Brent Puhl Becomes a Reporter

Photo by Jennifer Paulson for Horse&Rider

I’ve been waiting to post this for a rainy day, and well, since I’ve been super busy getting ready for The Best of the Best in Ohio Charity Slot Race and September Showdown and doing my day job, I haven’t had time to do any interviews with any real barrel racers lately. A while back, my buddy Brent Puhl wanted to interview me and have me post it here. So I let him, reluctantly, because I’m really not all that fabulous. He did a kick-butt job of asking the questions, though, so here it is : )

How long have you been riding horses???

I started riding jumping ponies when I was 5, so about 19 years now.

Who got you started and hooked into barrel horses???

That would definitely be Ginny Bowman. My mom and dad were amazing in finding me the best instructor in the world (my parent’s aren’t into horses themselves) and she was just getting back into barrel horses after mainly raising, training, and showing halter and pleasure horses. I guess we have her son, Beau, to thank for getting both of us into it (I was 12) because he started riding bulls, and barrel racing was a way for Ginny to go to the rodeos to watch him.

What got you started in writing The Barrel Racing Blog???

I started writing The Barrel Racing Blog as a college project. We had to start a blog in my online journalism class, and I decided that there was no good blog (and barely even good website) about barrel racing. At the same time, I was in a community journalism class that focused on how important media is in holding a community together. Growing up as part of the Ohio/PA/WV barrel racing community, I realized how we were lacking a media outlet devoted specifically to us. So, The Barrel Racing Blog was born!

Looking back is there any one special horse that you had? Tell us about it.

Of course. And anybody that knows me knows that’s an easy answer! I’m still running my youth horse–Zippos Three Dee, better known as Onyx. I got her when I was 11 (I’m almost 24). Ginny found her standing in a field at one of her Western pleasure client’s houses. They didn’t want to part with her–they were keeping her as a Western pleasure horse for the kids they wanted to have down the road. But Ginny talked them into parting with her for me. She was broke, but didn’t do anything great (She was woeful at Western pleasure). She’d never seen a barrel pattern, but Ginny started her on the barrels as soon as we got her. She rode her in the mornings, and put me on her every night for a lesson and showed me what she was working on.

Onyx has broken just about every bone in every leg. She tore her stifle and had to have surgery the first year I had her, fractured her hip in 2002, fractured a coffin bone in 2005, and fractured her navicular bone in 2007. Every year in between that, I ran her and she was a solid 1D horse. She won the BullRide Mania Tour Finals in 2004 and placed at the Congress every year I took her (five times total). In 2009, I retired her because she tore an impar ligament and wasn’t healing. But, when my parents brought her out to live with me in Colorado, she was 100% sound. She’s been clocking in the 2D (and sometimes the 1D!) ever since. It’s really exciting for her to be healthy again; she’s my rock!

Looking back is there any special shows or people that have really been an influance on you???

There are so many special people that have influenced me, it’s hard to name just a few. Of course Ginny, as well as Amy and Mia Shaffer who hauled with a bratty, teenage me, and are more than “like family” – they are family. I grew up about 15 minutes from Circle D Saddle Club (Dime) and Crooked Creek, and my parents and I always helped with the shows at Dime. The whole Buchleitner clan has been amazing friends, and I owe a lot of fun times and motivation to them. Same goes for the Millers.

Where are you living now and what are you doing ???

I live in Boulder, Colo., and I’m the managing editor of American Cowboy and Spin To Win Rodeo magazines. I’ve got two barrel horses here.

Looking ahead were would you like to see yourself in 5 years??? 10 years?? And what would you like to be doing???

I’d still like to be barrel racing, that’s for sure! I’d love to stay in rodeo journalism. It’s a blast, and I love this industry. I love Western fashion, too, and I write all of the Gear/Style sections for both magazines, so who knows, I could be doing something in that field, too! I definitely still want to be running barrels and maybe I’ll even get better at roping, but I won’t bet on that.

Looking ahead were would you like to see the barrel racing sport go ???

I’d love to see more money come into the sport on the sponsorship end. And I believe that can happen–we’ve just got to do a better job of getting organized on the grass-roots level at bringing in funding.

Where would you like to see The Barrel Racing Blog go and what would you like to see it as in the future???

Well I’d have never guessed three years ago that it would have grown so much. I could do a much better job updating, writing, etc., but you know, the real world calls at work and I haven’t had the time to devote to it. But I’m so glad I’ve got Dawn and Clea, and they’ve been an amazing burst of energy. So, I have to say that I’d love it if more people wanted to get involved in writing show reviews like Dawn and Clea. I’d really like it if we could do more on-the-ground stories and file them quicker, so people could read what happened that day or the next. And I think that more areas need blogs like The Barrel Racing Blog, because not everyone can be in Barrel Horse News, but everyone likes to see the names of people they know in the news. We’re the local news of the barrel racing world, and more folks need that!

