Not only did I witness history being made; I was also a part of it! Then to add icing to the cake, Iget to write about it! The Choctaw Run for the Bucks presented by World Barrel Racing Productions steer headed, or should we now say barrel headed, by the famous Bobby L. Barter was held in Durant, Oklahoma at the Choctaw Casino Complex.
I was pumped when I headed North on I-35 Friday morning. I was going to a barrel race but I knew that somehow things were going to be a little different. I didnít realize how different.
It started as I drove into the gate. I saw numerous trucks and trailers parked and I headed in their direction. I easily found a place to park and I was soon on my way inside to find my stall assignment. It was easy to find the stall office and within a few minutes I was putting my horse into his stall for the weekend. Everything is brand new and well thought out. The stalls looked like huge cages. The ventilation was wonderful.
The Choctaw Arena was great! Stalls surrounded the covered arena and on one end. It was away from the hustle and bustle of the Coliseum! Like almost a mile away. There was a pathway you could follow over to the Coliseum or you could throw your horse in the trailer and drive over. There was plenty of parking and an outside makeup area there also.
Saturday morning there was an announcement made that the barrel race would start at 10:00 am and the opening ceremonies would begin at 9:35 am. Now I have to say, if I hadnít been reporting I would have opted to skip that part. I had two choices, I could drive over or take one of the golf carts the Casino supplied to move contestants and their families back and forth between the arena and coliseum. What a great service! I used it many times.
Off I went! I soon saw Amie Roberts and Bobbyís wife, Amy and their little boy, Bandera. Smiling and giggling, they had cowhide purses filled with Mardi Gras beads and leis. I introduced myself and took some quick pictures. I started to giggle! This was quite different! And to think, I could have missed it!
Soon after there was an announcement that the coliseum would be going to a dark house. And a dark house it became. To my amazement, I thought I was at a first class stock show Rodeo! Pyrotechnics, spotlights and riders presenting the colors moved into the arena! The crowd went wild! People were standing up, cheering and hollering! Iíve never been to a barrel race like this before! Wild would be putting it mildly!
Amie, Amy and Bandera were now moving around the crowd throwing beads and leis! Another man came into the arena throwing Frisbees! Afterwards you went to the office to collect the prize that was written on the back of each one.
The National anthem was played along with a dedication to our brave men and women in our armed forces. As I looked around, many a tear was being wiped away along with my own. I still get goose bumps as I write this.
Just when things calmed down, Bobby entered the arena! You would have thought the Spurs had entered the SBC center in San Antonio! It was better then that! The man that was changing barrel racing history entered!
He started to talk about his vision of the future of barrel racing. He was hoping for 700 to 800 entries for this inaugural event. He wasnít even prepared for the overwhelming amount of entries. Bobby went on to say he was begged, bribed and threatened. He couldnít believe how many entries he had to turn down.
He talked about getting the best in the business. He hopes that Phil Goostree and Chuck Dunn will be able to continue on with him. He was soon going to find out just how good they were at taking care of the ground conditions! I donít care if you have all the right equipment; you need to know how to use it! The guys from D&G are the experts and are the best in the business! I sure hope along with the majority of contestants that they do continue on with Bobby.
Then thereís the timer system! Not one missed time or one glitch was made to my knowledge! Besides having the best timing system in the whole United States, they over a unique service. The Tanner Time Comparison Report. You can watch a video all day long, but numbers never lie!
Then there was the announcer! What a voice and what enthusiasm! TC is the man!
I could go on for pages, so instead Iíll give you the highlights:
The next scheduled race is for Waco, Texas over Labor Day weekend. It was originally scheduled for 2- days but has now been extended to a 3- day event. There will be a limit of 2000 entries. The fees will be $100 with a one-time $20 processing fee.
Bobby will be taking $10 of this entry fee and put it into an added incentive. The plans are to have groups of 400 and pay these off as a 4-D. Heís calling this running for diesel. It will give everyone another chance to win his or her money back. Pretty cool idea I must say!
Other dates? Texas should be seeing yet another after Waco. Have you ever heard of the River Walk or the Alamo? I can also give you a few hints about an event out of Oklahoma and Texas. Where can you find beaches, alligators and hurricanes? I really think little Bandera wants to meet Mickey Mouse!
Bobby went on to talk about what he sees in the future. Letís say a few years down the road. He then asked if we preferred a 6 speed or automatic! The cheers were deafening! Heck, Iíve always been a manual person but I think I could get used to an automatic real quick! Donít you agree?
