Dear Barrel Racer: Slow Down

Much like a barrel horse, sometimes barrel racers need a gentle reminder to slow down and enjoy the moment.
James Reuff Photography

Dear barrel racer,

Thanksgiving marks a day of gratitude for the majority of Americans, but for barrel racers it’s often just a marker.

It means the most exciting 10 days of the year are around the corner. It means that you, a barrel racer or fan of the sport, are scouring every inch of the internet to learn about the top 15 barrel racers in the world. 

Many of you are just getting home from the Barrel Futurities of America World Championships, and I’d take a guess that you are gearing up for some Thanksgiving weekend barrel races. 

Real talk. 

I’ll be the first to admit that barrel racing is an ever-changing sport. The event itself is as fast-paced as the lives of those who participate in it.  And that makes it hard to slow down. I’ve been guilty of this in the past—of being so wrapped up in the next run that I forget to enjoy the one I just made. 

I write this as I sit on a plane on the way to visit my sister and 3-year-old nephew for Thanksgiving, just before I make the trek to Las Vegas, where I will live for over two weeks at the South Point. So, I encourage you to do what I’m going to do on Thanksgiving—put the electronics down and spend time with the living, breathing humans around you.

Isn’t that why most of us started this sport called barrel racing? It’s not just a love of horses, it’s a love for the people that you meet along the way, for the friends that become family at those weekend barrel races.

My nephew helps remind me to slow down—after all, he will only be this little once.

Just slow down.

We make our barrel horses slow down—after all, when their brains gets moving faster than their feet, the result is usually some kind of error. “Smooth is fast,” as the old saying goes.

Slowing Your Horse’s Feet Down, with Jane Melby

I’m going to let you in on a little secret that I’ve learned from talking to many of the ladies who are headed to the Thomas and Mack in December, or who have made the trek in the past. Shali Lord may have said it best whenever I asked what she would tell herself at her first Mountain States Circuit Finals if she had the chance—which also happened to be the first year she went to the National Finals Rodeo.

“If I could go back, I’d tell myself to just take it all in and enjoy every moment. From the circuit finals to the NFR, sometimes when you looks back you’re like ‘Wow, that was amazing,’ and you might not have realized it at the time. I’ve always enjoyed every moment, but sometimes you get too caught up to really enjoy it. Just take it all in and have fun, for sure.”

Shali Lord

In the pursuit of that extra tenth, where is the rest for the rider? You give your horses time off when they’ve been traveling and exerting themselves. It keeps them fresh and enjoying their job. Shoot, the best in the world have been resting as they prepare for their NFR voyage. When asked what she would be up to after the Prairie Circuit Finals, Emily Beisel said the following,

“Honestly, my husband and I are taking a short vacation this week. We need it.” 

Emily Beisel

So, don’t stress yourself out this holiday season. You don’t have to scour the internet and social media trying to find every piece of information on every barrel racer at the NFR–our team’s got you covered

We’re releasing round coverage each evening following the performance, and you can expect each round winner’s interview to be posted on The Money Barrel Podcast by the time you’re drinking coffee the next morning. We’ll be releasing horse stories and spotlighting NFR first-timers daily so you don’t miss a single detail, and we’ve got a panel of experts on standby to draw up cheat sheets on each round, so that you don’t have to go scouring social media for results, insider scoop, the draw or anything else. 

We’ve even got a remote team ready to cover the events happening outside of the Thomas and Mack, because the barrel racers competing in the rest of the country deserve their moment in the spotlight, too. 

So do us a favor, and focus on your family, horses and goals this December. Our team is tuned up, rested and ready to deliver barrel racing coverage around-the-clock, right at your fingertips. 

See you on the arena dirt,

Casey Allen

BRM Managing Editor