Barrel racing is a rodeo event in which a horse and rider attempt to complete a clover-leaf pattern around preset barrels in the fastest time. Though both boys and girls compete at the youth level and men compete in some amateur venues and jackpots, in collegiate and professional ranks, it is primarily a rodeo event for women. It combines the horse's athletic ability and the horsemanship skills of a rider in order to safely and successfully maneuver a horse through a clover leaf pattern around three barrels (typically three fifty-five gallon metal or plastic drums) placed in a triangle in the center of an arena.
In timed rodeo events, the purpose is to make a run as fast as possible, while the time is being clocked either by an electronic eye, (a device using a laser system to record times), or by an arena attendant or judge who manually takes the time using the eye and a flag to let a clocker know when to hit the timer stop, though this last method is more commonly seen in local and non-professional events.
The timer begins when horse and rider cross the start line, and ends when the barrel pattern has been successfully executed and horse and rider cross the finish line. The rider's time depends on several factors, most commonly the horse's physical and mental condition, the rider's horsemanship abilities, and the type of ground or footing (the quality, depth, content, etc. of the sand or dirt in the arena).
Barrel racing originally developed as an event for women While the men roped or rode bulls and broncs, the women barrel raced. In early barrel racing, the pattern alternated between a figure-eight and a cloverleaf pattern. The figure-eight pattern, though, was eventually dropped in favor of the more-difficult cloverleaf. It is believed that Barrel Racing first saw competitive light in the state of Texas. The WPRA was developed in 1948 by a group of women from Texas who were looking to make a home for themselves and women in general in the sport of rodeo. When it initially began, the WPRA was called the Girls Rodeo Association, with the acronym GRA. It consisted of only 74 members with as little as 60 approved tour events. The Girls Rodeo Association was the first body of rodeo developed specifically for women. Women were allowed to compete in several events of rodeo. The GRA eventually changed its name and officially became the WPRA in 1981, and the WPRA still allows women to compete in the various rodeo events as they like, but barrel racing remains the most popular event competition.
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Barrel Racing - Camps
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