He went on to say that weíll be looking back in a few years and will say, ďCan you believe the first race only paid $2000 and a saddle to win it?Ē I thought to myself, ďIíll be looking back at the person I just passed driving my new automatic!Ē
Bobby feels whether youíre a champion or a play-dayer you're equal and should have the same chance to win big money and prizes! Needless to say the roof was lifted once again! By now Iím sure youíve figured out this isnít an ordinary producer with ordinary ideas. Heís on a mission to turn barrel racing upside down just like he did in the team roping. Team ropers told me that he always had something going on to add to the event that he soon proved them right. He offered a $500 bonus to the first 15.5 ran!
As everyone knows Bobby upped the ante before the event. He didnít stop there! Before it was all said and done, the guaranteed pay off total of $54,000, increased to a whooping $92,000 of cash and prizes! Remember that this was a guaranteed race no matter how many entries there were! His ratings went off the charts! This man shared when he certainly didnít have to!
It was now show- time! Lisa Smith and Bugs A Flyin made the very first run at The World Barrel Racing Production Choctaw Show. How exciting!
The morning soon became afternoon. An amazing 65 horses were being run an hour. The ground stayed good and the contestants kept flowing in and out.
When Bobbyís voice was heard over the PA there was a stampede to the stands. Everyone now knew something good was about to happen. If it wasnít Frisbee throws for prizes, it was a contest for prizes. An egg toss and an over 50 dance contest were just a sampling of fun things that kept the race very upbeat and exciting.
The afternoon became evening; evening soon became the wee hours of the morning. We were then treated to an Oklahoma storm! Everyone was running to get horses under cover and checking on their horses that were already safely tucked away.
We were fortunate enough that the worst of the storm headed north of us. Strong winds, lightning; a hard down pour along with a huge drop in temperature surrounded us. Contestants continued to get ready and made their runs. While some were stuck in the coliseum, the rest of us were stranded in the arena a mile away. We were all very glad when it was over and we could head out to go to bed.
The first day of contestants finished around 3:00 am. After about 967 runs the top dog was Lanita Powers riding Wahini Cash with a 15.759.
Sunday morning seemed to come real early! The Barter Crew hardly had time to have breakfast and clean up!A church service was enjoyed before the opening ceremonies began. Once again the contestants and their families that werenít there on Saturday enjoyed a repeat performance.
At 9:00 am Sundayís performance started. Every time the leader board changed you could hear the scoreboard go off! Iím not sure exactly how many times that it changed but before it was all said and done Lanita had been moved to 6th place. Christi Weger riding I'm Silver-N-Trouble, made the biggest change towards the end of the day running a scorching 15.558 which was the first 15.5 to be run! Mary Burger on Rare Fred was reserve with a 15.651.
The Champions of each division received a beautiful Martin Trophy saddle along with a big check.
The reserve down to 8th place received gorgeous Maynard trophy buckles that were presented in a beautiful silver box.
The 9th thru 15th place received a choice of a cowhide purse, bronc halter or saddle pad.
One thing was sure. Bobby L Barter and his crew earned many fans over this weekend and rightly so. Barrel racers are begging from all over the country for World Barrel Racing Productions to come to a facility by them.
My farrier and spiritual buddy, Mike Walsh came this week to shoe my horse. Heís been to the Booger Barter Team Ropings and knows Bobby. He went on and on about what a great man and most of all what a great family man he is. He said heís one of the most honest and sincere man heís ever had the pleasure of knowing. I was telling him all the events prior and that I was writing my story and I was having trouble putting it into words. I went on to tell him how much it hurt that some fellow barrel racers would actually bash this man. He quickly brought to light what I was trying to put into words but was stuck. With his help Iím able to finish this story.
Bobby has a plan. Itís human nature to take a quick look and immediately judge his plan. We as humans donít like change. In fact we usually fear change. Change is what has made our sport grow to what it is today. With Bobbyís plan we are going to see changes that is going to totally blow this sport and us away.
Change is going to be where our future is.
There are going to bumps and weíre going to hit potholes along the way. But with continuing changes the potholes will be filled and the bumps smoothed out. One thing for sure, the door is being opened for more and more people to compete and enjoy this sport on their own level. With the larger numbers, all of us will reap the harvest from 1-D to 6-D but itís very sad that as this is happening the doors are being closed to our Rodeo barrel racers and team ropers.
Life is very simple. Instead of judging and waking away, ask why? Whatís the future plan? You just might be surprised the answer you get.
Like Bobby put it so well in his advertisement for Waco:
WARNING: the Surgeon General has determined that this event may be addicting due to the great money, excellent prizes and lots of fun.
Just a tad late on the warning Bobby! I think you already have about 1400 of us hooked.
Thanks for the great ride! See you in Waco!
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