By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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Jessica Holmberg, 22, who grew up in the hamlet of Agnew between Sequim and Port Angeles, will co-star in “Rodeo Girls,” which follows five barrel racers on the pro rodeo circuit.
“It was a crazy, eye-opening experience,” Holmberg said of her months on the road in front of the cameras.
Holmberg will be introduced in the first episode, scheduled to premiere Wednesday at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. PST and Thursday at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. on A&E.
The schedule varies whether the viewer gets A&E via cable or satellite.
Holmberg joins other North Olympic Peninsula reality-TV stars, such as members of the Rygaard logging crew, who appeared on the History Channel's “Ax Men,” and Port Angeles truck driver Todd Dewey, who was selected to drive the winter ice roads of Canada for the History Channel show “Ice Road Truckers.”
“My mom and I made a lot of phone calls to Rygaard Logging, to know what to expect. But nothing really prepared me for filming a reality TV show,” Holmberg said.
“Rodeo Girls” follows Holmberg and fellow pro-circuit rookie Megan Etcheberry, veteran riders Barb West and Marvel Murphy and celebrity barrel racer Darcy LaPier from their first rodeo in Arizona to the end of the rodeo season.
Holmberg is presented as a youth barrel-racing champion who “has the skills but not always the funds,” according to her official “Rodeo Girls” biography.
She is a 2010 graduate of Sequim High School who began barrel racing at 9 years old, and is a former member of the school's equestrian and rodeo teams.
As a member of the Sequim rodeo team, Holmberg earned a berth in the National High School Rodeo and finished in the top 15 as a barrel racer.
In 2009, she broke the barrel racing record at the Trails End arena in Olympia.
She attended Walla Walla Community College, where she hit the college rodeo circuit.
After graduating from Walla Walla in 2012, Holmberg moved to a small Texas town near Dallas-Fort Worth area to be closer to the rodeo circuit, where she was contacted to be part of “Rodeo Girls.”
It took more than two years from the first time Holmberg heard about the proposed reality show from a rodeo friend in 2010 until she was told that the show had a green light and she was officially offered a role.
Filming began in February, and when she hit the road for her first year on the pro rodeo circuit in March, the cameras went along.
Cowboys also feature into the show, and Holmberg may have found her man among them — Anthony Lucia, a trick roper who competes on the rodeo circuit and also is part of the regular cast.
“It was totally unexpected. I had no intention of finding my true love,” Holmberg said.
Holmberg and Lucia met in Scottsdale, Ariz., at the first rodeo of the season and were introduced by other cast members.
Filming for the first season included only six episodes, but Holmberg said there is a good chance for a second season and intends to take part if it is offered again.
She said her only regret from the first season is not traveling with the right horse.
Normally, when Holmberg is on the road for rodeo, she travels with three horses: Robin, her proven quarter horse mare, a seasoned backup horse and a young horse in training, she said.
Robin is a 9-year-old North Olympic Peninsula-bred mare which Holmberg successfully rode for all of her high school and college rodeo career.
However, for the show, she only brought her young horse in training.
“He was green — not finished and not ready to be on the TV show,” she said.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.