Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Congrats to Penn., West Va., and Ohio Congress Placewinners!

Over the four days that the cloverleaf pattern dominated the Coliseum, Bert Thompson threw down the fastest time of any Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania cowgirl with a 15.243, winning the Amateur barrel racing aboard her bay, Shesa Hurricane Payday. In youth competition, Jurie Buchleitner ran the fastest time in any youth class out of Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania barrel racers with a 15.434 on the back of her black mare, Gordons Lena 234. 

For the full list of results, please visit the OQHA's website!

Junior Horse Barrel Racing 
1st place - Megan Yurko - Beea Stash of Money - 15.283 - Wheeling, West Va.
6th place - Danette Potter - Fast Wager - 15.783 - Cecil, Ohio

Senior Horse Barrel Racing 
5th place - Jurie Buchleitner - Gordan's Lena 234 - 15.431 - Creekside, Penn.

Amateur Barrel Racing 
1st place - Bert Thompson - Shesa Hurricane Payday - 15.243 - Mannington, West Va.
5th place - Travis Smith - Sticks Rolling Stones - 15.357 - Blanchester, Ohio
8th place - Jessica Ford - Teddy Terrific - 15.497 - Chillicothe, Ohio
10th place - Lori Harper - Jessies Missin Cash - 15.555 - Hermitage, Penn. 

Amateur Select Barrel Racing 
5th place - Leticia Powell - Qui Fire - 16.158 - Dillsburg, Penn.
6th place - Jimmy Hill - Haida Smokin Gun - 16.230 - New Milford, Penn.
7th place - Bill Burton - JBS Mickey Mouse - 16.259 - New Martinsville, West Va. 

Novice Amateur Barrel Racing 
1st place - Lori Harper - Jessies Missin Cash - 15.725 - Hermitage, Penn.
3rd place - Kylie Keslar - Honor My Lil Pistol - 15.736 - White, Penn.
4th place - Desiree Pesko - Quick Morning Dash - 15.845 - Minerva, Ohio
5th place - Patsy Lyall - RS Tuff Shadow - 15.873 - Zanesville, Ohio

Youth Barrel Racing 13 & Under 
1st place - Megan Yurko - Beea Stash of Money - 15.453 - Wheeling, West Va.
5th place - Taylor Howell - Easy to Strike - 15.878 - Arcanum, Ohio
6th place - Caitlin Marchese - Array of Echo - 15.886 - Monroeville, Penn.
7th place - Megan Yurko - Easy Go Ned Pepper - 15.887 - Wheeling, West Va. 
9th place - Collin Watson - Nik Can Do - 15.920 - Cable, Ohio

Youth Barrel Racing 14-18
2nd place - Jurie Buchleitner - Gordons Lena 234 - 15.434 - Creekside, Penn.
3rd place - Abigail Ringer - Missin Eudie - 15.583 - Hartville, Ohio
4th place - Tori Becker - Day Dreamin La Jolla - 15.764 - Pittsburgh, Penn.
9th place - Gabrielle Oder - LJS Poco Freckles - 15.893 - Hamilton, Ohio

Novice Youth Barrel Racing 13 & Under
1st place - Trate Brown - Midnight Rose Bud - 15.799 - Byesville, Ohio
2nd place - Zane Johnson - Ems Pretty Chick - 15.81 - Parkersburg, West Va. 
6th place - Megan Yurko - Beea Stash of Money - 16.035 - Wheeling, West Va.
7th place - Zane Johnson - Flying By Meyers - 16.067 - Parkersburg, West Va. 
8th place - Bailey Angelo - TDL Renes Rambo - 16.075 - Normalville, Penn.

Novice Youth Barrel Racing 14-18
1st place - Abigail Ringer - Missin Eudie - 15.735 - Hartville, Ohio
4th place - Stevie Young - Oh for a Jet - 15.824 - Barnesville, Ohio
6th place - Mia Shaffer - Bunch O Honey - 15.941 - Apollo, Penn.
8th place - Jesse Swink - Jai Alai Jessi - 16.053 - Acme, Penn. 

