for over 20 years together as a family.
Each year at the TCR, Samantha would make sure she was back in her seat to watch the Sponsor set the cloverleaf pattern for the barrel racers. She remembers watching in admiration as the Sponsor and her horse would gallop gracefully around each barrel. Samantha always dreamed she would be able to set the pattern one day.
Samantha’s day is just on the horizon. She and her horse, Cisco, will be setting the pattern every night for the 91st TCR, but as the Sponsor she will not be able to compete. Samantha’s love for horses started as a young girl and she got her first horse when she was eight years old. It was then she started to ride barrels and learn the sport.
While in junior high, Samantha became active in a dancing drill team her mom started in the Wylie Independent School District. She was active in the drill team from sixth grade until her sophomore year in high school. She then served as an athletic trainer her junior and senior year.
After graduating from Wylie in 2019, Samantha decided to get back to her first love of horses and barrel racing. She set out to find her trustful companion and found Cisco in Inola, Oklahoma. As soon as Samantha laid eyes on her, she knew she found her horse.
The bay Quarter Horse cross 17-year-old mare stands at 14.3 hands tall and is named after the lead character’s horse in Samantha’s favorite movie “Dances with Wolves.” The bond between Cisco and Samantha is evident and will be exciting to watch at the TCR. Samantha credits Cisco for helping her build her confidence as a rider and in herself.
It will be a special year for Samantha with a lifelong dream coming true. She is proud to be able to represent the TCR and all it stands for. The TCR feels like a family to Samantha and with the TCR’s deep history she is honored to be a part of it.
Samantha’s grandmother Annette served as the Hostess in 2002 and Samantha is ecstatic to be a part of representing the TCR in a similar way as her grandmother did. It is extra special that Samantha will be serving alongside Hostess Cindy Ford because Cindy’s daughter, now Tara Rollins, served as the Sponsor alongside Annette.
Currently, Samantha is living in Abilene with her maternal grandparents Jason and Gwen Barrett and working on her barrel racing career. Samantha is the middle child of three siblings. She has an older brother, Wyatt, and a twin sister, Kyleigh. Samantha loves her family and friends with all that she is. It will be a special year as she pours out that love for the 91st TCR.