While women can compete in any of the rodeo events, the overwhelming choice for women is barrel racing. In barrel racing, horse and rider must complete a cloverleaf pattern around three barrels without any of the barrels going down. The horse and rider that completes the pattern clean in the fastest time is the winner.
My sisters competed in barrel racing and they spent many hours training our palomino Dusty (my heroine in Re-Ride at the Rodeo is named in Dusty’s memory) to take those turns. The horse is the real star of barrel racing, even though the rider has a lot to do with the success. Horses that are fast, intelligent, trainable and with a desire to please can make good barrel racers. And when you find one with that combination of qualities you can pay upwards of $60,000 for the privilege of ownership.
Jill Moody won the event at the NFR’s first round with a time of 14:02 on her horse, Dolly. But each day the times seem to get faster. Cassie Mosely won with a 13.85 in round 2, Lindsey Sears—the number one in the world by almost $50K in earnings--won round 3 with a time of 13.91 and Britteny Pozzi-Pharr, number 2 in the world, won round 4 with a time of 13.84.
It’s a joy to watch the combination of skill between rider and horse bring it on home.