After three back-to-back wins at her sport’s highest level, 14-year-old Tavi Pickles is taking a break from competition.
Tavi is one-half the trick-riding duo known as the Daring Divas, which is based out of Castor and managed by Tavi’s mom, Tamona. Tavi is also the 2022 champion in the Canadian Trick Riding Association, a position she has held since 2020.
Prior to the pandemic champions would have had the opportunity to compete in the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nev., every fall, but things have changed and that option is no longer available which is why Tavi feels like now is a good time to take a break from competition.
Even without competition, she will have plenty to keep her busy in the 2023 rodeo season; the Daring Divas received their professional rodeo cards in 2022. The cards allow them to perform for higher-paying, higher levels of rodeo.
According to Tamona, the girls had to apply to the pro rodeo association and provide a schedule of shows. Members from the association randomly attended three shows during the season and made the determination whether the team would be issued their professional cards.
It’s been a long road for Tavi, and her team mate, Klloe Holte.
Tavi got the bug for trick riding when she saw some riders perform at the Halkirk Rodeo when she was very young, around five-years-old.
“I said I was going to do that,’” said Tavi.
After doing some investigating, Tamona found a trainer for her daughter,Taygan MacGillivray. Tavi trained with MacGillivray for a year before transitioning to trainer Amber Millar of Wainwright.
While training with Millar, Tamona and Tavi would make the trip to Wainwright twice a week. It was also working with Millar that Tavi and Kloe first started working together.
“We were paired up in a camp,” said Tavi.
In time, the girls formed a good working bond and the pair’s mothers started talking. Soon, the Daring Divas were born!
Since the team was founded, the duo has been a regular fixture at the Castor Rodeo, as well as the Stettler Steel Wheels Stampede and the Halkirk Elks Bullarama. However, the pair travels a lot further afield than that.
According to Tamona, the team performed at 18 rodeos during the 2022 season, with at least as many lined up for the 2023 season. Performances have taken the team from B.C. to Manitoba and points in between.
Tavi’s favorite part about performing?
“The adrenaline before a show,” said Tavi.
“That rushing feeling as they are announcing your name.”
With the rodeo season done for the year, the Divas have some down time until things pick back up in March.
In the 2022 Canadian Trick Riding Association competition season, the Divas came in first and second in the 12-18 age category, with Tavi as the champion and Holte as the reserve champion. According to Tavi, around 20 members competed in that category.