In the modern world of barrel racing the name of Vickie Adams, Collinsville, Texas is well known far and wide and synonymous with superbly bred barrel horses in general and as the breeder, owner and rider of one of the sports all-time great producing stallions Fire Water Flit in particular. But less is known about Vickie and the many equine paths that have led her to the top in the barrel racing industry.
Her roots in barrel racing run deep and she was attending barrel racing events long before she could walk. Her mother, Lorraine Shea, and her aunt, the late Sadie Shellenberger, were founding members of the famed Texas Barrel Racing Association–the association that in later years would host the first ever barrel racing Futurity in Texas. Vickie’s first memories of horses and barrel racing involve unloading her pony and riding in major rodeo grand entries where her mother and aunt were top name competitors. Before she could read Vickie knew the barrel racing pattern. With her step father John Shea being one of the nations top gated-horse trainers, Vickie learned the ways of showing Hackney gated ponies to perfection. But it was the speed of barrel racing that interested her the most.
Vickie’s mom also was in on the ground floor of the forming of the American Paint Horse Assn., which would follow that one of the first barrel racing champions Vickie trained was a Paint stallion named War Bonnet. Her success with him led her to be asked by the Williamson family of Iowa Park, Texas to campaign their stallion Yellow Mount that led to his APHA Superior Championship. By the time Vickie graduated from Gainesville, Texas High School, she was serving as manager for Jim Smoot’s Paint horse operation located on the outskirts of Gainesville.
With her charismatic personality and grown-up, down-to-business attitude, Vickie had no trouble forming lasting friendships with local Gainesville horse legends like George Tyler, Junior Hudspeth, Matlock Rose, Joy Rose, Jerry & Betty Wells and professional barrel racers such as Billie Edwards and Sis Armstrong. One of her first thrills in barrel racing came when she competed on Billie Edwards great Leo San gelding Spur Rawl. Her friendship with Tommy Wells of Sulphur, Okla. brought a bay mare named Pudden Hancock aka Honey Comb into her life that set the tone for her serious barrel racing career. The bay mare carried Vickie to the top in the Texas Barrel Racing Assn. and earned her a second place finish behind Wanda Bush at Rodeo Houston in 1969–the first year Vickie held a card in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Assn., then known as the Girls Rodeo Assn.
Vickie gave college a try at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas where her room mate was Jimmie Gibbs-Munroe. Their shared admiration for Flit Bar bred barrel horses ultimately led to a World Championship for Jimmie, a breeding program for Vickie and a lifelong friendship for both. While on the rodeo trail Vickie became close friends with the late Celie Whitcomb-Ray of Sterling, Colo. who at the time was leading the World standings riding a beautiful palomino mare named Slash J Harletta. After qualifying for the NFR, Celie would later sell half interest in the AQHA champion mare to Vickie. When bred to Flit Bar, the superb cross created the foundation of Vickie’s successful breeding program–Fire Water Flit aka Milo (nicknamed after Celie’s father Milo Whitcomb).
As the years passed Vickie Adams owned horses trained by Celie Whitcomb-Ray became a combination hard to beat in both futurity and rodeo competition. One of those futurity stand outs, in addition to Fire Water Flit, was Wabena Bar Flit aka Koochie that after taking Celie to the top in the futurity ranks carried Vickie to the National Finals Rodeo in 1977.
A self made business woman, horse woman and barrel racer, few in the business today have the credentials in so many equine disciplines as one Vickie Adams of Collinsville, Texas!