Make way for Meged
3 Tips for Consistency from Montana Circuit Finals Champion Shelby (Boisjoli) Meged

Shelby Meged knows how to win—and shares her three tips for consistency in breakaway no matter the circumstance.

Shelby (Boisjoli) Meged and 2023 Horse of the Year "Onna" prepare to touch down at the 2023 Montana Circuit Finals.
Shelby (Boisjoli) Meged and 2023 Horse of the Year "Onna" prepare to touch down at the 2023 Montana Circuit Finals. Photo by Clay Guardipee

Coming off the heels of her 2023 WPRA Breakaway World Championship, Shelby (Boisjoli) Meged has continued her winning momentum, picking up two championship titles at the Montana Circuit Finals Jan. 11–13, 2024.

With $28,478 earned throughout the year, the Montana Circuit first-timer dominated the Circuit Finals, placing in every go-round and winning Round 3. She roped three head in 8.2 seconds for the Average Championship.

The event took place against a backdrop of record cold temperatures in Great Falls, Montana. The mercury never rose above zero degrees throughout the weekend, and although the indoor arena was nice a toasty, Meged recounted the logistical difficulties that came with hauling horses in -20° weather.

“We kept our horses up the road at a vet clinic that had a pretty good, insulated barn,” Meged said. “Haven and I put a bunch of heaters and tarps in our stock trailer to try to keep our horses warm—and one time when we were trailering back to the clinic, I used my back number pins to secure my gloves to Onna’s slinky over her ears. It hurt to breathe and you could get frostbite walking to the arena.”

Despite the challenges presented by mother nature, Meged stayed hooked on performing well at the Montana Circuit Finals.

Shelby Meged smiles with an armload of buckles at the 2023 Montana Circuit Finals. Photo by Clay Guardipee.

Consistent success in the arena can either make a competitor keep winning—or more likely to stub a toe. Meged keeps a straightforward focus when it comes to competition, and shared the three things she prioritizes when she backs in the box.

Shelby Meged’s 3 tips for consistency in breakaway

No. 3 Don’t beat yourself — don’t worry about others

“I try to stay really consistent, they pay second and third too—which I have to constantly remind myself of.”

No. 2 Score first and hit the barrier

“The main thing I focus on is scoring the calf. I just picture my start over and over and over and it’s all I’m worried about when I back in.”

No. 1 Rope the neck

“I try to take high percentage shots. Like I said, they pay second and third too. I also want my mare to work for me as long as possible and reaching and taking low percentage shots isn’t going to do her much good.

I try to ride to the calf and get a good neck catch to keep my horses confidence up and knowing where to run to every time. It’s part of not beating yourself, just take your shot and make your run. Whenever I do beat myself, there’s nothing worse.

Not taking a bad shot and not overlooking a good shot is a very fine line that you have to learn to ride on. That’s what makes this sport so hard.”

Montana Circuit Finals Breakaway Results

First round: 1. Cadee Williams, 2.8 seconds, $2,628; 2. Shelby Boisjoli-Meged, 3.5, $1,971; 3. Tracey Bolich, 12.6, $1,314; no other qualified runs. 

Second round: 1. Katelin Conway, 2.5 seconds, $2,628; 2. Shelby Boisjoli-Meged, 2.6, $1,971; 3. (tie) Anna Callaway and Cadee Williams, 2.7, $986 each. 

Third round: 1. Shelby Boisjoli-Meged, 2.1 seconds, $2,628; 2. (tie) Katelin Conway, Teka Larson and Sarah Verhelst, 2.2, $1,314 each. 

Average: 1. Shelby Boisjoli-Meged, 8.2 seconds on three head, $3,942; 2. Cadee Williams, 9.9, $2,957; 3. Tracey Bolich, 18.9, $1,971; 4. Katelin Conway, 4.7 on two head, $986.

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