Sunday, December 6, 2009

NBHA Barrel Finals

It’s amazing how much some riders can get done in less than 15 seconds. This is particularly true if they happen to be world class barrel racers mounted on fast, fit horses. At the National Barrel Horse Association World Finals, held from October 26 to 31 at the James Brown Arena in Augusta, Georgia, you had to be able to race into the arena, spin around three barrels and then race out again in about 14 seconds in order to have a hope of being in the top ten.

The winning horse and rider combination this year was Lacy Childress of Loxely, Alabama aboard LS Wonder Boy, who whirled around the barrels in 14.295 seconds. It was a dramatic run. If a horse knocks a barrel and it hits the ground, the run will count as a “no time” and the competitor will be out. As Wonder Boy rounded the second barrel, he hit it and it tipped. Lacy reached out and eased it back into an upright position without skipping a beat. The barrel stayed up and they won the title, pocketing $4,297 in cash and winning a number of other prizes in addition to the World Championship title.

Lacy, who is 22, is taking a year off from her studies at the University of South Alabama. In addition to LS Wonder Boy, a 2001 sorrel gelding that she has owned since he was 4, she also competes on LS Wonder Boy’s half brother, LS Shaky Bargain and several other horses.

The National Barrel Horse Association is headquartered in the offices of the Augusta Chronicle, and the World Finals is the organization’s largest event. Each year, the show draws in top barrel racers from all over the country, as well as from Canada and from as far away as Australia. If you go by the number of horses involved, it is probably the largest equestrian competition in the Aiken-Augusta area. This year, there were over 1,000 horses at the event.

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