With a tiny pen and slick ground, only four out of ten barrel racers kept barrels up and finished the pattern at the SEBRA Bulls and Barrels in Ashland, Ohio. Ohio cowgirl Darlene Miller who has proved herself time and time again in small pens took home the win, while Alicia Pottmeyer took home the second place check at the Ashland fairgrounds in front of a large Tuesday-night crowd.
(Note: Our camera couldn’t capture the first place run, but we did get Alicia Pottmeyer’s second place run.)
What: SEBRA Bulls n’ Barrels @ Ashland, Ohio
Who: 10 Ohio barrel racers
Added Money: $300 added, $50 entry fee – $15 of the fees went to SEBRA and $35 back into the pot.
The Ground: The ground was the story of the night. The fair committee put about one foot of sand on top of the hard stone track, so as soon as a horse dug in deep it hit the hard ground and lost all of its footing. Dangerous was the term used to describe the ground by various barrel racers there that night. Even the announcer made mention that all of the cowgirls would be watching out for the ground after the first barrel racer slipped. With the small pen and the ground that was making horses slip, lots of girls knocked because the ground was pushing horses into the barrels.
Overall: This wasn’t the best rodeo for barrel racers. To start out the night, fireworks went off without warning within just a few yards of the horse trailers. Then, immediately after the rodeo while girls were all still packing up and cooling down horses, fireworks went off again next to the trailers and did not stop for at least five minutes.
I’m not sure what the rodeo crew or fair committee could have done better to improve the ground, but conditions were miserable for barrel horses. Any horse that ran down into the ground at all had trouble, and by the end of the ten horses such deep ruts had formed that horses had trouble getting up and out. The run out was also dangerous because as soon as horses left the arena they were on hard track and the stopping wasn’t good for horses’ hocks.
A major plus of SEBRA’s production was that it allowed barrel racers to have a few minutes in the arena to first see how the ground would be. At least girls could see what they were getting themselves into and let their horses get a feel for the slick track underneath the deceptive deep sand.