What do you like to do other than horses???

I love to travel! I’ve been all over the place but I’d definitely like to see more of this world. I really like to golf, too, but I definitely haven’t done that in a while because all of my spare time goes to horses!

Could you ever see yourself without a horse and if so what would you be doing???

I’d be working in Africa somewhere. For two years in college I basically gave up on horses all together and just traveled, and I thought for sure I’d be in East Africa somewhere working in development and human rights. I could have pretty easily done that. But you know how it goes, one choice turns into a hundred others, and here I am in Colorado instead.

What are some of your best memories from shows and what would you like to pass on to your kids???

Well, my best memories in the arena are all at the Congress. Those were some of the best moments of my life. But general best memories? Lots of nights at the Corral with Kasey MacInnes getting into trouble, and nights as a kid driving around in golf cart doing god-knows-what with the Buchleitners, Millers, Altmans, etc.

Recently, I’m so glad Dawn and Clea have come into my life and got me into putting on barrel races. We had so much fun last year at The Best of the Best, and this year it will be WAY bigger and even better. I really hope (and I have a feeling I don’t need to worry about this) that all of the same people come this year and bring in lots more folks. Really, it was such a blast, and such a great cause, I’m excited to be doing it on a larger scale in 2012.

As for the kids–NO kids for me : ) My horses and my dog are my kids. I’m way to selfish for kids. But if I were to have kids, I’d want them to not just get stuck in the Western world. I love rodeo, horses, horse shows, etc., but I am sure glad I’ve seen more of this world than arenas across the US. Getting out of your bubble is the most important thing you can do for your perspective on people, places and situations.


On the Road with Dawn and Clea from Circle G with Pigs and Tequila and Beer Hats

Hello in Colorado! Ms Chels – Well is has been crazy 2 months. We have not been to many barrel races with all that has been going on but the couple we have been to have been great.

In April we attended Darci Kilgore’s NBHA sanctioned show at Circle G. It was to say the least a great weekend. Friday night would bring a nice turn out but not what you would think for $250.00 added. It would however bring out Helen Chambers and Becky Johnston and their talents, not only in the horse arena but in the hat making, beer drinking dinner cooking arena as well. On a face book post Helen AKA Giddy Up stated she was headed to Circle G and Clea commented on her post to put on her beer drinking hat.

So as you can see she did just that.  Both Helen and Becky have been exercising and gearing up to run hard this year and make things happen,  Between the 2 of them they have lost 40 plus pounds!  Way to go ladies.  No we want you to realize that the pounds are not lost because they share their food- as least their chicken- Here’s a little story for you.  Clea and I brought no food – literally.  We were running late – nothing new- and of course we were headed to Circle G so you know as well as we do there is no food there. Earlier in the night we stopped over to visit the two ladies, we get there and they have the crock pot out with a chicken in it.  Now Helen would have you believing that she caught, killed, plucked and cooked the chicken.  It was stamped Giant Eagle Helen we know a rotisserie chicken when we see one.  WE chatted for a bit Helen would drop the F Bomb 10 times in 10 Min and who was parked by them THE PREACHER Eddie Gibson.  I am sure he was on over time for prayers this weekend.

After the classes were over  – it is late Helen and Becky are toasted and we thought well we will head over to their trailer thinking MAYBE JUST MAYBE they would have a little snack a roo.  Let us tell you.  Those two were cleaning up from dinner and the chicken was nowhere to be found.  We hinted “ How was that chicken” Helen said “it was delicious and we are having the rest of it tomorrow for lunch in our salad.” she finishes “ do you want some chips and cheese sauce?”  Of course we did because we were starving… We laughed the whole way back to the trailer and don’t you think for one minute we didn’t tease her the next day about that chicken.   Good times.

Saturday’s show would be a nice turn out. With more districts approved it would bring a slew of people running for the ol’ mighty points.   We would spend most of the day getting ready for the classes with our horses or sitting in the bleaches cheering on the teams running through the timers waiting for a chance to score some points and with a little luck and a fast smooth horse some money.   One team that had an interesting start was Laura Lambert.  As we wait for her to come in the arena we sit at the 1st barrel with our heads turned to the left looking out to the alley way area.  We see Ben doing his best to get Laura’s horse to the shoot to get pointed to the first.  As her horse decides to rare up and spin Ben would find himself struggling to get Laura to a good spot for her run.  Once again he would grab the reins and start toward the shoot and once again no go.  You would see them then you would not – On what would appear to be the final time Ben would start back to the shoot when BAM Ben is down… He lay there for what he said seemed like 20 mins and thought  “I’m done Where is my bike?” He jumps up grabs the horse and away they go this time into the shoot with a right turn Laura makes a hell of a run.  15.9 and the whole place cheers her on.  Great job Ben and Laura!

