Is This Whole Thing Worth the Cost?

This weekend, the BFA is sponsoring a futurity in Canvas, WV, adding $4,000 Friday and Saturday to the Open 4D. With this economy, is a three hour drive, a $25 camper hook up, $80 stall, $52 entry and $20 grounds fee worth it?

I’m going, probably. I just think I need to go this weekend, get it out of my system.  But really, this whole two day/camper fee/grounds fee/entry fee mess is a bunch of nonsense. It’s for the rich – the really, really rich, mostly – who don’t even need to make the payback that they earn. 
I find myself asking this question every weekend. As spring heats up, there’s no shortage of barrel races in the Tri-state area. I’d much rather hit some rodeos, but it does seem like there’s not too many of those around. I end up getting caught up in this barrel racing circuit, even though I’m not an NBHA member. Why? I don’t really know – it just keeps ending up that way. I really need to get out of it, because it really isn’t that much fun, and it’s not where my horse does best. 
But I guess that was just a ramble. The problem really is – how can we justify doing this every weekend against big dogs who use all kinds of illegal substances to make their horses fly? As I mentioned yesterday, barrel horses are just as hyped up as thoroughbreds running on the track – yes, I do mean just as hyped up on drugs as race horses. We don’t get drug tested as often, and we don’t have the same industry watchdogs. It’s bad, guys, really bad, and it makes the rest of us not want to deal with it. 
When NBHA instituted the divisions to give everyone a little payback, they tried to even things out. Well, for me, divisions don’t make barrel racing any better. The rich guys at the top still take home most of the money, and those that get stuck in the lower divisions get a little. It’s a lot about pride. 4-D just makes my bones shiver. Maybe the 2-D horses really are the fastest, fairest horses at the big shows, but its the 1-D horses that are all juiced up that unfairly win. 
I guess it’s a lot like the steroids controversy in baseball – we love to see Barry Bonds smashing homeruns over the left field wall, but when we find out all the drugs he used, its just one big let down. 
That’s the way I feel about these amazingly fast horses that seem to make going to barrel races a crapshoot for the rest of us. They are gorgeous, and the runs that they put down are heartstopping, but in the end, these runs are really just heartbreaking. 

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