Bobby "Booger" Barter's death is devastating to the barrel racing and team roping industries. With that said, his death has underscored the fact that these so-called industries are much more than just that - these are communities of people who love and care for one another in ways not comparable in many other areas of life.
While the details of Barter's death remain unclear and may never truly be known to anyone but his immediate family and Barter himself, what will always be known is how Barter lived. His devotion to barrel racing and team roping as sports and as communities of people produced forums like BarrelRacingBuzz.com, where still today complete strangers are coming together to morn his loss. Though they are in mourning, conversations continue on about Christmas recipes, the National Finals Rodeo and more.
Already, an NBHA district in Texas is organizing a fundraiser for Barter's young son, Bandera, selling $5-arm bands. Friends of Barter are uploading videos of his fun-loving ways to the forum, and some are discussing having a Booger Barter Memorial Show.
For some reason that I'll never know or begin to understand, barrel racers come together because we get each other. In times of grief, we can relate to one another like few others in our lives. In times of joy, we celebrate together. When Sherri Cervi and Tammy Key ran Stingray and Dinero, respectively, in Round 6, we all knew that we were witnessing a special moment in barrel racing history. Unfortunately, we also knew that that moment would be overshadowed by the heartbreaking moment that occurred in Athens, Texas, earlier that same day.
Yesterday, I posted a short blip about Barter's death, linking to The Barrel Racing Report that ran what appeared on the World Barrel Racing and World Team Roping websites. That short post received more views than any other story in the nine-month history of this blog. In fact, it received more than twice as many views as any other post I've ever put on the site.
Normally, most of the Barrel Racing Blog's readers come from Pennsylvania and Ohio, but yesterday, a national audience flocked to this small site. Readers came in from Athens, Texas, and Athens, Ohio. Obviously, most visited the post about Barter's death, but many poked around at what else the Barrel Racing Blog had to offer. If I were to guess why, I would say it's because we as barrel racers can't help ourselves - if we see an article about Joe B Jammin or a listing of results from a small town rodeo in Ohio, we can't resist.
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