Lisa Cline and her 2 horses will be ones to watch this year and the coming years.  She has an awesome Jet Of Honor 4 Year old that she has working nicely.  Her little bay open horse is sure to be at the Best of the Best this year with the way that team is working.

We had a nice weekend we actually covered all our cost including fuel and had some money left over.  After my first run – I rode like a fat girl on her first pony ride – I got my sh$% together and came back in the open and ran a 16.0 and was sitting 5th but then Barbie’s 15.5 set me pretty for the 2nd Division.  Clea would draw a check for each run she ran.  Our 4 yr old is making us very happy and is paying for herself so that makes us feel good.  Channing – the idiot that jumped out , yes OUT the trailer window even pulled us a check.  You will not be seeing her at an barrel races any time soon.  IF you do she will be the one tied beside the trailer running beside it as we pull into the show.  One day I will write about that ordeal!  OMG is all we have to say about that.

The 06 riders were there and had a great showing.  Darci would run a great show – smooth and never a hiccup. 07 Riders turned out for their run at the money and points and Darci’s district would stay for the weekend to support the 03 Director.   Although it would have been nice for the weekend to be approved for all districts Darci had good numbers regardless.

We did get to meet Timmy Darci’s friend, who is a crack up.  He could be found behind her the entire weekend.  No matter where Darci was Timmy was sure to follow.  She seems to have no problem introducing him when he peeks out to say hi to everyone.  She is really fond on him, as a matter of fact if you watch Darci and Raymond run the drums Timmy will probably be peeking out on the run home from the 3rd barrel!  If you are every around let Darci know you would love to meet her little friend Timmy!

Gary and Judy Hess would be there for the weekend and have a good weekend with collecting checks though out the show.  Their daughters Kinz and Maddie are future superstars.  They are moving up in the pee wee classes and ready to take on youth.  We would enjoy the time we spent with them and talking about future ventures for the barrel racing world.  We would also enjoy their pet pig “Snowflake”  OMG thank goodness no one was selling them or we would have bought one for sure.  A tea cup pig with the personality better than most,  This picture says it all.  Thank you Hess’s for sharing your time with us this weekend. We really enjoyed ourselves.

The ground seemed a little different this weekend.  Not sure what it was not the norm though.  All in all there were some great runs, some ok ones, some fall down ones (no one was hurt) and some  not so good ones.  That is a full weekend of barrel racing.


The following weekend would find us at Gifford Illinois.  The Great Lakes NBHA Supershow.  As we sent in entries for a crew of 20 we were all excited to make the long trip to the covered arena that would proof to be a great place for Ohioan’s to do their thing.  We all looked forward to a trip to the Oasis for some prime rib… Oh it was so good.


Friday morning would bring an early ride for some of us and then the rest of the gang was spread out throughout the day and into the evening.  Some would stay for the rest of the show others would make it to the Oasis for supper and a few Snake Nuts!  Oh Snake Nuts they did return. Heath and Sara would have a few – Joel, Barbie and Chase would chase a couple down with Clea and I – Jimmy Bryant tested Joel’s ability to have snake nuts and Jose Cuervo at the same time.  Ummmmmm he did way better than Clea or I would have done.  The next day he would be heard saying “ I was walking back to the trailer and rifted that Tequila” shiver shiver – he then was seen taking a little nap on the couch at Hotel  Bloomer.  Oh Joel how we love you!

Saturday would bring everyone back for a 2nd go. With this being the last chance to get back to the finals we are all ready to ride so we can have that run on Sunday!  Everyone got their runs in and some made it back and some didn’t but we were all pulling for one another for sure.

One of the highlights of the weekend was when Madeline Shirey was getting ready to run Pierre in the youth for the first time.  Cara, Terri, Ellen, Clea and myself went out for Mexican (which was yummy) we made sure we were back to watch Madeline make her run.  I was so nervous waiting for her to come through the gate.   As about 12 of us line the fence  Maddy, in Jenna’s tan shirt with coral flowers, looking so grown up, would come in cool as a cucumber and ride Pierre up the long shoot, with two hands on her reins, making sure her horses eye was sure to see the first barrel she clearly picks out her spot where she wants her horse to be when she flys into the first barrel to make that right turn.  As I watch her do this I turn to Clea and say “she is just like her daddy and Hannah” we both agree.  We were so proud of her.  She had a great run and she was just out of the money!  Great Job Maddy

Sunday would bring the finals!  Oh KC Jane made us proud although we did not get one red cent in the finals nor a saddle L I’m still pouting.  She did get us a check in the 2nd go and we were happy about that.  Ohioans’ would have some great runs and would finish strong!  Barbie Jimison would win the 1D – Brad Shirey would win the 2D on Raymond Reynolds big Red Horse Firewater. Amy McQueen would win the 3D (and my saddle J)  Congrats to all and congrats to all who placed and came to run the cans.

