Darcy LaPier interview on Rodeo Girls, a new series that goes inside the world of barrel racing following five female racers. Rodeo Girls has a two-part series premiere Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 11pm ET/PT and Thursday, Dec. 12 at 10pm ET/PT.
“I’ve been hurt quite a few times,” says Darcy LaPier. “I had a compound fracture to my left arm. I’ve broken probably three or four fingers and toes. I’ve cracked a rib. I had three concussions.” She’s one of the five brazen beauties who are featured in A&E’s new six-episode reality series Rodeo Girls.
Darcy LaPier’s name may ring familiar, as she’s been part of Hollywood headlines before as the former wife to Hawaiian Tropic suntan lotion founder Ron Rice and former wife to actor Jean-Claude Van Damme, as well as the widow of Herbalife founder/multimillionaire Mark R. Hughes. “I didn’t know it at the time when it was happening but the equine was healing me from the loss of my husband,” LaPier says, reflecting on how she initially got interested in the sport. “Now I look back on it, and that’s what I needed and that’s what happened.”
Devastated over the loss of her husband, LaPier left the Hollywood spotlight and returned to her hometown state of Oregon with her three children, where she trained to transform herself into an award-winning professional rodeo barrel racer. Hard work and determination paid off and in 2004 she earned the most money as a rookie after just starting out in competition. She soon got the nickname Darcy “No Fear” LaPier. “We win and loose by hundredths of a tenths of a second. If we have a moment of fear you lose, so I’ve got to be No Fear LaPier. I’ll take your money.”
But LaPier has always faced life a bit on the edge. “I think when you’re on a horse that is going as fast as it can possibly go and you’re smooching to it and asking it to go faster, there has to be a screw loose,” LaPier laughs. “We’re going 45 mph — there’s lights and announcers and crowds going crazy — and you don’t remember half of what you are doing because you are going so fast. You get on your fight instinct.”
“My hope for the show — because I’ve had rich and fame before and I’m not a spring chicken — I hope our sport of rodeo gets as popular as NASCAR and the PBR,” LaPier says. “No one has really been able to look into the world of this sport. This show is going to show you what it’s like to go down the road in professional rodeo.”
LaPier thinks that viewers will be most surprised at how normal and diverse female barrel racers actually are. “I’m a mom who came from a Hollywood background and I’ve been in almost every major city in the world and movie premieres – but what’s really fulfilled me is being able to compete and be able to raise and train animals and get into their minds.”
The other racers featured in the series include seasoned rider Marvel Murphy whose wild past haunts her at every fairground; former champ Barb West who returns to the circuit to reclaim her title after a two-year hiatus; rookie racer Megan Etcheberry and youth barrel racing champ Jessica Holmberg.
Rodeo Girls will air on A&E Thursdays at 10pm ET/PT, after its 2-night series premiere Dec. 11 and 12.