Changing of the Guard

There are many aspects of barrel racing.  For this article, letís leave the training of the horse and talk about another segment of barrel racing Ė the people who plan and produce barrel races. This requires many people with a plan. First, the barrel race must choose a date and advertise it.   The sponsors and added money must be raised. There are the people who work the ground, some who set the ropes and the pattern, some to run the timers, take the videos, take photos, etc. There has to be an announcer and a secretary to take entries and write the checks or figure the pay off.  Someone has to get the horses into the arena in order.  There is a planning of a concession stand and many races now have a church service for us to attend when the barrel race is on Sunday.   Do you ever stop and think of all the work that goes into putting on a barrel race?   

I have been on every end of barrel racing from training horses and competition to producing barrel races, raising sponsors and money, talking with committees, serving on boards of directors, setting ropes, etc.  Last year when Kim Thomas and I started the Total Barrel Racing Experience, I even got in on watering the ground holding a fire hose and helping Danny Thomas and George Kernek get the ground in shape in an arena that had not been used for barrel racing for a long time.  I have watched from the sidelines when my daughter competed for 10 years, when students competed and when horses I have sold have competed.  I was in on the first meeting when the Barrel Futurities of America was formed and was one of their original directors.  I say all this to tell you that I know a bit about the barrel racing industry. 

I see something happening that I am concerned about.  I heard last week that Pat Hutter is going to resign as BFA director.  She has given a big part of her life to this organization.  When it originally started, we wanted an organization that would protect its members from being overcharged for stalls, starter fees, entry fees, etc.  We all believed that it needed to be an organization that was good for everyone and would help to raise the bar in barrel racing.  We sought sponsors and started the World Champion Barrel Racing Futurity in OKC.  It took the place of the National Finals Rodeo when it left OKC and went to Las Vegas. I believe that that organization and its directors have been a big plus in the world of barrel racing.  It took a lot of work and was originally produced by the directors.  We even took turns setting up knocked down barrels when there was no money to pay people to do that.   

I have witnessed barrel racing grow immensely in the past few years.  It is exciting to see what is happening.  But, letís not forget how we got where we are today.  The people who do all the behind the scenes work are often unnoticed and go without much thanks.  People like Pat Hutter are a part of history and growth of the barrel racing industry.  As you read this, I want to ask you to think about where the industry will go if some young people do not come forward and begin to lead these established organizations.  It is a time for the changing of the guard.  I just hope and pray that the ones who take over the guard in the future will keep our organizations good for every member. 

We need to learn all we can from the old guard that is moving on. New ideas are great, but we must remember that history is our most important guide.  History tells us what has worked and what needs to be improved on.  It is my hope that some of you younger folks with leadership qualities will read this and thinks about learning how to lead organizations or produce barrel races.   

Perhaps a young Pat Hutter will read this and be challenged.  Pat not only had many secretarial qualities, but was a person that would work with people and help them in any number of ways.  My hat is off to her and the many like her who have worked timelessly and without much pay to take barrel racing to the level that it is today.  May she enjoy life without the phone in her ear.

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Last modified: January 05, 2014