This place is a great place to run, great facility, great ground, the show is always ran like we are all super stars and the next run could put us in the winner’s circle.


Until we see you again, be kind to everyone!




On the Road with Dawn and Clea

Clea and Dawn

PS  Thank you all so much for the well wishes for Clea.  She had a long grueling ride home being as ill as she was and riding in the back seat for 7 hours.  I had to put on the Betty Big Rigger hat that trip and get her home.  We thank everyone for the calls, text and post!



Kick Ass Cowgirl Jackie Luffey Harris: Part 1

Jackie on her Race for a Cause mount, Sis.

Jackie Harris has been through hell and back, and her life experiences with death, disease and despair have taught her never to stop swinging. Now that this Western Pennsylvanian cowgirl has made it through her own rough patches, she’s on a mission to help others in a way that hasn’t quite been done before in the world of barrel racing. With the help of Kick Ass Cowgirls and lots of friends, Jackie is riding for a cause. Find out all of the good things Jackie is doing in our three-part interview, just in time for the holiday season. If you’re looking for a way to make an impact this time of year, look no further! 

Tell us how you got involved in Kick Ass Cowgirls, and what you’re doing with them now.

I got involvedwith the Kick Ass Cowgirls by chance. I just happened upon their page on Facebook one day. I read about all the great things that were happening there–how they would always “pay it forward” and help others in need. I loved everything about them and how they supported each other through hardships and difficulties–or just gave each other a kick in the ass at times. At that time, they were trying to raise enough funds for a new saddle for a little girl with Retts Syndrome. I started checking every day, and helping anybody that was in need. Then, I noticed they had a “Cowgirl In Need” Contest. Described as, “Any up and coming horsewoman who needs a little extra push to get into the spotlight, get down the road to victory or is just plain down on her luck, let us know about her.” With my plans for 2012, I thought it could be a way to help me raise some funds for fuel for 2012, a friend, Beth Penland, nominated me along with several others-and I won!

I became their “poster child” for their newest contest “Race for a Cause” for 2012. I helped them put some ideas together, they wrote up the rules and are out there getting tons of awesome sponsors and prizes. The basic outline of the contest: You pay a membership fee, which gets you into the contest, a members only tshirt and a decal. You race in the same arenas you always do throughout the year. You designate a percentage (10%-100%) to go to your favorite designated charity. You keep track of your winnings and turn them into KAC. The “points” go off of your total earnings for each quarter, not your donated amount. There are four regions. Each region will have a winner/top money earner every quarter. So prizes will be given out 4 times a year to each of the four region’s. Then there will be a BIG winner for end of the year with all regions combined.

It is a great way for barrel racers to donate to a charity close to their heart and have a chance at some Kick Ass prizes as well.

What inspired you to start riding for this cause?

The thing that inspired me to race for a cause is losing my step father to cancer in October 2010 after a year long battle, then my father three months later to a heart attack in January 2011. I had several other friends and family struck with the same diseases, and always would see on Facebook friends with loved ones that were struck as well. I felt so helpless. I wanted to do more. Of course I prayed for each and every one, but I wanted to physically do something for them. My mare started improving these last several years, becoming more consistant. Seemingly, I would come home with paychecks every time I went out. I have waited for this caliber of horse since I had started barrel racing at the age of 12. One day while waiting to enter the arena, excited at my success this year, the thought came to me-I could take these winnings and donate it to The American Cancer Society and American Heart Association, and of course because I volunteer at several animal rescues, some to those organizations as well. I feel fortunate enough to finally have the horse, a great family, to have all that I need in order to participate in this sport I love so much and to spend time with my friends. I have found out in the last year or so, that life really is too short, I am thankful for what I have, and want to pay any extra I receive forward. I have started to put away the money from my last several races as well into my “fuel fund”- the way it made me feel, racing for others, is so much better than just racing for myself. I started a saddle cross collection as well, where friends and family can give me the initials of loved ones they know that are fighting, lost fight or won fight to cancer or heart disease. I feel in a small way, I am racing for them as well. I saw a quote once by Margaret Meed it stated, “Never doubt that a small group of citizens can change the World. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has”. So, I will do my best in 2012, and hope to raise as much money was possible for the charities.

