Some of the nation’s best barrel racers traveled last weekend to the Tennessee Miller Coliseum for an International Barrel Racing Association event.
Several classes took part but, by the end of the weekend, two riders stood out – Jimmy Cagle and Craig Brooks. Brooks won the futurity class for the second time in three years, while Cagle dominated the open classes.
The futurities class is the one in which all of the best riders and horses compete. This year’s event was no different as 66 horses raced around the three barrel cloverleaf course hoping to get the fastest time possible without knocking over a barrel.
For some of the riders, including Brooks and Cagle, they rode several horses during the different classes. For Brooks, his winning horse in the futurity was RU Ready to Design, who ran the course in 15.650 on the first day, and then it followed up with a 15.825 during Sunday's competition to led the average and pick up the win.
“She is a quiet horse, and has always has been a hard worker,” Brooks said after winning the class Sunday. “She is a working-type horse that likes to run barrels.”
The horse was of only one of two that broke the 16-second barrier in both rounds, and Brooks had the fastest time each of the goes. Brooks felt his winning horse handled the surface at Miller Coliseum better than some of the other horses.
“It’s a really big pin, and the ground is a little bit different than what their used to running on,” Brooks said. “It just suited my horse, because she stays on top of the ground a little bit better.”
Coming into the Murfreesboro event, which the IBRA has held at Miller Coliseum since 2005, President Shane Cline said he believed the dirt is some of the best the organization races on each season. Brooks said it was one of the reasons he won the event for the second time in three years.
“The ground was not bad, it was a little bit different,” Brooks said. “This dirt is a little bit more firm and tacky and it grabs the horse a little bit more.”
For the rider out of Georgia, Brooks did not get the chance to ride his horses very much in preparation for the event because of the weather. Brooks said his ranch got four inches of snow last week, but he was still able to make the trip to Murfreesboro.
For Cagle, hailing from Fayetteville, Tenn., competing in Murfreesboro gave him a chance to limit his travel from Lincoln County. It must have helped since Cagle along with his horse Dashin Live Rockette won the open class on both Friday and Saturday each time breaking the 16-second barrier, including a 15.462 in the Saturday open event.
“I had a pretty good weekend,” Cagle said. “The event was close to home, and that makes it a lot better since I did not have to worry about fuel costs.”
The IBRA heads to Lewisburg, Ohio, for its next Preferred Show in April.