Riley Creech and Jeweled In Gold were the talk of youth barrel racing in the Pee Wee Slot Race at The Panty Raid Futurity in Springfield, Ohio, on April 15-16, capturing both rounds with times of 16.373 and 15.926 seconds, respectively.
Creech’s win came at one of the country’s leading showcases for young jackpot competitors, in a Pee Wee Slot Race that pitted the best 10 youth under 10 years old at the event. The unique format took the top 10 from the Panty Raid’s Pee-Wee long round and gave them the chance to dual it out under the bright lights and blaring music of Springfield’s Champion Center Arena. Creech and her mare understood the assignment.
The run was “exhilarating,” according to 10-year-old Creech. She and her family and supporters were all smiles, high-fives, and a whirlwind of excitement for the cowgirl as the event producer’s “On The Road” crew rolled out the red carpet after her win.
“My hero is my mom,” Creech said. “I just want to thank her for training Jewel so well and letting me run her.”
Momma Creech bought now 7-year-old “Jewel” through a Missouri auction as a green-broke 3-year-old. The mare didn’t have anything flashy on her papers, but the price was right.
“Her bid started out at $800 and my husband was like ‘Hey, do you want to bid on this thing?’” Jenna explained. “We bought her for $1,300.”
Jenna feared that the nervous filly may never have the mind to make a barrel horse. She even tried to sell her at one point. However, nobody seemed interested in the mare, so Creech set her mind to making her work slowly and correctly for several years.
By the summer of 2021, Jewel was progressing with promise. Meanwhile, the Creeches set to retire the 22-year-old horse that Riley had been jockeying in Pee Wee competitions. The family found the perfect horse for Riley to step up to the next level aboard, but a month into their partnership, the horse colicked and died after surgery. It was the height of barrel racing season for Ohio residents, and Riley was horseless. The family decided that Riley would have to borrow one of her mom’s mounts.
“We went to a local barn and decided to see which horse she could ride,” Jenna said. “We didn’t think Riley would be able to ride Jewel because she’s so fiery. But, they clicked and they’ve done really well.”
With the electric Slot Race short go crowd, Creech did everything that she could to keep her daughter calm and focused. Mrs. Creech became emotional when recalling the moments before the run.
“I told her to have fun—oh, now I’m crying—I said, ‘Whatever happens, happens. Good luck!’” Creech explained.
With Riley’s win at The Panty Raid comes a coveted spot into the Best of The Best Pee Wee Slot Race in Springfield, Ohio, in August. Four other Pee Wee contenders—Avalyn Zehrender, Piper Kiphart, Emra Dowell, and Parker Sobota— also earned an invite to the event.
The pressure of the electric crowd in the Champions Center arena helped the Pee Wee athletes bring their A-game, but their counterparts in the Youth Slot Race struggled on Saturday. Of the 10 who qualified, only four kept all three barrels standing. Reigning NBHA Teen World Champion Summer Pauly was the crowd favorite after topping the long go with a 15.655 aboard TJ Whippet Lady Luck and qualifying on 4-year-old Cathy’s Kandy with a 15.833.
However, it was 12-year-old Cheyanne Hendrixson and Josey who took advantage of the clean slate format and ran a 16.080, earning their youth barrel racing win by playing it safe. The remaining clean runs—made by Chloe Whitesel, Sierra Baker, and Mikayla Dietrich– earned exemptions to the Best of The Best Youth Slot Race in August.
The Best of the Best (BOTB) Youth and Pee Wee Slot races at the BOTB event in Ohio each August. BOTB youth barrel racing qualifiers are held at approved events throughout the year in various locations around states like Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and New York. It is a coveted competition for young competitors to run in.
“We love our kiddos, but not everybody gets a trophy. If you want the prizes, you have to work for them at our shows,” said producer Dawn Shirey.
The BOTB “On The Road,” crew treats the kids that do earn their spot in the event like royalty, pulling out all the stops when it comes to prizes, and payout, and spectators pack out the building each year to see which of those in the youth barrel racing earn the BOTB title.
Pee Wee Slot Race, Short go
- Riley Creech on Jeweled In Gold, 15.926-second run, worth $190
- Avalyn Zehender on Up To Par Joe, 16.188-second run, worth $150
- Piper Kiphart on LSF Down Home Tuxedo, 16.379-second run, worth $120
- Emra Dowell on Shes A French Hero, 16.438-second run, worth $100
- Parker Sobota on Call Him Cash, 16.918-second run, worth $0
Pee Wee Slot Race-Long Go
- Riley Creech on Jeweled in Gold, 16.373-second run, worth $90
- Avalyn Zehender on Up To Par Joe, 16.563-second run, worth $70
- Emra Dowell on Shes A French Hero, 16.597-second run, worth $40
- Piper Kiphart on LSF Down Home Tuxedo, 18.005-second run, worth $145
- Brylee Diles on Spunk, 19.094-second run, worth $45
- Mia Dowell on Ruby, 19.964-second run, worth $35
- Faye Shirey on Snowflake, 19.964-second run, worth $20
Youth Slot Race-Short go
- Cheyanne Hendrixson on Josey, 16.080-second run, worth $190
- Chloe Whitesel on JTS Stick A Dynamite, 16.099-second run, worth $150
- Sierra Baker on MC Sunfrost Kashmir, 16.157-second run, worth $120
- Mikayla Dietrick on American Prom, 16.197-second run, worth $100
Youth Slot Race- Long Go
- Summer Pauly on TJ Whippet Lady Luck, 15.665-second run, worth $430
- Chloe Whitesel on JTS Stick A Dynamite, 15.756-second run, worth $345
- Braia Vogel on Rockette Scientist, 15.806-second run, worth $290
- Summer Pauly on Cathys Kandy, 15.833-second run, worth $200
- Sierra Lauharn on April, 16.074-second run, worth $175
- Mikayla Dietrich on American Prom, 16.167-second run, worth $310
- Sierra Baker on MC Sunfrost Kashmir, 16.232-second run, worth $250
- Lola Stillion, Precious Six Moons, 16.280-second run, worth $210
- Cheyenne Hendrixson on Josey, 16.294-second run, worth $150
- Emilee Legg on Lighting Shadazey, 16.366-second run, worth $125
- Kierra White on Zans Diamond Jae, 16.711-second run, worth $210
- Nina Shirey on Rooster, 16.735-second run, worth $170
- Morgan Newhouse on Kings Dirty Devil, 16.877-second run, worth $140
- Logan Worley on Flirting Little Fuel, 16.925-second run, worth $100
- Hannah Mullins on RM StepIntoTheLights, 16.978-second run, worth $85