RAM NCFR Rodeo Rundown: What is Barrel Racing?
The oldest women’s sports association in the country and the only one governed entirely by women, the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) made its debut in 1948 when 38 cowgirls came together for the promotion and advancement of women in rodeo. With 71 years of history in the professional rodeo industry, the WPRA is more than just women and fast horses in rodeo. It represents an important piece of pro rodeo because barrel racing in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association is brought to you by none other than the WPRA. Barrel racing is the only women’s rodeo event that the PRCA recognizes at their sanctioned events and only women are able to compete in it.
Barrel Racing 101:
Three barrels are set up in a triangular shape from the entrance to the arena also known as the alleyway (where the horse and rider come from). The goal is to make a tight circle around all three barrels, giving the horse little room to conform to the shape of the barrel. In this event, the fastest time wins. One little mistake and down goes a barrel. You can then add a five-second penalty for that! The rider and the horse make a quick cloverleaf pattern around the barrels before racing home to see where they land on the leaderboard! This event is solely based on the clock; there are no judged scores. Although according to some old-timey cowgirls, at the earliest of rodeos, you received a score on how well your horsemanship was with some added points for the best-dressed rider. It was not a timed-event!
To be a barrel racing horse, we know that you must be fast, but there’s more to it than just being the fastest horse in the arena. Barrel racing horses are bred for their job. They come from good bloodlines and a solid foundation when being trained. Coordination, athleticism, and agility are important strengths to be able to turn on a dime and pick right back up running for the next barrel. It’s important to find a horse that has the mentality and heart of this sport, not just athletic ability.
During the 2019 RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo back in March, Lisa Lockhart rode Prime Diamond “Cutter” to secure the second place finish with a time of 15.29 seconds in the first round. Lisa went on to win the 2019 RAM NCFR barrel racing championship that weekend. She is currently sitting second in the WPRA World Standings and eleventh in the Badlands Circuit. The 2019 Badlands Circuit Finals will be October 4-6, 2019, in Minot at the North Dakota State Fair Center. At the Badlands Circuit Finals, Lisa will be vying for the year-end title and a trip to the 2020 RAM NCFR in Kissimmee, Florida!