What associations do you plan to compete in?

I plan on competing with the IBRA, Penn-Ohio BRA, and getting my IPRA card as well to compete at some of the rodeos in the area or a reasonable distance. It’s been a dream of mine to get my IPRA card, but if I didn’t have a consistent enough horse, I wasn’t about to do so. Again, life is short, so I’m going to do so this year while I “Race for a Cause”!

Meet Ohio’s World Champ: Owner Kristine Nagy and Lightning Starnbars

Kirby's World Championship trophy

It’s not often we can all call one of our own a world champion. This year, the Penn-Ohio area can claim Kristine Nagy’s Kirby in that elite group of locals to earn that distinction. We caught up with Kristine right after Charlie Peoples jockeyed Kirby to the AQHA Senior Pole Bending World Championship, and we want to share that interview with all of you. 

Just a special editor’s note: I’ve counted Kristine as a good friend and person to look up to since I was 14 years old. She always showed up at Penn-Ohio shows in the area, and we always exchanged encouraging words in the alleyways at Sundance, Buckhorn and other local shows. This win couldn’t have happened to a nicer lady, and I’m thrilled for her! Special congrats Kristine. 

Tell us about Kirby–how old is he, where did he come from, who started him, how long you’ve had him and been running him, how is he bred, what has he won, and any other details we need to know!

Kirby is 10 years old. Charlie Peoples started him on poles as a 2 year old.  He is an apppendix gelding, out of a TB mare and Lightning Sugar Bull. Charlie bought Kirby as a 2 year old.  He trained him, and showed him as a 3 year old in the Junior Poles at the Congress and won it. He then sold him to Brad Wagner. Kirby had several owners after that, Brad got him back and that is who I bought him from two and a half years ago.
Kirby has won a lot since I have had him.  He won the National Pole Bending Assoc. slot race in 2010. He also won the Kentucky State Fair Senior Pole Bending and finals in 2010 and 2011.  He won the Ohio IBRA Masters 1D buckle in 2011 and has placed at the Congress several times. He also has run two 19.4’s in the poles, as well as several 19.6’s.  He was in the top 5 in the nation in senior poles last year and is there this year as well.  Kirby is also a really good barrel horse.
How long has Charlie Peoples been running Kirby and why does he run him?
When I got Kirby, we had some difficulties.  He can be a little strong and was wanting to go faster than I did!  I knew Charlie had owned him, and asked him for help. He has ran him off and on for the last three seasons. It took about 6 months for Kirby and I to become a team. We have done well together, but we have never become the team that Charlie and Kirby are. They just click! So, I run him on a weekly basis, but Charlie runs him at the big shows. He just does a better job than I do!

Kirby's championship buckle

Talk us through your season this year. Has Kirby been on fire all year, or did this run come out of nowhere?

Kirby is always on fire! It has taken me three years to get some of the fire out of him. He has been running good all year. The only thing that we did differently this year, than in the past two, was have Charlie take him home for two weeks before the Congress. In the past, Charlie just hopped on him at the shows and ran. In the last month, Charlie has made 8 pole runs on him, and only knocked once. So, they were on a roll! It is always amazing to watch them run.
What do the next few months hold for Kirby? Will he have the winter off, or will he be run more?
Kirby is now on vacation. I don’t plan on running him again. I have several interested buyers and am probably going to sell him. I will be very particular about where he goes, and it has been a really tough decision, but it is the right one. He is a once in a lifetime horse, and those are hard to let go of.
What bit does Kirby run in and why?
Kirby runs in a lifter bit, with a simple snaffle mouth and a loose curb chain. He runs harder in a Bobby Stivers hack, but he also catches a few more poles with it. So we went to the lifter bit this year for a little more safety. He is actually really well broke and light mouthed.
What supplements does Kirby get, and what feed and hay do you feed?
Kirby is fed ADM SeniorGlo. It is a low starch feed. I believe in feeding very little grain, and lots of hay. I feed second-cut, mixed hay. Each horse gets nearly a bale a day, but only about 1-2 lbs of grain. The only supplement that Kirby gets is MSM. He is also on Adequan. I do the full loading dose with each horse and then they get a dose sometimes every other week, depending on how much they are competing.
Has Kirby ever had any major injuries?
Kirby has not had any injuries or lameness issues since I have owned him, other than one cut that required stitches. He is really tough and really sound.
Does he need any regular chiropractics or vetting?
Kirby has never had the chiropractor and has had minimal hock maintance.  His left hock is fused, so we only have one to deal with!  He is really a tough horse and does not let you know if he is sore ~ you have to be really aware of him and how he goes to be sure he is not hurting.
What makes Kirby the champion he is?
Kirby is a champion at heart. He is easy because he travels well and nothing bothers him.   He is mischeiveous, difficult, funny, playful, annoying, and most of all, too smart!  He will challenge you on anything, but once you earn his heart, he will do anything for you.  He love treats and loves to play.  He enjoys people and loves attention. He has more personality than any horse I have ever owned.  He also bites!  He is just too smart for his own good.  Like Charlie says at the end of his AQHA interview, “He is just a good horse….he’s just one of those good horses.” That really says it all!

