Some of the top riders from around the country converged on Tennessee Miller Coliseum this weekend, which continues today, for the 2013 International Barrel Racing Association competition.
Regardless of age and skill, each rider has to same goal in mind getting around the course in the fastest time possible.
“Barrel racing is an event in which three barrels are setup in the shape of a triangle,” explained Shane Cline, president of the Barrel Racing Association. “Competitors then attempt to run their horses around all three barrels in a cloverleaf pattern. The pair that can do so the fastest without knocking over a barrel wins.”
The fastest time in last year's event was 15.197 seconds, set by Troy Crumrine and his horse Deuce.
Throughout the weekend, several different classes took to some of the best dirt on the circuit, Cline said, as they competed for prize money, which could reach more than $10,000 before the end of today’s action.
Each of the classes will have raced only once, except for the main attraction, the futurities, horses 4 years old or younger. Those horses ran the first round, or also known as a go, yesterday. The second go will be contested later today.
“These horses are the ones that will be running in the open competitions soon so they are the ‘new kids,’ so to speak,” Cline said.
This makes for a very entertaining barrel race, as people want to see their upcoming competition.
The futurity horses are often trained also by professionals, so specators can see a collection of the best riders in country. The owners of the futurity horses have paid a lot of money in training and are looking for a return on their money.
Last year’s prize money in the futurity event, Cline said, got all the way up to $14,030, and he is expecting the same this weekend.
In the meantime, riders of all ages took part in the other classes, including the open 4-D, the guaranteed 4-D, the youth 3-D and the masters 3-D earlier this weekend. Today’s action includes the second go of the futurity and the added open 4-D.
Since 2004, the association has made a stop in Murfreesboro with each event inside the the Miller Coliseum. Cline said he and the rest of the tour enjoy coming to Rutherford County for many reasons.
“The No. 1 attraction is the (Tennessee Miller Coliseum),” Cline said. “This is a phenomenal horse show facility. A close second is the town of Murfreesboro. People can get out and about and not have to worry about finding a nice hotel or a place to eat.”
Some of the top riders around the nation, including former national finals champions and previous winners of this event will be making another stop to Murfreesboro as well.
Of course, last year’s Murfreesboro champion, Crumrine, is back to defend his title.
His toughest competition, and according to experts the best rider right now, is Chris Coffey and his horse Steakin Romance.
Coffey has won the last two national finals on board the same horse.
Others to watch for include multiple event winners, Marne Loosenort, Bobby Stivers, Shannon Roberts and Jimmy and Jamie Cagle.
The action starts today at 9 a.m. inside the Miller Coliseum, and it is free admission for everyone.