🦈Swimming With Sharks: Benjamin Beall and Slick Swingin Speed to Pink Buckle Victory

Don’t miss this story of Beall’s big win, the friends and mentors who helped him find his way and how their efforts produced an epic second chance for one royally bred futurity horse.
Benjamin Beall and Slick Swingin at Pink Buckle
Courtesy Pink Buckle by Lexi Smith Media

Benjamin Beall is just livin’ the dream.  

Beall just won the Pink Buckle Futurity presented by Classic Equine in Guthrie, Oklahoma, October 3-9, 2022, aboard Slick Swingin, a 2017 gelding by Slick By Design and out of the standout mare Hip Swingin Gypsy x FireWaterOnTheRocks. Their 16.906 in the first round earned them second place in the first round and was followed by a 16.914 that finished third in the second round. Their combined time of 33.820 seconds on two earned the aggregate championship, which produced total earnings of $84,500 for owner Ashley Harvey, $10,563 for breeder Pete Oen, and $10,563 for Highpoint Barrel Horses, owners of Slick By Design.  

“I just tried to stay calm,” Beall said. “At the Ruby Buckle, he was third in the first round, and then I got in his way the second round and messed it up. That was in my mind this week. But I was calmer during the second round. I took a deep breath going in the alley—I just wanted to have a smooth run. When I saw he clocked that 16.91, I started crying. I wasn’t expecting that.”  

Beall didn’t just shock himself—he shocked the entire audience of barrel racing enthusiasts across the Lazy E grounds. With names like Ryann Pedone, Mark Bugni and Ashley Schafer hot on his heels, onlookers were instantly trying to figure out who this slim, quiet trainer was.  

So, who is Benjamin Beall? 

Beall grew up in North Louisiana, outside of the spotlight. Raised around rodeo and barrel racing, he had a passion for the sport from his earliest memories. About the time Beall started high school, his mother, Stacy Robinson, told him if he wanted a great horse, he had to train one.  

So, he did. Reds Native Chinook was the first standout horse Beall trained. Reds Native Chinook was by Reds Western Native, and Merrill O’Neal, the owner of that stallion, helped Beall immensely in his teenage training days.

Full Circle Bloodlines: Reds Western Native, the sire of the first great horse Beall trained as a teenager, is an own son of On The Money Red. Similarly, Slick By Design, Slick Swingin’s sire, is a grandson of On The Money Red.

Beall became a well-known name in the Southeastern barrel racing sphere, having success at Lucky Dog Productions and other regional races, before subsequently heading out West and placing at races like the Barrel Futurities of America. 

Flashback: Benjamin Beall and Reds Native Chinook at a 2008 barrel race.

“I’ve been around,” Beall said. “I guess I’ve always placed. Second here, fifth here—I’ve always been a bridesmaid, never the bride.”  

After realizing that training barrel horses was his calling in life, Beall decided it was time to swim out to bigger waters, venturing outside of Louisiana. He wanted to test the most shark-infested waters while he was at it, so he contacted Ashley and Josh Harvey, owners of Outlaw Equine in Decatur, Texas, and asked if they would be willing to hire him so that he could make the move. They agreed and welcomed him on board their team at the rehabilitation center. They knew that his talents surpassed rehabilitating horses, however, and decided to task Beall with a few of their horses, which helped grow his training business in Texas. 

Wyatt Paul is a full-time trainer at OE, and he and Beall became close collaborators, learning which horses would succeed in each of their individual programs. Beall eventually moved to Weatherford and began training horses full-time, maintaining contact with the Harvey’s and Paul. 

What about Slick Swingin?

Meanwhile, the Harveys had become interested in a foal whose mother they were familiar with. They had done vet work on Hip Swingin Gypsy throughout her standout career in America and heard that Pete Oen had a yearling for sale out of her and by Slick By Design. They were big fans of the mare, who gained notoriety during her aged event career for her explosive speed and showstopping beauty, among other traits. 

“One of the biggest qualities I see that “Swinger,” passed over to “Slinger,” and the rest of her foals is her big, natural stride. It’s what makes it look so effortless for them and helps them cover ground during the run.”

Pete Oen

“I’m big on mare power, and that mare—she has a confidence about her,” Ashley said. “It’s like, you knew when the chips were down, you could go for it and count on her. I really liked that.”  

She continued, 

“I had never ridden a Slick (By Design) before, but he’s just been so prominent in our industry–we were excited to try one.” 

Slinger as a foal. Images courtesy of Ashley Harvey.

So, they purchased the foal and raised it up. After their colt starter put 90 days on him, the horse came to Paul for barrel training. Paul hadn’t done anything incorrect with the horse, but the two just weren’t clicking. It was clear that “Slinger,” would need a different level of attention to reach his highest potential, so they sent the nervous gelding down to Beall’s midway through his 3-year-old year.  

“Ben really helped that horse with whatever he was going through at the time,” Ashley mused. “He just took his time with him.” 

“He just doesn’t trust people,” Beall said. “If I’m not with him, he gets nervous. I gained his trust, and he gained mine. I spent the first two months just riding him out in the pasture.”  

Beall and Slinger have developed a special bond throughout their time together.

Beall began to see promise in the gelding but took things extra slow. When it came time for him to hit the futurity trail as a 5-year-old, Beall was struggling with his approach to the first barrel, and the two weren’t getting close to the can or the cash. Ashley Schafer suggested that veteran trainer Kelly Conrado might be able to help Beall at the Fizz Bomb Classic in Gillette, Wyoming. 

“After the first round, I watched Benjamin and the colt in the auxiliary arena, got on the colt and then spent some time showing Benjamin a few things to help them out,” Conrado said. “He stayed pretty late, then he met me early in the morning before the second go-round and worked on things again. He placed pretty high in the next round and made a really good run. Since then, he’s done great. He kept with the process and now he gets to really show that colt off. It’s been fun.”  

Since the Fizz Bomb, Slinger and Beall have been on a hot streak, and their runs at the Pink Buckle were icing on the cake for the year.  

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“We have always known that horse had the talent and was capable,” Harvey said, her voice filled with emotion. “But to have it all finally come together, it’s just incredible. I’m so proud of both of them.”  

“I just want to thank Ashley and Josh,” Beall said. “They believed in me, helped me make it to Texas and gave me the chance to ride this horse, and I am so grateful. And Wyatt has helped me so much, especially this year.” 

As Beall turned his truck back to Texas from Oklahoma, he noted that he was still trying to wrap his mind around the fairytale week. Beall will mostly be staying local until the Barrel Futurities of America World Championship Finals in November, and in 2023 he is handing the reins over to Ashley, hopeful that Slinger will take to the rodeo trail. 

“I would love to see Ashley win at the rodeos and eventually go on the road with (Slinger),” Beall said. “That would be a dream.”