NYATT Barrel Racing 
1st place - Summer Reese - Robins Last Princess - 15.866 - New Richmond, Ohio
6th place - Jessica Detweiler - Happy All the Time - 16.679 - Lake Harmony, Penn.
9th place - Meranda Hayes - Dashaspeck - 16.756 - Kitts Hill, Ohio

Monday, October 26, 2009

In the Aftermath of the Congress...

After five days at the All-American Quarter Horse Congress in Columbus, Ohio, I am laying on my couch with a nasty sinus infection and a big hole in my bank account. After all of the money spent on things I didn't need, the voice lost from yelling so hard for friends and the weight gained from eating cinnamon roles, bourbon chicken and roast beef sundaes, I've started to think about why I really love the Congress so much. 

1. The Congress Bubble - With everything going on in the world and all of my passions overextended, it's wonderful to escape from it all and only worry about what draw my friends are in the youth and sweepstakes. When my biggest problem at the moment is what color gator boots to buy from Lagrange, life is good. 

2. The Memories - Pulling in to the Congress, the parking lot, barns and Coliseum look just the same as they did all of the years we hauled my trusty youth horse, Zippos Three Dee, or "Onyx," there from Pennsylvania in the middle of the night. Those were the best days of my life, hands down, and each year when I return I'm reminded of the "on-top-of-the-world" feeling that I had then. I remember my trainer, Ginny Bowman, making the experience all about Onyx and me, putting on my splint boots "just right" and waking me up at 2 a.m. to trudge through the rain to the warm-up pen. I remember all of pictures we took with my friends and family after the announced the Top Ten, and the pride I'd feel buying my Top Ten coat. Even more, it was the late nights running around on golf carts until all hours of the night, trying to find trouble because we couldn't get into the Corral, that made the trip even more exciting.

3. The Shopping - I save up all year to be able to buy what I want, and some of what I need, at the Congress. Nowhere else in Pennsylvania or Ohio can you spend so much money in one place on your horses. With every product imaginable, I am always able to make that dream Congress purchase. One year it was a Dale Chavez pleasure saddle, another year a Dale Martin barrel saddle, and the list goes on. 

4. The Food - While eating at the Congress can be a financial venture in itself, it's important to indulge at least once while you're there to get the full effect. The bourbon chicken, apple dumplings, cinnamon roles and roast beef sundaes are just a few of the fair-food delicacies. While it is impossible to eat anything without spending at least $6.50, one bite into the bourbon chicken and you won't regret a thing. 

5. The Reunion - Being plopped down out here in the middle of Southeastern Ohio, I miss my Pennsylvanian barrel racing family like nothing else. While we may see each other at one or two shows that I drive home for, rarely do we get to spend an entire five days together like we do at the Congress. We spend our time shopping because we know exactly one another's tastes, and we talk each other into spending the money we shouldn't. We have time to talk about everything we used to talk about, and in the end, the goodbyes are always impossible. 

6. The First Barrel - The money barrel at the Congress is the hardest to make of any pen I've ever, ever seen, and the split second a horse nails it perfectly, the rush of adrenaline even someone sitting in the stands feels is like no other. Nailing that first barrel at the Congress sets many horses up to have a perfect second barrel, so that in the end, they get a straight line to the hard-to-perfect Congress third barrel. The cloverleaf at the Congress separates the men from the boys, so to speak, and many great horses can never seem to clock there. 

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Second Congress Update

With the sweepstakes getting ready to kick off, most of the ground issues that plagued barrel racers the first two days have been worked out. Even more, most have managed to figure out how to land the Congress's infamous first barrel. The second go of the sweeps saw some of the fastest runs of the week, with it seemed like nearly everybody landing somewhere in the 15s. After a bad fall in the first go, Ohio's Kelly Pitts clocked 15.4 to make it to the short go. Pennsylvania's Shana Simmons time of 15.3 also held her in place for the finals from the first go. Stay tuned for finals updates!

Friday, October 23, 2009

First Congress Update!

With the first day down at the All American Quarter Horse Congress for Ohio and Pennsylvania cowgirls and cowboys, the first barrel proved to be as elusive as always and the ground as slick as usual for this show.
The sweepstakes was difficult to watch at points when great horses and riders like Kelly Pitts and Stevie Young went down in painful fashion turning barrels. Still others struggled to turn the first barrel at all, as the monster run from the alleyway to the first made it tougher than most other pens.
Brett Monroe won the barrel race, and special congrats to West Sunbury, Pennsylvania's 13-year-old Shana Simmons for placing 3rd!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Weekend Review - IBRA/NBHA at Porchview Arena, Acme, Penn.

