ROCK SPRINGS — A local pole bending rider came within 5/1000ths of a second on Wednesday evening of pole bending nirvana.
Makenzi Scott, 17, of Rock Springs, posted the highlight timing of the third Sweetwater Barrel Racing/Pole Bending Series event at the Sweetwater Events Complex Indoor Arena when she and her horse, Raspberry, posted a lightning time of 20.004 seconds to win first place in the Open 4D/1D pole bending competition.
A timing of sub-20 seconds of, say, 19.999 seconds, is the holy grail of pole bending, a sport which requires a horse and rider to navigate around six poles, each 10 feet high set 21 feet apart, beginning 21 feet away from the starting line, and do it twice, without knocking over any of the poles. A pole that gets knocked over by a rider results in a 5 second penalty.
Scott’s ride was perfect around all six poles both times. Scott was pleased with her ride, but said she still wants to get that 19-point-something timing someday.
Scott’s 1D pole bending accomplishment was worth a payout of $284 for her at the June 16 Sweetwater Barrel Racing/Pole Bending Series event. Second place in the 1D pole bending went to De Ette Powell of Mountain View and her horse, Twilight, with a time of 20.204 seconds.
Lone Tree’s Oaklee Hoffman, 10, took first place in the Open 4D/4D pole bending competition with a time of 22.057 seconds for a payout of $189. Evanston’s Melissa Lofthouse on her horse, Papas Streaking Bug, took second in the 4D pole bending placings, with a 22.404 clocking.
A pair of Mountain View riders, Aubrey Reger on Delta, and Andi Carpenter on Forest, took third and fourth place in the 4D, with respective times of 22.456 and 22.717 seconds.
“Just passing through”
A Louisiana lady, Tiany Schuster, posted the best barrel racing times of the evening, winning both first and second place in the 1D Open event with extremely fast times of 15.657 and 15.738 seconds, respectively, on a pair of different horses. Schuster’s first place finish was worth a $232 payout for her, while her second place earnings were $154. A sub-16 second timing is the main goal in barrel racing at the Indoor Arena.
The Event Complex’s Horse & Livestock Coordinator, Shae Lux, organized the Wednesday rodeo event.
“The Louisiana competitor was somebody just passing through using our facilities who decided to enter the competition,” Lux said.
She added that there were between 40 and 50 competitors overall at the event, which is pretty much standard. Several participants were in more than one event.
Rock Springs’ Stephanie McCann on Handsomer Habit and Makenzi Scott on Emas Famous Last Moon took third and fourth in the 1D barrel racing, with respective times of 16.015 and 16.111 seconds. Scott’s time was good enough for first place in the 1D Youth barrel racing standings, worth $59.
Locals on top
In the 4D/2D Open barrel racing, Jenae Ordeman of Rock Springs, riding MerriEdda, took first place with a time of 16.165 seconds, good for a payout of $198. The next highest local finisher on 2D was Rock Springs’ Margie Allen on Lulu, coming in third with a 16.269 timing. Out-of-towner Angela Ganter on Bugs took second with a 16.264 clocking, worth $132.
In 3D Open barrels, Oaklee Hoffman came in first with a time of 16.819 seconds, netting a $132 payout. Hoffman’s time also netted her first place in the 2D Youth barrels, worth $51. Shae Lux was second in the 3D Open at 16.966 seconds, worth $88.
Bryn Abbott, 14, of Rock Springs, riding her horse Lexi, took first place honors in the 4D/4D Open barrel racing, clocking in at 17.278 seconds, worth a payout of $99. Abbott’s time also locked up first place in Youth 4D/3D, worth $34. Genesis Parker of Rock Springs, on Bay Moon Disco 37, garnered $66 for her second place finish in 4D Open barrels, clocking in at 17.291 seconds. Another Rock Springs rider, Chris Thomas on Pickle, finished seventh in 4D Open barrels, with a time of 17.619 seconds. Rock Springs’ Baily Denison, 13, locked up first place in 4D/4D Youth barrels, with a 22.800 timing.
Stephanie McCann, on two different horses, was the big winner in senior barrels, finishing first in both 1D and 2D categories, with her times of 16.015 and 16.610 seconds, worth $89 and $80, respectively.
Ages 2 & up
Competitors at the Indoor Arena event ranged in age from 2 years old up to senior citizens, and all ages in between. The youngest competitor was 2-year-old Karter Parker from Rock Springs, in the peewee barrels, riding her horse Ladd. Proud dad Joshua Parker said that Karter did very well in her race, which he guided. Karter agreed with her dad, smiling and shouting out “Yeah!”
Some of the younger participants had older horses. Raygon Peterson, 10 from Rock Springs, said that her horse, Sugar, was 13 years old and already trained.
Savannah Helmetag, 23, formerly of Orlando, Florida and now living in Sweetwater County, said that barrel strategy matters, particularly which barrel of the first two, right or left, she decides to circle around first on her mount. “Whichever side (the horse) seems to want to go to first, I go to the opposite, Helmetag said.
