As a barrel racer you get spoiled, show up at 7 a.m., pay your entry fees, warm up, time only your three year old, time only your seasoned horse, wait for the tractor guy to work the ground, the arena crew to set the pattern and then you make your run and head to the next barrel race. Unless you are putting on the barrel race, chances are you don’t have to set the pattern, find a tractor driver, write checks, keep track of times, clean the facility and follow up with your Facebook post filled with results.

Two summers ago my trainer, Linzie, got on a kick of hosting barrel racers. At first I was like, “oh, this will be fun!” By the end of the summer when I was writing the last checks of the series, and Linzie was giving out the awards, I thought to myself that race producers don’t receive enough credit. It takes a village to run a barrel race, Linzie and I wouldn’t have survived that summer without all the help we had along the way and especially my Mom who was constantly willing to do anything and everything. For anyone wanting to produce a barrel race, if you put one on, the people will come!

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It’s the Western Gaming clubs that make each and every person work and earn their end of series prizes in more than just your horse/ rider abilities. You have to rake every three heats of riders or run the in gate or records times, etc. Not only are you making five runs each of a different pattern, but on top of all it you are either judging one to two age groups or raking at least 5 age groups or running the in gate for at least two age groups. When the series is over and you’re at the awards series picking up your stable sheet, saddle pad, or hay bag, you’ve definitely earned that prize. It’s not usually until I go to a games show after a while off that I realize just how much work they are. Although I won’t complain about all the Fit Bit steps I get on those days!

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Your day consist of:

  • Warm Up
  • Run
  • Rake/ Judge/ Time etc.
  • Warm Up
  • Run
  • Rake/ Judge/ Time etc.

And repeat this at least five times, that doesn’t even count if you bring a training horse and have to warm up and ride that one through all the events. There’s a special place in my heart for those people who don’t have the obligation to rake for riders but go ahead and do so anyways. I know my horse appreciates it.

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Attending a few games shows each summer definitely puts my barrel racing life back into perspective. I enjoy all the socializing that comes with the raking, making five runs in a day, standing in a holding pen with all the girls you’ve grown up riding with and then camping in the summer with your horse and all your closest friends. The days are long and sometimes hot or cold, but they are good for a barrel racers head, a horse’s head, and will make you appreciate all the race producers and committee members who work hard at barrel racers to make the race a breeze.

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So at your next games show or barrel race, thank the producers, committee members and when they need a helping hand, lend one!

 

Safe travels!

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