Three metal 55 gallon barrels are arranged in a triangle, and barrel racers must run around all three barrels in a pattern known as a “cloverleaf” being careful not to turn one over. Riders may begin on the left or the right barrel first, but the pattern cannot be broken.
Horses must be not only swift, but accurate in their ability to maneuver around the barrels with ease and agility. If the rider or the horse makes contact with a barrel, it can be touched in order to keep it from falling. If not, each fallen barrel adds a penalty of five seconds to the rider’s final time. The sport is timed to the hundredth of a second. An “electric eye,” or automatic stopwatch serves as the timer on the arena floor and starts and stops once the horse and rider run in front of it. A fast run is 17 seconds or less.
2022 WPRA World Champion: Hailey Kinsel, Cotulla, TX