Written by Lacie Koford
Western Wasatch Contributor
Tonia Davis is a local barrel racer who is a member of the Turn Pro Jackpots Association and the Rocky Mountain Barrel Racing Association. Being a part of the two best local associations in Utah has been something Tonia is very proud of, and she feels lucky that they are both so close by. Both associations work hard to gain sponsorships from many local businesses and individuals so that those competing have the opportunity to win money and prizes each year. Tonia has been fortunate enough to win many of those prizes over her years being involved.
Originally from West Layton, Tonia moved to Plain City after high school and now lives in Warren with her husband Jeff, who is one of Tonia’s biggest supporters and encouragers. Starting when she was just young, she’s been around horses all her life and started competing more seriously in rodeos when she was in high school. She recalls both her grandfathers being involved with horses and sharing that love and passion with her. One grandfather trained American Saddlebred horses and her other grandfather raced chariot horses, so the western lifestyle was passed down from her grandfathers, to Tonia’s parents, then eventually to her. Tonia’s dad taught her everything she knows about horses, events, and rodeos. She relays that her dad oversees getting the young horses broke and handling well, then she takes them for barrel racing, one of her favorite events to compete in. She has many fond memories of working with various horses and remembers many nice horses that just really loved their job of working with Tonia and her family. Aside from working a full-time job during the day, Tonia is able to spend most of her evenings at her parent’s barn riding her horses with her dad and says that quite often, many nieces and nephews will join in on the run of riding.
Fond memories resonate with Tonia as she remembers some of her favorite wins over the years. She says that her most memorable win was winning a saddle in 2018 and having a ranch saddle made for her dad. She wanted to honor her father with this special gift because she says she would not be where she is today without the knowledge and support from both him and her mother. Tonia also won 6 saddles in 2019 on her two horses, Kings Misty Skye and Blue Pogonip Society. In addition to winning these saddles, Tonia was able to buy her PRCA card in 1997 and remembers going to the circuit finals for several years in a row. As part of this experience, she was able to qualify for the Dodge Circuit Finals back in 2003, an accomplishment she is very proud of. Outside of the prizes and awards, Tonia fondly remembers traveling with some great friends and having so many fun memories when they were on the rodeo trail. She still tries to hit a few open rodeos, meeting some of these friends along the way, and hopes to go to and compete in more rodeos this year.
An attribute that has carried Tonia throughout her years of competing and honing her skill is her incredible work ethic. Learning at a young age to make the best of what you have was a lesson she was able to implement into her personal life and rodeo life. She insists that you can only learn work ethic by putting in the hours and never giving up, despite what obstacles may surface. Tonia is very grateful for her family and knows that they are always there to support her and makes sure she always has someone to travel with. The support from her friends and family has been one of the strongest catalysts to Tonia continuing with her goals and dreams to become better at her sport.