Nina Shirey had barrel racing fans on their feet at The Panty Raid Futurity in Springfield, Ohio, when the 11-year-old turned in a 15.414-second run aboard Fame N Perks and topped the Open class. Nina collected $800 and bragging rights of the third-fastest time of the weekend at the Ohio barrel race.
Fame N Perks, affectionately known as “Shaq,” is the horse to beat in Ohio barrel racing circles. His usual jockey is Brad Shirey, Nina’s father. Nina had run Shaq at one Ohio barrel race before, but the turnout was much different than her showing at The Panty Raid.
“I ran Shaq at Dawn and Clea’s last show—the Half Baked at Circle G Arena— and we knocked all three barrels,” Nina said.
This time, Nina kept the barrels standing, besting over a thousand Panty Raid runs in the process. According to Brad, she also turned in the fastest time Shaq has ever clocked in the Champions Center Arena.
“I was very nervous because I wanted to prove to myself and others that I could do it,” Nina said about the run. “Shaq is a lot easier to ride than Rooster (Nina’s infamous Appaloosa pony). My Dad made him pretty user-friendly for my run on Sunday, but Shaq is a lot of power and harder to stay on.”
For Ohio natives, it comes as no surprise to see a Shirey at the top of the leaderboard. Brad is a highly respeccted trainer, with accomplishments ranging from local arena records and titles at Ohio barrel races, to AQHA Congress wins going back to his youth, to national futurity and Open titles. Mom, Jenna, is a competitive barrel racer as well, at least when her daughters aren’t stealing her horses. Nina’s older sisters, Hannah (29) and Madeline (21) both had impressive youth careers. Madeline is still actively training and winning whenever she isn’t helping her younger sisters.
“I always call Nina my queen, and I just love to see her do well,” Madeline said. “We all push each other and are so supportive of one another. After Nina ran, she told me that I could go in and run faster than her!”
Brad purchased Shaq from Edwin Cameron as a 3-year-old because he was a fan of Shaq’s maternal granddam, Cool Approach.
“She was a cool horse when I was kid and I was hoping that he would be half as great as she was,” Shirey said.
Nina is preparing to run Shaq and multiple other horses at the National Barrel Horse Association Youth World show this summer. With her Sunday win also comes a ticket into the Best of the Best Open Slot Race, a concentrated pool of the best trainers and horses in the region that is earned by winning at select races, such as The Panty Raid.
Brad noted that his daughters ride a lot of different horses at home, and he ensures that they ride ones with unique styles, and are exposed to different events like pole bending, jumping, and flag racing so they can be prepared for anything from a young age. He also encourages the girls to ride bareback consistently, something that he feels has given them an edge.
Both Brad and Jenna Shirey work hard to ensure that the girls are as successful outside of the arena as inside, keeping the bigger picture in mind.
“My biggest goal for every show is for my family to have fun and take the good with the bad,” Jenna explained. “You aren’t going to win every time and learning how to lose is just as important as learning how to win. Supporting friends when they do well, always being a good sport, they need to have fun and just enjoy the ride.”
Sunday Open 4D Top Five
- Nina Shirey on Shaq, 15.416-second run, worth $800
- Kaylee Weaver on Friday Night Cowboy, 15.475-second run, worth $640
- Kayla Young on Oliver, 15.583-second run, worth $540
- Mason Penland on Speed Tickets Bug Me, 15.651-second run, worth $475
- Leslie Willis on Im Gunnin For Ya, 15.709-second run, worth $285
The headline of the Springfield, Ohio, barrel race was the $5,000 added Barrel Futurities of America (BFA) 4-Year-Old Futurity. Both days belonged to Leslie Willis and Im Gunnin For Ya. “Gunner,” was celebrating his first weekend back since New Year’s Eve, and he did it in a big way. Willis topped both rounds of the futurity with times of 15.709 and 15.642, respectively, worth $1,135 each round, and the aggregate, worth an additional $1,510.
“I think he wants to talk into the microphone,” Willis said during her post-run interview. “He has a big personality.”
In the Saturday Open 4D, the two fastest times of the Ohio barrel race were clocked by Kaylee Weaver and Friday Night Cowboy, who turned in a 15.404-second run, and Cindy Patrick aboard Flit Ta Heaven with her impressive 15.366-second run. Here are your top five runs from Saturday’s Open 4D.
- Cindy Patrick on Flit Ta Heaven, 15.366-second run, worth $1,900
- Kaylee Weaver on Friday Night Cowboy, 15.404-second run, worth $1,500
- Leslie Willis on Gimme DaMoney, 15.463-second run, worth $1,300
- Denise Evans on Jewels Casanova, 15.496-second run, worth $1,200
- Emily Wilkins on Shake It For Tina, 15.530-second run, worth $1,000
The Friday Open 4D championship also belonged to Willis, but it was captured by her faithful 12-year-old gelding, Gimme DaMoney. Willis and Gimme DaMoney have been winning together for nearly a decade.
“He’s been special to the farm his whole career,” Willis said. He’ll never be for sale.”
Friday Open Results
- Leslie Willis on Gimme DaMoney, 15.444-second run, worth $990
- Denise Evans on Lightningrollinstone, 15.540-second run, worth $855
- Summer Pauly on TJ Whippet Lady Luck, 15.665-second run, worth $720
- Sumer Shafer on Froze My Socks Off, 15.679-second run, worth $540
- Chloe Whitesel on JTS Stick A Dynamite, 15.756-second run, worth $450
The youngsters put on a great show at The Panty Raid. Riley Creech captured the Pee Wee Slot Race, while Cheyanne Hendrixson topped the Youth Slot Race, and both young cowgirls punched their tickets to the Best of The Best, one of Ohio’s highest paying barrel races, in August.