On one of the coldest days so far this fall, western Pennsylvania's barrel racers headed to Porchview Arena in Acme, Penn., to show down in one of the last barrel races before many head to the All American Quarter Horse Congress. For many of the youth, the pressure was on to have one of the last good runs before the Congress. In the open, though, it would prove to be a pee-wee's show, as Julie Siesky, the leading Penn-Ohio pee-wee, set a pace atop her mother's retired barrel horse early in the night that held throughout the 70 horses in the Open 4-D. 

What: IBRA/NBHA Barrel Race, 3D Youth, 3D Open, 4D Open, 3D Masters

Who: Barrel racers and pole benders from the Tri-state area, many IBRA members

Added Money: $300 added in the 4D, $25 added in the Youth

The Ground: The major complaint of the show was that the ground was not sticky enough for some horses that really needed to get down deep in it. It did seem rather loose, but no major falls or accidents happened because of the ground. It was pretty safe. The fastest time of the day was run in the Masters, with Roger Bracken cracking a 15.2, but nothing was faster. 

Overall: Some great horses ran some great times at this show. It was great to see Julie Siesky win the open with a 15.4, as later her mother said this was her first 1D check ever. A lot of people ran in the 15s, showing the consistency of the competitors in the area. 

The weather put a damper on the fun, and the mud outside the arena got lots of splint boots filthy. Parking became kind of a nightmare as many people were parked in because those who pulled in later were trying to avoid parking in the field and getting stuck in the mud, although the mud in the fields ended up not being too bad. 

Porchview's show committee had some great warm soup and coffee to keep everyone warm, though. Some vendors also showed up to sell sparkly tack, jewelry and purses. 

Part Five with BillieAnn Sexton

A lot more goes into each run than just the 15 seconds or so in the arena. Every cowgirl has her favorite saddle, her favorite traveling partners and some terrible stories from on the rodeo road to share. Below, BillieAnn Sexton talks about the "extras" that go into each rodeo. 


What type of splint boots do you use?

Professional's Choice on the front. Polo wraps on the back.

What type of saddle do you ride?

My favorite is my Ken Raye/Tami Purcell. I also love my Martin/Sherry Cervi saddle

What kind of truck do you pull your trailer with?

Ford, 450

Who do you travel with?

Bobby Abernathy, Daniel Robertson, and Cody Miller is usually the crew.

What's the worst rodeo experience of your life?

In Memphis, Tenn., in the barrels I was running home from my run, and at high school rodeos they never keep a open alley, which my horse going to rodeos is not use to a close gate in the arena. So "Sassy" realizes  the gate was closed and crow-hops right, then left, I was not prepared for that my hand was still on my whip not the saddle horn, and it slingshots me into the bucking shoots. I chipped a few teeth, got knocked out, had a severe concussion and got a piece of my lip ripped off. That morning and afternoon on a snowy Memphis day was not to exciting. On the bright side, I placed, and that night I was in the performance in the breakaway roping. Although I was told by the doctor not to ride, I won it. 

What will you not leave home without?

Magnets and treats for the horses, and also, my phone.

How often do you give your horses time off?

Since I have a few they get weekends to stay home from running, but I keep them exercised. 

How often do you take time off yourself?

Maybe a day out of a month? I love what I do, so I am not "in need" of time off.

What are your future goals? College, PRCA, etc?

I turn 18 March 5th, I am going to buy my Pro permit. I hope to make the Circuit Finals this year and in two or three years make a run for the National Finals Rodeo. That is a lot to ask for, but its been my dream since I was 10 and I'm sticking to it! I am not going to college rodeo, I'm going to take college classes online, one day I would like to own my own practice in equine embryo transferring. 

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Part Four with BillieAnn Sexton

Whether she is warming up for the IFR or getting her breakaway horse ready for a local rodeo, BillieAnn Sexton keeps her warmup consistent with each of her horses. Below, she discusses her routines on the rodeo circuit and the mentality she tries to maintain while living the rodeo life. She also talks about what products keep her horses running great each weekend. 

