Poppino’s Goose Nominated for Top 2009 Open Gelding by BRR

The last issue of the Barrel Racing Report released earlier this week announced the nominees for the top barrel horses of 2009, and The Barrel Racing Blog‘s good friend Tana Poppino found her grey gelding’s name on the list.

Doc Hickorys Cross, Poppino’s eight-year-old grey gelding, won the Better Barrel Races Finals, besting almost 1,500 of the top horses in the country.

“I don’t go to a lot of 4Ds, but I’ve done well at several different producers’ shows,” Poppino said. “It’s just nice that somebody else thinks he’s a nice horse. I’ve been blessed.”

She wasn’t surprised with the nomination, though, as “Goose” has been excelling on the job since Poppino’s two-time NFR qualifying-mount Amigo (Perryman Star) got hurt last year. Goose had big shoes to fill – in 2007, Amigo had won $100,000 claiming the championship at the Calgary Stampede. But since then, Goose has hardly looked back, as he has taken Poppino to the pay window time and time again, and he’s just getting started for 2010. He’ll be sharing time, this year though, with a healthy Amigo.

This year, Poppino’s had some knocks but took home second place money in the first round of the Odessa, Texas, PRCA rodeo. She’s also gotten some national attention when she was featured in More Magazine’s February issue, which details Poppino’s reinvention from marketing executive to pro barrel racer.

To vote for Goose, or any other top horses of 2009, visit The Barrel Racing Report to vote online!


“Pretty Ladies on Fast Horses” …But What About the Men?

Should men be allowed to barrel race in rodeos?

At barrel shows across the country, men are equal to women. Men share the spotlight with women in the National Barrel Horse Association and International Barrel Racing Association, yet, traditionally, the same men are not allowed in the rodeo pen.

Recently, Barrel Horse News posted a question to their readers on their Facebook site, asking readers if they felt men should be allowed to compete in pro rodeo. Women dominated the responses, with most saying that men should stay out of rodeo. But, the real question is, is this truly fair or are women sticking to tradition just for tradition’s sake?

At this year’s AQHA Congress, the Top 6 fastest times and ten of the Top 15 in the coveted Wenger Sweepstakes Finals were men. Trainers like Bret Monroe, Troy Crumrine and Lance Graves have helped take barrel racing to a new level, with younger, faster horses. This statement is not meant to take anything away from top talents like Brittany Pozzi, Lindsey Sears or even Charmayne James, but can women really say we’re the best in the world if we aren’t really competing against some of the world’s top talent? It’s kind of like the international baseball argument – is the World Series of Baseball truly the World Series when top Japanese or other international teams are not included?

Some of the arguments made on Barrel Horse News’s post suggest that women have to work hard enough as it is in professional rodeo that adding men to the mix would make things unfair for women. While women absolutely do work very, very hard, some of their horses are trained by greats like Lance Graves, and who is not to say that he didn’t work hard?

Personally, I grew up competing against some of the best youth in Pennsylvania and Ohio, male and female. I didn’t see gender as a youth. I never said, “I’m the best female youth,” or “He’s the best male barrel racer I know.”

I highly, highly doubt that rodeo will change it’s male-female policies any time soon, yet I just worry that stigmas attached to certain genderized issues can almost always be harmful. If women shun men from a “women’s” sport, I worry that women will be received the same by men when they try to make the same changes. Female friends of mine that rope have discussed going to round robins and men purposefully missing for them and going to jackpots where they cannot find a decent partner to save their soul. Double standards, in any case, can be dangerous.

And The Winner Is….Hilltop Arena!

TheBarrelRacingBlog’s Top Indoor Arena in Pennsylvania and Ohio is HillTop Arena in Byesville, Ohio! It beat out Circle G Arena in Lewisburg, Ohio, and Buckhorn Arena in West Sunbury, Pennsylvania, as the top vote-getter.

Earlier in the summer, TheBarrelRacingBlog reviewed an NBHA at Byesville, where over 250 horses ran in the warm-up alone. HillTop’s long alleyway opens up to smaller covered arena where a 15.0 usually wins the barrel race. 

Vote in the Poll! What’s the best indoor in PA or OH?

Barrel racers in Pennsylvania and Ohio bounce back and forth across state lines each weekend, and everyone probably has their own favorite arena. This poll is about show arenas – do you prefer the shorter runs at Simmons Equestrian Center or the mammoth run to the first barrel at Diamond 7? Do you like to short alleyway at Henderson’s Arena or the long one at Hilltop? I don’t have enough space in my poll to fit all of the arenas I want to offer, but I have put in as many as possible.