On the Road with Dawn and Clea (Part 2)

Champion Anne Johnson and Show Me Some Glory

Well now for The Best of the Best

I could type til heck wouldn’t have it but I am going to give you the run down on the show and we want to tell everyone THANK YOU THANK YOU from the people who bought T-shirts to the people who sponsored a class, we could not have done it with out you!

If you were not there here is how it rolled: We arrived early on Friday as we wanted to get all the auction items set up and ready for what we were hoping to be a nice-size crowd. We knew the stalls were sold out so it was a sign that the crowd was going to be a half decent size. WOW we had no idea…

Chelsea Toy was getting in to the airport at 1:30 and we had to get her picked up and back to the ranch so she could meet The Best of the Best Riders and help with the auction. We pulled into the one-horse airport and as Chels walked out she looked like a walking fashion cowgirl diva! She can rock the hip western look FOR SURE. (Editor’s note: I’m shaking my head at you two, who also looked fabulous.) 

Meantime back at the ranch! We wait for the NBHA 07 Friday Night Show to be over – and it was a long night – but Marley and her family hung right in there.

Well it is after 11 p.m. and we are ready to start – Oh did we tell you that earlier in the day Channel 13 from Toledo came out and interviewed us for a small piece on the nightly news? Then at midnight the SUPER REPORTER who worked 19 hours came back out to film the riders and get more intel for the morning show! It was awesome. We owe Barbie Jimison for emailing and calling the station about the event! U ROCK BARB! We love you for that and love you for the fabulous person you are!

So we gather every one in the back of a borrowed Dodge truck because there were so many vehicles on the grounds that everyone was blocked in. At one point Clea took this picture from the top of our trailer which did not even show a smidgen of the people there. They were parked out on County Road B just to come watch The Best of the Best!

So with the Rickly Family in hand and Chase Marshall driving, we enter the arena to the announcing of Ellen McKee. The music is playing and she is introducing Marley THEN… you guessed it things were going way too good. We had issues with the announcing system. As Clea and I look at each other like ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? We just roll with it. Hollie Horn – A very special friend – read a heart-warming writing that she wrote from Marley’s view. Of course I cried – that is what I do – and yes you guessed it Clea did too! Thank you Hollie your words will be with us forever. We love you!

We start the calcutta and things roll right on. We are now ready for the race to begin. Marley gets a few photo ops and then hits the hay! THANK YOU MARLEY and the entire family for staying up for the race to begin.

As the Best of the Best race starts we are anxiously awaiting the 1st horse to cross the timer line, but first we must give our attention to Eddie Gibson. He got the race started with singing our national Anthem and a moment of prayer for a safe trip for each participant. He did an awesome job and we were so blessed to have him with us! THANK YOU EDDIE

And the race begins!

Haley Patterson running her horse Val is the first to enter the pen Poker Face by Lady GaGa playing in the back ground Haley lays down a 16.213 – A great start to the race. Next to enter the arena is our rodeo gal Ashley Hopkinson with a fitting song Country Girl with a deep first barrel she clocks a 16.864, Nice Job Ashley! Next to run before the drag is Taylor Schnitkey running to the song Stockyards. Taylor lays down a respectable 16.621 These ladies set the pace for the next drag

Next in on the top of the drag is Regan Henning who chose the song Dynamite to blaze up the shoot to and that she did. She showed that her 2010 Congress win and many other races on her horse Story Tellen Flower is why she was in the Best of the Best. She puts the winning time at this point of 16.101 on the board. Next in to try to take the lead is Abi Ringer jamming to Eye of the Tiger she has a little difficulty and clocks a 17.229 but always nice to see Abi roll into the arena to do her best. Last in the drag is Rhonda Dowell on her horse Levi. Rhonda made us proud with a clean 16.763 Rocking to Bruce Springsteen’s Glory Days. These are all of our glory days! Any day here is a Glory Day!

6 horses down and 18 to go! The mood in the back is great. The young riders are so pleased to be with the veteran riders and most said after the race – they were just happy to be invited and be able to run with the best in ohio! Made our day!