Outside the Pen

What is your warm-up like?

Long trotting and making the horse be soft and supple by moving it over with my leg, bending at the poll, and getting there rear end under them.

Do you have any rituals that you never break?

I use to have them bad, call me crazy but when I was little I could not pick out the color of the rubber bands to put in my horses mane, I would just use what ever color I picked first and put it in, or I would call it bad luck for myself. I have grown out of the superstitions.

How early do you like to get to a rodeo?

At least an hour before, when we arrive I want enough rest time for my horse to perform, hauling is hard on all horses. As soon as we arrive I water them and put there magnets on them unless they are already on them. 

Who do you look towards for advice?

My mom, when I get down on myself for messing up under pressure she will always give me the best advice.

Who else's runs do you always watch?

At the IPRA's, Laura Kerley, her and her horse Jackie are such a team.

What supplements do you use on your horses?

SeaBuck, it keeps my horses shiny and healthy while also preventing from ulcers. I also give them a shot of Adequine, which is a joint supplement every two weeks.

What do you feed your horses?


What veterinary practices do you use most often?

I will always stretch my horses necks with a treat to both sides, and stretch there legs. At a walk, zig-zagging down a hill builds there stifle muscles. I love cold liniments or wrapping my horse in poultice for trailer rides. If my horse's legs are swollen a little from a trailer ride or the blood circulation is not flowing enough I will run cold water over there legs for 20 minutes and then put magnets on them. 

What rules do you play by with your horses? What drugs will you use and what drugs won't you use?

I give a shot of Adequan to all the performance horses every two weeks, it is a joint supplement. Also if I know I am competing at a big rodeo I will give a shot of Legend 72 hours out. Also Banamine is a great muscle relaxer if one my horses feel horse.

What's the best part about your riding?

Spending time with my horses and becoming a "team" with them.

What do you struggle with riding-wise?

Mainly its in my mind, I tend to think to much. 

Are there any head games you play with yourself that can mess you up?

Yes, many, pressure is something I been working on for a long long time now, if the odds go for me to win a average by the time I make the short go, I won't. I start thinking about it way to much instead of going out there and riding hard, I will safety up, which leads to mess up. Go hard, EVERY TIME! Don't learn the hard way, like I have.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Part Three with BillieAnn Sexton - In the Arena

With more experience in the rodeo pen than women twice her age, BillieAnn Sexton has figured out how to win in some of the toughest setups the IPRA has to offer. She has run everywhere from Marietta, Ga., to St. Tite, Quebec, and she has done a lot more than just barrel race. The cowgirl knows her way around the roping pen and can catch a calf in breakaway as well. 

In the Rodeo Pen

What type of alleyway/entrance do you prefer?

I like a narrow alley way that is centered with the third barrel but any alley way were the third barrel is in sight for line up is fine.

What are you thinking running towards the first barrel?

I try to keep my mind clear and feel what I need to do at the moment, make a good run.

What are you thinking running home?

It kinda depends on the run I feel like I made. Good run I am thinking those good, sweet thoughts. Run with a few mistakes, I am anxious to hear my time. If I hit barrel I am thinking about what I should had done differently. 

How do you approach a barrel (e.g. big pocket, straight, etc.)?

I learned to make my "spot" about 4 feet over to the side of the barrel, enough room to where my horse can shape and snap back around the barrel quickly. 

What do you worry about most while rodeoing (e.g. the ground, the weather, the arena size, the competition, etc. etc.?)

I try not to worry about that to much. I do have a few barrel horses so some do better in different arena conditions then others. If I know the size of the pattern and whether its hard or deep ground I will pick and choose the horse to take.

What type of shoes do you have on your rodeo horses?

Sassy, Dora, and Barracuda I have rims on the front and regular on the back. I put the rims on them for traction. Brownie I have 2 degree wedges on his front because he does not grow much heel.

What type of ground do you prefer?

Depends on the horse, this year I have mainly taken Sassy and Barracuda, Sassy loves hard trashy ground and Barracuda works the best in deep ground.

What size of pen do you prefer?

The pen size doesn't matter to me either it will just pick the horse I want to run at that rodeo. 

Do you like to run in slack or the performance, and why?

