Bursts of speed, hairpin turns and beating the clock—barrel racing has more than a few things in common with football. One more connection took center stage at the 2014 AjPHA Youth World Championship Show: NFL offensive tackle Jason Smith was on hand to present awards in the Hopes & Dreams Barrel Racing Sweepstakes.
The barrel racing and roping event producer from Fairfield, Texas, is the newest sponsor of APHA’s Paint Barrel Racing Incentive Program. Jason leapt at the chance to get involved firsthand, and the Youth World Show’s Hopes & Dreams Barrel Racing Sweepstakes provided the perfect opportunity—while the class itself was open to both Paints and Appaloosas, an extra $1,000 sidepot was up for grabs by PBRIP-enrolled exhibitors riding Paints.
A professional athlete and lifelong horse owner, Jason—pictured above on right along with Bubba Jackson (left) and Bailey Pollock (center)—has a special appreciation for the athleticism of barrel horses.
“Barrel racing horses are very unique animals, and it takes a very special horse to do the job they do,” he said. “They run their hearts out every time, using very difficult, athletic moves to do their job. It’s like a running back in football—a very unique individual who takes a lot of pounding, and no matter when you ask it to do its job, it’s doing it at 100 percent. I believe they’re the cream of the crop.”
Bailey Pollard, a 16-year-old from Skiatook, Oklahoma, took home championship honors for both the Hopes & Dreams Barrel Racing Sweepstakes and PBRIP sidepot. Riding Beda Be Quick, a 2004 gray tobiano mare by Special Contender and out of Royal Beda Quick (QH), Bailey laid down a smoking time of 15.955 to top the 14-horse class.
“She gave me her all,” Bailey said. “I think I can just feel her and she can feel me and we have a mutual understanding. Even when I’m not riding right, she still tries for me. She’s just a good horse.”
Originally planning to only enter her regular world championship events, Bailey made a fortuitous last-minute decision to also enter the Hopes & Dreams Sweepstakes and enroll in PBRIP. As a result, Bailey’s taking home $972 for her effort. The opportunity to earn extra cash, Bailey says, makes enrolling in PBRIP a no-brainer for barrel exhibitors.
“I have friends who have been to barrel races and didn’t win any money, and then they get a $400 check in the mail a couple days later for the PBRIP,” she said. “It’s not expensive—it’s very cheap, and you get a lot of money back.”
For Jason, the opportunity to attend his first World Show was exhilarating, and he’s excited to do more in the future.
“You’ve got the World’s best here,” he said. “If you want to find out who’s the best, this is the perfect place to do it. It’s the Super Bowl.”
To learn more about PBRIP and how to get involved, visit pbrip.com.