Indian National Finals Rodeo
Indian National Finals Rodeo
Champion Biography

Traci Vaile

1995 and 1997 Champion

Traci Vaile

Resides: Babb, MT

Tribal Affiliation: Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes (Salish)

Education: High School and half way to a teaching degree.

Events Worked: LBR & Sr. TR (used to BAR)

INFR Qualifications: Lots, I don’t even know but somewhere between 25 and 30.

World Titles Won: Girls AA in 1995 & 1997

Personal Information: Married to Gus and we have one son, Ty.

Best Memory winning the INFR: It was in Rapid City and the first year that they had an all around for the girls and I really didn’t have a clue that I was even close. Sam Bird told me that he thought that I had won it. We had to wait to find out and sure enough, I was thrilled to death. The second AA was important to me too. In 1996 they gave Running P saddles and I didn’t win one. I really wanted one of those saddles so when I won in Reno I was a happy happy camper.

How important is it to you to have won an INFR Championship?
It means a lot. I think a person doesn’t realize what it means to win it until you try to go win another one. Only then does it dawn on you that the championships just don’t come easy.

Who has been your biggest influence in Indian Rodeo?
I have to say my dad, Jerry Hamel, because he is the one that started hauling me to the IRCA rodeos when I was about 11 or 12 years old. In those days they didn’t have Jr. Barrel Races but the IRCA did. It was a great place for me to be able to go on his bull dogging horse and still be kind of competitive.

What are the benefits of INFR rodeos for you?
It is great because now I am roping with my husband, Gus! I didn’t think that would ever happen. It won’t be too long and Ty can start competing in the Jr. events. It is one association that the whole family can go to and compete at. We have made friends that we only see at the Tour Rodeos or the INFR but they are true friendships that I value. There is also the “rodeo family” that we spend more time with than our regular family and I wouldn’t want to give that up for anything.

Horse(s): My heading horse "Smoke" has to be top dog now. I have won quite a bit on him barrel racing too. I sold one of the best horses I ever owned a year ago and I’m still trying to find one to compare to him. I have 2 barrel horses now, "Bones" and "Rodney" and a nice 5 year old that Gus gave me, "Cool Whip". I have been blessed with good horses all my life and for that I am grateful. I don’t care how good you are, without a good horse you aren’t much.

Traci Vaile

Pet(s): We hauled a cocker with us for 15 years. Gypsy went everywhere with us and since she passed away it has been hard to commit to another. I think there is a puppy in our near future though.

Nickname(s): My late father-in-law always called me "Bear" and Spike Guardipee still calls me "Trish", a few Canadian friends call me "Star". I guess I will answer to anything.

Pet peeve(s): Don’t get me started, I have plenty especially when it comes to barrel racers!!! LOL

Favorite Food: I think it’s obvious, I like food, all food, except mushrooms and turkey and I’m allergic to shrimp.

Favorite Sports Team: It used to be the Bulls, now I don’t really have one.

Favorite Sport Other Than Rodeo: I love to golf and don’t get to do it near as much as I would like.

Favorite Movie(s): ?

Favorite Music: Country/Rock

Most Influential Person(s): Gary DeSaussure, my step-father, had a way of figuring me out and if I was down, could pump me up, give me confidence and make me believe that I could win. He could also read my horses and just the simplest thing could turn things around. I often think, what would Gary say. I sure miss his pep talks.

Favorite Athlete: ?

Crazy Rodeo Story(s): There have been many but one trip with JayBob Lytle, Dee Hoyt and Teri Dahle stands out. We went from one end of the state to the other, (like Dodson to Lame Deer back to Heart Butte or something like that and maybe Arlee was in there too) then Jay Bob and I went on to Meadow Lake, SK to meet up with Gus and haul his horse to him. We blew the motor in our new pickup, I crippled my horse and I had to take a detour to come home and pick up another one, we ran the wheel off our 4 horse trailer but luckily was able to borrow another trailer but only a 2 horse so we had to leave 1 horse behind. It was Gus’s horse who got left home. I was afraid to pull into Meadow Lake without the horse and even worse to tell him all the other bad luck that we had. He actually took it all pretty well but I think that was because we were also winning lots at the time. We made it everywhere we were supposed to go and had lots of laughs along the way.

Something People Don't Know About You: If I told then it wouldn’t be something people didn’t know anymore.

Hobbies: Between roping, barrel racing and golf I don’t have time for any other hobbies.

Favorite Rodeo: It has to be Polson now. It is always fun to go home and that is such a nice rodeo grounds, beautiful setting and Pete White has done a great job producing a first class event.

Lucky Rodeo: I used to have lucky rodeos but now that my luck has run out........

Acheivements: ?

Special Thanks - You can never be successful without the help of the people around you. I have been blessed to have some pretty amazing people in my life. My folks who brought me into this rodeo life, my husband for putting up with me through the wins and losses and trying to keep me well mounted, Kay Davis and Tink Elordi, Karen Noble, my friends and my family. Especailly my family that can’t understand why I am missing the family reunion, wedding, graduation, etc. because I have a rodeo!