Performance, I like the crowd, the loud music, bright lights, just the whole excitement in the atmosphere. 

Why did you decide to run the IPRA?

Its a wonderful association and its a great place to season myself before I turn 18 and start Pro rodeoing.

Why do you run rodeos instead of barrel races?

I use to go to a lot of big super shows and also rodeos, but I now mainly go to rodeos because I like traveling from rodeo to rodeo instead of being at one place all week. The rodeo's are a lot more exciting, but I do also enjoy going to barrel races.

What type of horse do you think makes the best rodeo horse?

A rodeo horse has to be very seasoned and can handle all types of ground. Rodeo ground is not always good. I like horses that are bred run and cow so they have the mind, but also have enough run to win.

What is your favorite IPRA rodeo?

St. Tite, Quebec, Canada.

What is your horse's cue to turn a barrel (i.e. lift, leg pressure, check, etc.)?

When I get to my "spot" I sit down grab for the saddle horse with outside hand, lift my horse with inside rein and bump with inside leg witch picks there rib cage up and shapes them.

What is your most common mistake?

Wanting to sit down and go for saddle horn before my "spot." Instead of drive, drive, drive all the way to my spot then sit down, lift, and shape.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Part Two with BillieAnn Sexton

With a herd of top horses, Sexton 

has the ability to change horses depending on the arena. Below, she talks about what 

she does to season young horses to get them ready for 

the rough IPRA circuit. 


How much training to do you do of your own horses? 

Exercise everyday, long trot them in a pasture for 20 minutes. I mainly work my horses off the barrels, I keep them flexing and moving off my leg, I also like to work all off them on calves and steers to keep their minds thinking of more than just barrel racing.

Who else helps you train and and tune horses?


What is your favorite training tool for a young horse?

The round pen. The confined arena helps there attention go to the person on there back. Its a great way for a young horse gain consistency for perfect circles. 

How old do you like your horses to be before you start rodeoing with them?

I think it depends on the horse. Some mature quicker then others. If they are four and can handle being pushed hard then I believe they can be hauled.    

What is your favorite bit for a young horse?

Sherry Cervi snaffle or a twisted wire draw bit.

How do you get a horse ready to rodeo? 

There is a big difference in rodeo and going to barrel races, so first I will get a young horse seasoned going to barrel races with them, then it's time to be under the big lights at a rodeo. 

What type of ground do you have in your arena at home?

Sand, it gets pretty deep but I think it helps a horse find its rear end while going around the barrel.

Do you ride horses for other people?

I am still young and also learning myself on training my own barrel horses, but i believe I may start that soon. 

BillieAnn exercising her horse, Brownie, at home in Westville, Fla. 

Monday, October 12, 2009

Making It in the IPRA -17-Year-Old IFR Qualifier BillieAnn Sexton

Seventeen-year-old Westville, Fla., cowgirl BillieAnn Sexton is making a run this year to qualify for her second International Finals Rodeo. With over $6,000 won this year in the International Professional Rodeo Association, she sits at 16th in the world. At 17, she is already doing a whole lot right to make a major name for herself in professional rodeo.


When did you start running barrel horses?

I was 8 years old when i got my first barrel horse. I competed in reining before I became a barrel racer.

Who taught you to ride?

Dallas Dewees, many time SouthEastern Circuit winner.

Why barrel racing, instead of anything else?

Its intense and it will get your adrenaline going more then any other sport.

What has been your biggest accomplishment to date on the back of a horse?

Qualifying to the International Finals Rodeo(IFR)09' and winning the second round. Also Reserve at NBHA Youth World-04' 

Do you hold any arena records?

Gallup New Mexico, 15.9.(I think I still hold it.) Montgomery AL, the covered arena, not coliseum, 15.6. On the old stakes in Autagatville AL. 14.7. Valley 4, FL, 16.3.

What horse have you had the most success on?

"Shorty" Desert Patriot

What is the biggest check you’ve ever taken home in a single weekend?

Oh my, this one is hard! If I am not mistaken during the Mega barrel race I won around $5,000 that week I placed 2nd in a round, placed in a round and in the average aboard shorty! 

What does your family think of your rodeo life?