In barrel racing, the first two drums are set 60 feet from the start timers and 90 feet apart from each other, with the third and final barrel being 105 feet from the first two barrels. Horse and rider must circle around the barrels in an elongated circle-8 pattern.
Having the right horse built for barrel racing also helps. “Usually a quarter horse or a thoroughbred is best for barrel racing,” Bryn Abbott said. “It took about two years to train my horse.”
In a sport where hundredths of a second can be the difference between a first place finish, and money, and seeing your name at the bottom of the list, speed matters supremely. “I like to get to the first barrel in two seconds, 2.5 seconds, less than 3,” Scott said.
A horse in the right frame of mind for competition likewise assists a rider. Scott rode a number of different horses for her events, with tough luck and a no-time in one of her barrel races. “He’s very temperamental,” Scott good-naturedly said of her horse. “Sometimes he’s a barrel’s horse and sometimes he’s not.”
Seven-year-old Kasklee Hill, from Mountain View, Wyoming, was happy with her horse Sage’s performance. “She did okay,” Hill said. She finished fourth in the 1D 10 and under barrels, with a time of 18.285 seconds. Sister Kashlee Hill was first in 4D/1D 10 and under, with a time of 17.895 seconds, worth $43.
Kennedy Kleinlein of Rock Springs finished first in both the 2D and 3D placings for 10 and under barrels, with respective times of 18.872 seconds ($37) and 19.275 seconds ($25), on two different horses.
Harper Cornelison, 7, from Mountain View, rode her 20-year-old horse, Olaf, to a first place finish in 4D 10 and under barrels, clocking a 32.066 timing ($19).
A horse by any other name
Some of the competitors at the Wednesday event went for the simple when naming their mounts. Bailey Denison’s horse was named “Buffalo”. Denison said that Buffalo started on barrel racing when he was five or six years old and was now age 11 years. Tenlee Maycock, 10, said her horse’s name was simply “Bunny”. Other horse’s names were slightly more involved. Laci Stockman from Baggs rode “Moon Star Molly” and Vicky Taylor of Rock Springs rode “FF She’s A Special Fame”.
Scott said of one of her horses, “Eyesa Special Leader” that the name came from the blood line, partly from the “Eysa” bloodline, which contributed to the name.
The next Sweetwater Barrel Racing Series event will be on August 25, following the Sweetwater County Fair/Wyoming’s Big Show.
1D Barrels Placings:
1st 15.657 $232 Tiany Schuster on “Horse 1”
2nd 15.738 $154 Tiany Schuster on “Horse 3”
1st 16.165 $198 Jenae Ordeman, Rock Springs on MerriEdda
2nd 16.264 $132 Angela Ganter on Bugs
1st 16.819 $132 Oaklee Hoffman, Lone Tree, on Sparky
2nd 16.966 $88 Shae Lux, Rock Springs, on Chrome Proffitts
1st 17.278 $99 Bryn Abbott, Rock Springs, on Lexi
2nd 17.291, $66 Genesis Parker, Rock Springs, on Bay Moon Disco 37
1st 16.015 $89 Stephanie McCann, Rock Springs, on Handsomer Habit
2nd 16.264 Angela Ganter on Bugs
1st 16.610 $80 Stephanie McCann, Rock Springs, on Chasin Dennis
2nd 16.966 Shae Lux, Rock Springs, on Chrome Proffitts
1st 16.111 $59 Makenzi Scott, Rock Springs, on Emas Famous Last Moon
2nd 16.512 Aubrey Reger, Mountain View, on Delta
1st 16.819 $51 Oaklee Hoffman, Lone tree, on Sparky
2nd 17.057 Oaklee Hoffman, Lone Tree, on Minnie
1st 17.278 $34 Bryn Abbott, Rock Springs, on Lexi
2nd 17.634 Laci Stockman, Baggs, on Moon Star Molly
1st 22.800 $25 Bailey Denison, Rock springs, on Buffalo
Peewee 10 & under barrels
1st 17.895 $43 Kashlee Hill, Mountain View, on Hollywood
2nd 17.952 Laura Lofthouse, Evanston, on Tweet
1st 18.872 $37 Kennedy Kleinlein, Rock Springs, on Proof N Kates Lad
1st 19.275 $25 Kennedy Kleinlein, Rock Springs, on Fancy
1st 32.066 $19 Harper Cornelison, Mountain View/Evanston, on Olaf
2nd 35.403 Karter Parker, Rock Springs, on Fancy
1st 20.004 $284 Makenzi Scott, Rock Springs, on Raspberry
2nd 20.204 De Ette Powell, Mountain View. On Twilight
1st 22.057 $189 Oaklee Hoffman, Lone Tree, on Minnie2nd 22.404 Melissa Lofthouse, Evanston, on Papas Streaking Bug