Fast action promised at barrel racers' year-end finals at OHM<BR>
The Yavapai County Barrel Racers (YCBR) wind up their year end finals Nov. 1 and 2 at Old Home Manor, from 10 am. to 2 p.m. New riders can also compete for money in each class, even if they haven't entered races during the year. Sign-up for all riders is at 8 a.m.
Brenda Collins of Chino Valley and arena director for the Yavapai County Barrel Racers Association poses with her new recruit, "Dunny." She will ride him in the year-end finals to be held at Old Home Manor Nov. 1-2. The tall – 16-hand horse (four inches equals one hand) – was a surprisingly fast barrel racer that Collins borrowed from her husband, who used him for roping. Collins, her husband, two children and her niece, are hoping the town supports more equestrian clubs to give children a chance to excel at many healthy sports.
Sixty-five to 70 riders from throughout the tri-city area will be competing. Barrel racers of all ages compete, from the 10 and younger category to the open class, which currently has YCBR members who are 45 and 50. This makes it a tremendous family event for everyone to put their jeans and hats on, buy a hot dog and watch the riders guide their fast agile horses race around the barrels.
Brenda Collins and her family are always excited about the barrel racing events. It's a healthy outdoor event where people get together and root for each other and the kids. They are especially looking forward to this event since the Chino Valley Rodeo, that was going to be held October 17 through the 19th was canceled.
"We just found out about it today," Collins said. "It's really sad because a lot of kids were going to compete in the rodeo and they don't have the resources, such as good trailers, trucks and gas money to drive to Williams," (where the rodeo moved too.)
"I'm still deciding whether or not I will ride in it. I rode in all the Chino Valley Rodeos since it was formed in 1997. Now, with the rodeo in Williams, It's so disappointing that it's not going to benefit the town of Chino Valley. We were hoping it would bring the community together to form new equestrian clubs for the youth. For example, the boys don't have any clubs to practice or compete in bull riding."
Thankfully, there is still the YCBR, which Collins helped form in 2001, along with her husband, Sean, YCBR president - Joylynn Kring, along with her husband, Mike, vice president - Sally Fine, treasurer - Shyann Ingaro, and secretary - Heather Narvasen, along with her husband Rick. Collins has served as the arena director for two years. This involves setting up the arena, dragging the tractor blades over it to smooth the dirt and sand and setting up the standard barrel patterns of 90 feet by 105 feet apart from each barrel.
Horses and barrel racing became more than a winsome bobby for Collins due to family influence. On a wall of family portraits, she points to an old black and white photo, printed in the 1930s of a smiling lady holding the neck of a gentle foal without a halter.
"If it weren't for my grandmother, Elma King, and her wisdom, knowledge and wonderful stories I grew up with, I would not be where I am today with my horses." she said. "My grandmother was raised on the 101 Horse Ranch in Iowa. She taught me everything I know."
Most sports competitions involve a degree of risk, and when horses are involved there is the healthy and physical well being of both horse and rider. Collins has been barrel racing since she was 8 years old. She has won buckles at the Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo, a saddle at the Central Yavapai Rodeo Association rodeo and more buckles at the YCBR, which her son, Michael also won a buckle in. When her horse, Dillon, bowed a tendon during a run, Collins walked her horse through barrels, in order to retain the points and still be in the year-end competition.
A surprising turn of events happened. Collins needed another horse to race, so she looked to her husband's new roping horse, Dunny. Sean bought the 16- hand horse from Philip Mayer in Paulden. Such a tall horse (four inches equals a hand) is unusual for a barrel horse. Riders usually choose a shorter, stocky horse to scramble around the barrels. Collins took a chance.
"The first race I took Dunny in was at Fann-M Ranch, and he finished in 19.4 seconds," Collins said. "This was a great time for a first run. This horse has the speed of a rope horse and he literally lunges out of the barrel. He comes up on his hind legs and lunges forward. Now I just need to work on smoothing out his turn."
To put the barrel racing time in perspective, a really good time is a high 18 seconds. Collins had the thrill of entering a race in which the all-time great barrel racing champion, Charmayne James, was competing at Wickenburg. James' great time has been a high 17 seconds.
"Charmayne was racing a green horse that day and got a high 18, and I did terrible," Collins said. "I was riding 'Cowboy' for his first time in that arena and the barrels were placed parallel to the stands, and he spooked on the second barrel." Cowboy nevertheless won his share of buckles after that race.
Children can be serious competitors in barrel racing too. "Joylynn's daughter, Katelyn races in the 10 and under and she runs them in 19 seconds," Collins said. "She is like a flea on a horse that doesn't move! We want to give these kids what they need to go professional some day. We hope to see them on TV and we can say we helped them."
There are no major events at Old Home Manor until next spring, after the barrel racing finals. Collins hopes people will get involved.
"The city needs to get involved and rent out the arena," she said. "The YCBR and 4-H Clubs are the only one I know of who rent it. There needs to be shaded stands and lights."
All those who enjoy the outdoors, horses and hot dogs, be sure to head out Nov. 1 and 2 and support the areas rural sporting event.