They are fully behind me 110%. I am so blessed to have such great parents.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Rodeo Horse - Having What It Takes for Tana Poppino

After years on the rodeo circuit, two trips to the National Finals Rodeo and a win at the Calgary Stampede, Tana Poppino is doing something right when it comes to picking her mounts. Rodeo is Poppino's passion, and only a select few barrel horses can ever truly become rodeo greats.

"I'm a romantic," she admitted. "Rodeo is rodeo. That's where it all started. There's nothing like running in the middle of the wide open spaces in front of a crowd of ten thousand on a Sunday afternoon."

Rodeo shows who's the best horsewoman over an entire year on all different types of ground, 
weather and arena size, Poppino said. While barrel races require specific types of ground, relatively uniform alleyways and consistently sized patterns, rodeo is always changing, requiring the cowgirl and the horse to stay on their toes.

"Rodeo forces the mental game. When set-ups are constantly changing, you have to deal with it. It forces you to be stronger mentally," she said of her sport. 

Finding a horse to handle all of that is not easy, and keeping them healthy is even harder, Poppino said.

A rodeo horse has to be, first and foremost, mentally tough. The horse has got to want to run barrels.

"Until Amigo came along, I never had one that would run at that top level," she said. "He has grit and heart, and you can't get that from breeding."

Poppino bought Amigo as a four-year-old already broke. She usually buys her horses that way because she does not enjoy the slow work that young horses require. She doesn't mind them making mistakes as they gain their speed, as long as they are trying. 

To keep her horses going, Poppino takes a "hands-on" approach to their health. On Amigo, she uses everything from chiropractics, acupuncture, ice boots massages and joint injections regularly. She also believes in using Adequan on a regular basis. Really knowing her horses is important to her, because that way he can tell when something is off before it becomes a major problem. 

Poppino also counts on her partners at Total Health Enhancement, Equipride and Professional's Choice to help keep her rodeo horses healthy. 

Monday, October 5, 2009

Getting to know Tana

When Tana Poppino made the decision in July of 2006 to quit her job as a media coordinator and rodeo full-time, she took a leap of faith, literally, on the back of her bay gelding, Amigo. With her faith in God and Amigo, Poppino spent the next year qualifying for her first National Finals Rodeo. She repeated the trip in 2007, and that year she also took home the biggest check of her life when she won the Calgary Stampede. 

The mother, wife and former full-time media relations coordinator from Big Cabin, Okla., has lived her life on the back of a horse but only recently became a full-time rodeo cowgirl. For the last ten years Poppino has counted on her stout partner, Amigo, but injuries in the past two years made her look towards a new equine here - Goose. The calm grey gelding was wildly different from the more nervous, quick Amigo, but soon Goose and Poppino would find their stride as well, a pleasant surprise for Poppino.

Now with two rodeo-ready, healthy horses, Poppino is setting out on the PRCA/WPRA circuit for the 2010 year, looking to make a run at the NFR. 

Tana on Goose

Tana on Amigo

Please check back the rest of the week to see more of our series with Tana Poppino!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Congress Therapeutic Riding Fundraiser

Whether or not you're heading out to the Congress this year, the AQHA and the Congress are asking competitors and spectators to pledge $10 to their America's Horse Cares program. This program helps people with disabilities gain freedom through horseback riding. 

On a personal note, my mother works with emotionally disturbed high school students, and as often as she can she takes them to Slippery Rock University's therapeutic riding school. Her students experience huge changes on the back of a horse and there's nothing they look forward to more. While many worthy causes exist, I think we can all relate to how much our horses help us in our times of need. The confidence and comfort a horse can provide to a person with disabilities is difficult to measure. 

Thursday, October 1, 2009

This Week's Barrel Racing Report - NFR Qualifiers Announced

This week's Barrel Racing Report  has the full NFR qualifier listing! See where your favorite WPRA cowgirl falls. 

Your place for Congress Results

TheBarrelRacingBlog will be camping out at the All American Quarter Horse Congress from Oct. 22-25 to get you all of the up-to-the-minute barrel racing and pole bending results. We will talk to place winners and make sure to grab a hold of Pennsylvania and Ohio competitors to talk about their Congress experiences. 
I can promise you, too, that we will have photos and videos from the Congress night-life, too! 
Just keep following TheBarrelRacingBlog and we'll have all the information you need!