Barrel Racers Compete For Cash Prizes

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo brings in cowboys and cowgirls from all over the country. Women compete in the sport of barrel racing, where they trace a pattern on horseback against the clock for prize money. Brenda Salinas met one of these riders competing for the grand prize of 50,000

Out of the eight events in professional rodeo, there's one just for women: barrel racing.

It's a timed event where the rider loops around 3 barrels in a clover-leaf pattern. There's a 5 second penalty for knocking one over and the fastest time wins.

"It takes a tough person to rodeo"

That's Christy Loflin.

" ... bring down Colorado ... "

She's hoping to win some money tonight, and a place in the semifinals.

The rodeo is invitation-only, so she's competing against the best of the best. She says it's hard work. There are long hours and a lot of losses before you get any wins.

"Not only do you have to have an amazing horse, you have to be an amazing rider and be super talented. So I think that is pretty inspiring to a lot of little girls, to try really hard and to keep come up through the ranks"

And there's something else Loflin finds inspiring. Rodeo might be a male-dominated sport, but in the ring, women get equal pay. A win in the first round will get you $1200 dollars. The grand prize winner will walk away with $50,000. That's as much as the ropers and bull riders.

"We try just as hard as they do, and it's neat to see that respect for us for sure."

Loflin says women in the rodeo are treated well. That's because of the physical nature of the sport. She says hard work is hard work -- no matter who it comes from.

But she'll have to work a little harder. Her loop around the first barrel was a hair too wide and cost her some time

"... 15.72 ... that' too long ..."

She won't be getting any money tonight, but she has two more chances to advance to the semi finals.

"You have a lot of ups and downs and you just tough it out, the lows will eventually turn to highs and you're not always at the top, so you just have to ride it out."

And if she doesn't advance, there's always next year.

 

Video of February 27, 2013, Kingston, Okla., resident Tana Renick finished first in Super Series I Barrel Racing, with total earnings of $6,700.