Drag 3 in rolls Justin Theado and his smoking Paint horse An Angels Treasure. He came in like a fighter plane running to Top Guns theme song. This team posted a smoother than Tom Cruise run of 16.334. WAY TO GO JUSTIN. Next in would be Natalie Davidson on Jeter Bug and although she is sweet enough she came in with Pour some sugar on Me playing in the back ground for about 16.353 seconds. Mikayla Conklin would be next in with “I like it” from Madagascar and although the song was rocking unfortunately so was one of Mikayla’s barrels. She gave it a great effort and showed she belonged right there with the rest of the Best!

Drag Time number 4 – Reagan still leads it with Haley 2nd.

Enter Crystal Haskins who had to substitute her horse Dixie because of injury issues for a young horse her and her husband Josh have trained. She rolled in to Rock & Roll all nite and put a talented 17.186 on the board. So proud of you being there Crystal. In next is one of the youth that will be sure one to watch over the years to come Hannah Shirey on Pierre her song Bad to the Bone fits her to a T. Hannah clocks a 16.460 with a deep barrel. Way to go banana! Next enter the ever talented Penny Baker with a little CCR Down on the Corner playing. Penny and Matrix scream up the shoot with the crowd cheering and lay down a time of 16.280. Time for our favorite tractor driver Tom Theado.

Lisa Bowser and ACDC’s Thunderstruck is the next to run. Her great horse Chaney carried Lisa to a 16.708. Next in would be Macie Davidson running to Lady Gaga’a On the Edge of Glory. This little gal and her horse Tuff are on the edge and tough. Macie ran a 16.020 but unfortunately with a barrel down it became a NT. Macie you and your partner are going to be a team to be reckoned with. Tausha Schneider and Ted were jammin to “I Like Big Butts” (I know you all are singing this right now!) as she blazed through the timers with the same luck as Macie she would have a NT. Both of these gals from down Salem way were still a joy to watch.

Drag Time- Reagan is still sitting in on top the leader board.

Cheyenne Niekamp which is Lisa Bowser’s daughter was thrilled to be running in the company of the other riders and did an outstanding job on her horse MP Sugar Baby posting a 16.466. Well now we have Anne Johnson, all 96 pounds of her, running to Smooth Criminal, and she would prove to be at this point the best. On a run that almost wasn’t due to a mailing issue Annie and Show Me Some Glory was shown the money after posting her 16.022. This would move her into the lead. Morgan Henning would be next to run on Perky and running to Welcome to the Jungle (which seems fitting now as they do live by Zanesville) but the barrels would prove to be a little tipsy and Morgan would leave the arena with a NT

Drag time Now we know that Anne is sitting first and Reagen second.

Katie McGrain – a local to this arena – comes in the arena to Katie Wants a Fast One and a fast one she would have running a 16.372 would get her in the top 10! Next in is a favorite of ours Brad Shirey running to Mr Good Time and the song fits. He and Schrek would post a NT for the race but would still prove to have a great time for the weekend. Sarah Boucher and Happy would be next in and unfortunately would have the same issue as Mr Good Time a downed barrel marking a NT. Both of these Besties had a little bad luck in this race but are still on our list as the best!

Last Drag Right now it sits Anne, Reagan, Haley

Some always say that you leave the best for last… WE like to think that all the riders in the race are the best. We will tell you that the next 3 riders are the best in one sense or another.

As Ellen announces Kelly Bowser the tune Wild Thing starts to play! If you have ever cheered for Kelly while riding you will see him talk to you and cheer back as he rounds any barrel. Kelly and Snoopy would have the same fate as Brad and Sarah but would leave the arena with a smile. Next would be the million dollar man Troy Crumrine running to I wanna be a Rockstar – HE IS!! Him and Hoosier would following the past 3 riders footsteps to receive a NT! Last in would be a crowd favorite and a local to the area and arena. Barbara Jimison had the tune Girls Just Wanna Have Fun playing as her and her horse Miss Secret Memories (CC) would come in the arena in style as this team always does and they would post a time good enough to take 3rd in the race overall!

THE RACE IS OVER! The night was long but the outcome was to say the least unforgettable!

Annie wins it all and not far behind is Regan Henning, Barbie Jimison, Haley Patterson, Penny Baker and Justin Theado (Kudos to Justin he was the only male rider that left them all standing and finished 6th! Rock on Justin. For his win, he earned THREE shirts from Panhandle Slim!)

