This morning we all got up and dressed in our best cowgirl clothes (Bridget is pouting, because she does not believe in playing cowgirl still despite the fact that I convinced her to wear her pink boots with her Disney Princess shirt, sigh) and headed over to Frontier Park for the first event of Frontier Days: barrel racing. Frontier Days hasn't officially kicked off yet (it will with the KISS concert on Friday night—I know, KISS and rodeo, that's exactly what everyone thinks of together, right?) but there are some free timed events in the morning and barrel racing is my favorite by far. We invited some people we know to join us, so we were waiting under the sign and a nice lady offered to take our picture. The one I took of the three girls has the entire sign in it, but the one this lady took has me in it so I'll use this one today : )
Waiting for everything to start...
So what is barrel racing? It's the only rodeo event women compete in. Each cowgirl comes racing from the far end of the arena and has to ride her horse around each barrel in a clover pattern, as fast as she can. If she knocks one over, she gets 5 seconds added to her time. I think the best time we saw today in three rounds was 17.4 seconds.
This is an example of what a turn should look like. Also, there is no age limit in barrel racing; I didn't notice until I got home and looked at my pictures that this particular cowgirl was much older than many of the others. Long live my trusty old long lens!
Here is a wider shot, to get a sense of the clover leaf they have to run. Also, I wish more people were in attendance to cheer them on. Only one small section of the arena was full. The announcer mentioned that the lead racer had earned $160,000 in different competitions this year; a lot of money, to be sure, but I'm willing to bet it's a fraction of what the men earn in rodeo.
A photographer from the newspaper came along and took a picture of Gracie and Bridget's two friends Keely and Cedar looking over the fence; Maddie was miffed because she didn't happen to be there at the right moment, so I told her I'd take her picture and post it here. Going to see barrel racing did not lessen her desire to become a dandy. I think now she'd like to be a barrel racer, too.