Barrel Racing in 907 AK

The History of Barrel Racing

Barrel racing is a rodeo event that combines the horse's athletic ability with the horsemanship skills of the rider to safely and successfully maneuver through a clover leaf pattern around three barrels, (typically fifty-five gallon metal or plastic drums), placed in a triangle in the center of an arena. In this extremely competitive sport, speed is of the essence, and electronic “eyes” are used to time each run to the thousandth of a second.

The timer begins when horse and rider cross the start line, and ends when the barrel pattern has been successfully executed and horse and rider cross the finish line. The rider's time depends on several factors, most commonly the horse's physical and mental condition, the rider's horsemanship abilities, and the type of ground or footing (the quality, depth, content, etc. of the sand or dirt in the arena).

Barrel racing originally developed as an event for women. While the men roped or rode bulls and broncs, the women barrel raced. In the beginning, the barrel pattern alternated between a figure-eight and a cloverleaf but the figure-eight pattern was eventually dropped in favor of the more-difficult cloverleaf. It is believed that Barrel Racing first saw competitive light in the state of Texas, as part of the WPRA, (Women’s Professional Rodeo Association), developed in 1948 by a group of women looking to make a home for women in the sport of rodeo.

The WPRA was the first rodeo organization developed for women where they could compete in any rodeo event they wanted to. When it initially began, the WPRA consisted of only 74 members with as little as 60 approved tour events. To this day, the WPRA allows women to compete in various rodeo events as they like, but barrel racing remains the most popular and has branched out into thousands of organizations all over the world.

Barrel Racing in Alaska

Barrel racing has been part of a proud western tradition in Alaska for over 20 years. In the beginning, that first organization had a small membership and held local races a few times a summer. Since that time, barrel racing has become a statewide passion and spread from Fairbanks to Soldotna and beyond.  Membership numbers have climbed into the thousands, and now include a large group of youth racers; the future of the sport. 

South Central barrel racing suffered a blow in the summer of 2011 with the closing of the local club due to the out of state relocation of its owner.  As a group we decided that there have been far too many wonderful people (and horses), who have put far too much time, money, energy, training and love into barrel racing in Alaska to let it die out now.  With the future of barrel racing in mind, we made some decisions and as a result we are thrilled to introduce 907 Barrel Racers! 

Our ultimate focus is sportsmanship and horsemanship and our pledge to the community is a safe, fair, professional and fun association that is not only focused on our next generation of racers, but also taking our open division to new levels of achievement. Our plans include competitive weekly barrel races at a variety of arenas around the valley and Anchorage, as well as a number of weekend playdays directed at fun and skill enhancement. 

In order to see our goals reached, 907 Barrel Racers will be seeking sponsorships through soliciting grant opportunities, local businesses, family and friends along with the sales of some awesome 907 Barrel Racers swag.

We are all very excited about this upcoming year and the potential for the future of our great sport in our great state!

Thanks from your 907 Barrel Racers Board of Directors