Everyone got in for the group photo and prizes were handed out. After the group photo everyone scattered as it was late and I assume everyone wanted to get to bed – well some of you – we still had some salsa from JPT Salsa Company to hand out. Well let me tell you this was a prize that everyone would want so the next day we tracked every rider down and they got their salsa! Thanks Jodi and Peyton!

The Calcutta paid off greatly for a few! For those of you who have never been involved in a calcutta at a barrel race here is how it works.

A horse and rider team steps up to the auction block and the auctioneer starts to place bids on the horse and rider. Whomever buys the horse stands to win a fist full of money of their horse/rider team comes in 1st 2nd or whatever places they are paying in the calcutta payout.

Mari Guido hit the jackpot with buying Anne Johnson for $120.00 and won over $900.00 Dave T spent a couple hundred and won twice that and Mr. Loder took a chance on a Best of the Best team and came out ahead by $250.00.

As you can see if you have never participated in a calcutta auction you might want to in the future. May just put a little cashola in your pocket!

Daryl Karnes was our auctioneer and we were so happy to have him be part of the event. THANK YOU DARYL

Our total amount that we collected on behalf of Team Marley was $2,877.50 which we thought was pretty darn good for something that was put together in 40 days. It was not the ark but it was touched by the hand of the Good Lord, just like everything is! We want to thank everyone for their support in this race, and we are already looking forward to a bigger and better show for next year. We know we will be doing a 4 or 5D and some additional races as well as The Best of the Best! Might be only Ohio might be Ohio plus another State! Stay tuned for with The Barrel Racing Blog for all the details!

Well Chels – that is it for the Best of the Best Blog! There was a million things we could have listed, said or told you about but we must get this one in and the one for congress started! We feel like we are back on track and not chasing our tails!

Have a great week and we miss you dearly!

Until next time – remember “don’t forget to have your pet spayed or neutered.”

Dawn and Clea

On the Road with Dawn and Clea

Have a great day…… Dawn

Best of the Best in Ohio Barrel Race Videos and Photos

Yikes! I’ve been so swamped at works folks, I’ve been MIA on here lately. And my cohorts on the editorial end have been even busier catching up with everything. Dawn and Clea have been working, running and making some around-the-barn improvements, so we’ve all let you down lately.

We’ll be catching up for sure in the coming weeks, but for now, we’ve got all of your multimedia coverage from the Best of the Best in Ohio Barrel Race! Again, we want to send a huge Thank You! to our awesome sponsors, Greeley Hat Works and Rod’s Western Palace, Rock and Roll Cowgirl and Panhandle Slim, Chick’s Saddlery, Cowboy Militia, G4 Ranch, and everyone who sponsored our Chinese Auction!

Champion Anne Johnson and Show Me Some Glory

Reserve Champion Regan Henning and Story Tellen Flower

Third-place finishers Barbara Jimison and Miss Secret Memories

Highest-placing male, Justin Theado and An Angels Treasure (6th place)

And now, check out their winning runs! First is Anne Johnson.

Here’s second place winner, Regan Henning:

And here’s Barbara Jimison’s third place run:

Best of the Best in Ohio Winner Anne Johnson

Anne and Jules during the calcutta (Congrats to Mari Beth Guido for her winning bid!)

Anne Johnson smoked the competition on her breeding stock Paint at the Best of the Best in Ohio Barrel Race, after she won the Open that same night. We’ve got her here on The Barrel Racing Blog to talk all about her awesome run, what the competition was like, and even some of her secrets to success! Stay tuned over the next two days. Plus, we’re busy counting all the money raised for United Cerebral Palsy, and we’ll have those figures ASAP! 

Why did you decide to run the Open Friday night?

I have never ran at the WB before and I really wanted a chance to get in the arena to check things out before the big race. And the more runs Jules makes the faster she gets so I knew my second run would be faster than the first.

After your win in the Open , how was your confidence going into the Best of the Best?

Getting that first run out of the way really helped. My horse seemed to like the ground and the pen so I felt like I could just go out and have fun!

Walk us through your run, barrel by barrel. How did Jules work and what was each turn like?

It’s really tough looking back on my run because after I turned first barrel I knew I had a good one going; it was all about pushing her after that. She worked just like she always does, down in four-wheel drive position…but even this run surprised me. She really ran her heart out. I think she wanted the title as much as I did.

Did you think your time would hold?

It was really hard to tell. The competition was so tough, however extremely supportive. One good run can change everything, anyone that has ever ran a 4D knows that. So basically I just stood next to Hannah Shirey and Justin Theado and waited it out. It was nice to be amongst friends back there.

What was the best part of your win?

I guess knowing that we could do it. Anyone who puts time in on a horse knows that there is no better feeling than a win, a goal reached or problem conquered. And all the support from everyone.