ROCK SPRINGS — With finals coming in September, all riders were showing their best form during the Sweetwater Barrel Racing Series event on August 25. This led to the winning rider needing a sub-16 second run to claim the 1D barrel race competition.
Rachael Myllymaki and her horse “Toon” clocked a 15.919-second run at the summer barrel racing competition held at the Sweetwater Events Complex Indoor Arena, good for a $149 1D payout.
Mackenzi Scott took home a $128 payout for winning the 2D barrel races with a winning time of 16.427 seconds on her horse, BB Moonshine Chic.
For good measure, Rock Springs’ Scott, 18, also won the 1D pole bending competition with a time of 20.337 on her other mount, Cats Raspberry Beret. Scott pocketed a $118 payout for her pole bending effort.
Laci Vasquez finished second in the 1D barrel race competition with a time of 16.076 seconds on her horse, Rukus, good for a $99 payout. Other local finishers included Brynn Abbott, 14, with a pole bending time of 23.009 in 4D on her horse, Hunter’s Rally. Lyman’s De Ette Powell finished atop the standings in 4D pole bending with a time of 22.491 on her unnamed mount. McKinnon’s Charly Potter took home a $35 payout for finishing first in the 1D Pee Wee 10 & Under Barrel Race standings, posting a run of 16.937 seconds on her horse, Studley, comparable to the times that some of adult competitors posted.
It’s in the training…and luck of the draw
Rheanna Norton from Rock Springs said it has taken her about two years to train her 4-year-old horse, Lexi, for barrel racing, although her horse had the advantage of a head start at the Events Complex from frequent two-hour workouts.
One of the youngest competitors at the SBRS, 2 1/2-year-old Huxley Norton, rode a more experienced horse, Gucci, a 24-year-old.
The hours and years of workouts don’t seem to bother the riders. “The best part of the training is simply working with the horses,” Rheanna said. “I just like being around the horses.”
Although several riders interviewed said it takes around two years to get a barrels horse up to speed and know what it’s doing getting around the three barrels, not everyone was convinced that people wanting to get into the sport and possibly win some cash need to wait two years before they have a chance at winning.
“It depends on the horse. If the horse is a fast learner, it can take about five months to train,” Savannah Helmetag, 23, from Rawlins, said.
Notwithstanding, Helmetag said she has been working for two years with her current mount, Nuggett. She finished fourth in the 4D barrels competition with a time of 19.504 seconds. Helmetag said that her mount is a 10-year-old quarter horse.
A certain amount of luck enters in as well. After every fifth rider at the Indoor Arena, an Events Complex tractor driver “drags” the arena floor with a large metal scraper behind to stir up the dirt clumps. A rider’s position right after a drag or right before the next drag can help to determine how well a horse’s footing is while circling around the barrels.
Events Complex Horse & Livestock Coordinator Shae Lux said by email that for the soil type and moisture content at the Indoor Arena it works best to drag after every five racers to keep the soil safe, fair and consistent for all of the barrel race competitors.
The Sweetwater Barrel Racing Series is scheduled to wrap up on Saturday, September 18, with the Finals event, beginning at 9 a.m. at the Indoor Arena. A minimum of 30 different competitors are expected to vie for the final payoffs in barrel racing and pole bending. Different age group categories are featured, from pee-wee to 19 and over, as well as youth.
Top Placings Results:
ACBRA 4D Jackpot in Open 4 D Barrel Races:
Name (1-2-3 Placings)/Payout Horse Time (seconds)
Rachael Myllymaki–$149 Toon 15.919
Lacie Vasquez–$99 Rukus 16.076
Alyx Bolten Salty 16.151
Mackenzie Scott–$128 BB Moonshine Chic 16.427
Margie Allen–$85 Lulu 16.490
Elaine Rose FF Bid of CoMotion 16.511
Carol Lee–$85 CD Fighting Victory 16.932
Charly Potter–$57 Studley 16.937
Kaitlyn Duran Reba 17.163
Stephanie Root–$64 Sailor 17.514
Megan Matsuura–$43 Playgun at Six 18.334
Christy Hoffman Red 18.977
ACBRA 4D Jackpot in Senior 4 D Barrels (All times are Placings)
Margie Allen–$79 Lulu 16.490
Margie Allen Roanie 16.580
Louise Kennedy Zans Bonita Boon 16.689
Anne Terri Ezell–$53 Dixie 20.542
(Only qualified time)
ACBRA 4D Jackpot in Youth 4 D Barrels
Alyx Bolten–$39 Salty 16.151
Makenzie Scott BB Moonshine Chic 16.427
Bryn Abbott–$34 Hunters Rally 16.708
Oaklee Hoffman — Minnie 16.886
Kashlee Hill–$23 Hollywood 17.176
DeEtte Powell—$17 18.584
ACBRA 4D Jackpot in Pee Wee 10 & UnderBarrels
Charly Potter–$35 Studley 16.937
Kashlee Hill — Hollywood 17.176
Kennedy Kleinlein–$24 Juice 18.786
Hawkins Hoffman–$20 Grave Digger 31.066
Karter Parker Fancy 35.563
(No other qualified rides)
ACBRA 4D Jackpot in Open 4 D Pole Bending
Makenzie Scott–$118 Cats Raspberry Beret 20.337
Charly Potter–$79 Studley 22.019
De Ette Powell–$66 Horse unnamed 22.491
Bryn Abbott Hunters Rally 23.009
Carol Lee CD Fighting Victory 23.210
Note: “No other qualified rides” means that riders in the category referenced may have been disqualified for going off-pattern.