Professional barrel racer Sharin Hall and her brilliant equine partner Hello Stella captivated the collective attention of the barrel racing industry when they set a futurity earnings record in 2021 by banking more than $400,000 in a single season with championships at the likes of the Pink Buckle, Breeders Challenge, and more. Knowing full well the exceptional grit and talent of her once-in-a-lifetime mount, the Pilot Point, Texas, horse trainer has capitalized on the opportunity to bolster earnings by nominating via the World Champions Rodeo Alliance Virtual Rodeo Qualifier (VRQ).
“Honestly, I’ve been doing this a long time and learned that there are very, very few horses that come along with the work ethic, the heart and desire like Hello Stella has demonstrated,” said Hall. “I’ve learned to channel those characteristics and use it to my benefit. I’m pretty confident that when we don’t hit a barrel, we’re going to be able to win something and that’s just a pretty great feeling that you don’t have with every horse. That’s the kind of horse you have to have to set earnings records. Last year was just an unbelievable year for us that I’m honestly still processing.”
Hall is currently 6th in the WRWC Segment W22 Pro Series standings and is looking forward to a trip to the Women’s Rodeo World Championship May 18 at Cowtown Coliseum in the Fort Worth Stockyards, a berth she earned by virtue of generic qualification during the Royal Crown race in February.
The WRWC features the Top 40 women in the world going head-to-head in team roping, breakaway roping, and barrel racing. A collective $750,000 will be on the line, with $182,500 being paid out in each discipline and each event champion leaving the Cowtown Coliseum with a minimum of $60,000. Each event champion will walk away with $60,000 while the all-around world champion will earn a $20,000 cash bonus. WRWC will also award each world champion a $5,000 bonus per discipline per leaderboard.
One Run Pays Dividends
“One thing I do love about the VRQ is that when you just do the futurities you can enter your event and make one run but it’s nice because it’s the same as entering another side pot,” Hall said. “You’re already entered so it just gives you a chance to capitalize on that one run. I like to maximize my runs and not make a lot of extra runs on my horse so in that sense it’s been perfect.”
Making the most of one run is the exact scenario that played out for Hall at the Royal Crown Open race on February 20 when she gambled $300 in entry and nomination fees and won $1,750 plus $320 in fast cash. Hall and Stella’s 16.914 on the standard set in Buckeye (Arizona) Equestrian Center arena earned them $3,894 in round two of the derby to further maximize their earnings on that single run. As the highest placing nominated barrel racer Hall earned a generic qualification to the Women’s Rodeo World Championships.
“I tipped a barrel in the first go to win second in the derby then was second or third in the second go to earn the qualification, so with one entry fee I had two shots at it,” said Hall.
For Hall, who set a goal to stay ranked in the WRCA barrel racing standings via VRQ points after qualifying for the 2021 WRWC in Las Vegas, Nevada, the generic qualification is icing on the cake.
Time is Money
As the saying goes, time is the most valuable and often squandered commodity in the world. Hall is determined not to waste hers. Using the benefit of the VRQ allows the perennial leading futurity rider to focus more time on business and training pursuits and less pounding the pavement.
“About 10 years ago I really listened to what God had been trying to tell me, to step out and do it and I got my real estate license,” she explained. “I’ve got a couple of 3-year-olds at home, but I’m devoting more time than I ever have to rehab and rest for myself so I can compete at a healthy level.
Hall has battled a shoulder infirmity lately that’s driven her to evaluate how time in the saddle and on the road her body can take.
“This is a physically demanding sport so after going hard for as long as I have, I’ve made it a priority to slow down in some areas and shift focus to some other areas like real estate, my tack line, and other things to where I’m not physically draining myself riding as many horses as I did in the past.”
Hall says she plans to take Stella to the bigger races and to events that allow her to make the most of the opportunities she has with her dream horse.
“It’s not like I’m deadset on making the NFR, I want a long-term horse that’s happy and sound so I’m trying to be really smart about where I enter, which is part of what makes the WRWC so appealing because it pays out so well without traveling extensively. We’ll go to some of the bigger derbies as well,” she said.
Fit for a Queen
Barrel racers are known for next-level commitment to their winning equines and Hall’s devotion to Stella sets a great example. A measured approach of combining great nutrition with beneficial therapies, great fitness, and solid training keeps Stella at the top of her game as the queen bee of barrel racing.
“I have multiple therapies I use, but those things have to be matched with a great feed program, great farrier, maintaining their dental work, vaccinations, conditioning, all those things have to work together harmoniously, but I do use a lot of daily therapies,” Hall said. “I use the Theraplate daily, PEMF before every run, PHT and Back On Track products and I keep her legs rubbed down. I will put the Hidez compression suit on when I haul her to help reduce lactic acid and regulate temperature, and I like the results I get with that. The combination of therapies helps her recovery time after a run and that’s an important element of keeping her fresh and firing.”
Hall says all the little things she stays disciplined to do on a daily basis, plus great attention to detail, is what makes the biggest difference for Stella.
“I think taking the extra steps to keep your horse fit and sound coupled with good, consistent training is what goes into being successful. To me that’s a great trainer, it’s a combination of being consistent with all the small daily disciplined tasks to keep your horse fresh and fit and ready to compete to their full potential. I’ve done the futurities, I’m venturing more into the rodeo world and WRWC. It all takes a lot of work. You’ve got to put in the time.”
Read 3 Tools for Fast Times for more on Sharin Hall’s Pro Series Tack.
Hall thanks the partners and supporters who have helped her succeed, including Team MVP, Cowgirl Tuff, PEMF Complete, Hidez, PHT Products, Renew Gold Feed, Supple Steeds, Horse Hair Analysis, Theraplate by Rene Audsley, Tom Hutchins DVM, farrier Jarrod Morris, and Bio Advanced Medical Center.