May Long Weekend Barrel Racing Wrap-Up

Sammi Bessert of Loma, Colorado was happy to receive an invitation to the 2010 Cloverdale Rodeo, and the talented barrel racer made her first Canadian rodeo count. She and her 8-year-old gelding, Tommy, took home $27,000 in earnings. The 2009 Black Hills Pro Rodeo Co-Champion and Wilderness Circuit Finalist rides a son of Dash Ta Fame (registered name is Terrible Tommy Twist) out of a Bugs Alive in 75/Hempen bred mare. Bessert purchased Tommy off the track as a 3-year-old.

“I was excited to get an invite to Cloverdale,” Bessert commented. “I traveled to B.C. with friend and fellow contestant, Sue Smith. It’s a great opportunity to see a different part of the country.”

In second spot at the invitational ‘non-CPRA/PRCA-approved’ event was St Paul, Alberta’s Rylee McKenzie who won a first and third in Pool A earning a total of $16.250.

Aside from the barrel racing event at Cloverdale, it’s certainly worth noting that Cochrane, Alberta bull rider Steven Turner enjoyed an amazing weekend as well, winning a total of $52,000. ($2000 in Pool A and the entire bull riding short go purse of $50,000, as he was the only bull rider to ride his bull in the final round on holiday Monday.)

Additional pro rodeo action this past weekend, included Luxton Rodeo where Kamloops barrel racer, Julie Leggett won first and Falkland Rodeo where Rylee McKenzie enjoyed more success, winning the championship there.

The Foothills Rodeo Association featured Caroline Rodeo this past weekend. Successful barrel racers there included:
1. BOBBI GOODWIN  15.689
2. VAL GILLESPIE  15.764
5. STACY LUNDE  16.060
6. KR ROBINSON  16.065

May Long Weekend Rodeo Action

The May long weekend has traditionally been a big weekend in Canadian rodeo circles with much of the action taking place in British Columbia. Unfortunately, what was once one of Canada’s biggest pro rodeos, Cloverdale, B.C., is now an invitational rough stock and barrel racing event – not sanctioned by either the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) or the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA). That being said, it remains a big payday… and a win or even a placing at Cloverdale can translate into entry fees and diesel for the next few weeks of rodeo travel. The event is set up in two pools (with two rounds in each pool) and a short go on holiday Monday. Riley McKenzie of St. Paul, AB won the first Pool with a 16.1 and a 16.44 for a total of $4750. to lead the Pool A barrel racing qualifiers heading into Monday’s short go. Lauren Chad of Calgary enjoyed two solid runs as well, and will be among those contestants running on Monday. Pool B is currently underway with Colorado’s Sammi Bessert in the lead going into the Sunday afternoon performance.

On the CPRA roster this weekend is Falkland, BC and the only Vancouver Island-based pro rodeo, Luxton, BC. As of Sunday morning, (May 23), Elaina Black (originally from Kamploops… now living in Cochrane, AB) was leading Falkland with a 16.7 second run and Williams Lake cowgirl, Colleen Duggan was sitting second. 2010 Stavely Pro Rodeo defending champion, Jacqueline Stojan leads the Luxton event heading into today’s afternoon performance with Suzanne DePaoli in second spot.

The British Columbia Rodeo Association (BCRA) has two 2010 rodeos complete with former BCRA Champion, Laura James, leading the standings to date.

Alberta’s Foothills Cowboy Association has enjoyed two events, Taber and Drayton Valley. Placings at both have launched Cessford, AB barrel racer, Laci Suitor, well into the lead with $3500. won to date. Sonda Marks of  Sunnybrook is in second spot.

In the Lakeland Rodeo Association 2010 standings (which include High Prairie and Drayton Valley), Corleen LeClercq leads the way with $2800 won to date. Kip Newborn is the leader in the Wild Rose Association.

A number of rodeos in the Semi-Pro Associations are dual or triple approved… check the various association websites for details.

The Canadian Cowboys Association season is also underway in Saskatchewan/Manitoba with two rodeos complete, (Hamiota, MB – MRCA/CCA approved – and North Battleford, SK). 2008 and defending CCA Champion, SK barrel racer, Dannielle Dinius has the lead with $2400. in earnings. Lynette Brodoway of Brooks, AB holds down second spot with $2000. won. MRCA/CCA action goes to Mankota, SK next weekend.

The Ontario Rodeo Association kicks off their season next weekend with the Lindsay Benefit Rodeo.

Check back later in the weekend for further updates.

Dee Butterfield 40 Year Milestone Set

Clinician, Breeder, Trainer & Competitor Dee Butterfield (Photo by Mike Copeman)

Dee Butterfield continues to enjoy a very successful barrel racing career. Over the years, she’s earned 15 amateur barrel racing titles, competed at 11 Canadian Finals Rodeos, earned four CPRA season leader titles, qualified for the National Finals Rodeo and won the 1992 Canadian Championship. She has also accumulated multiple futurity and derby championships spanning four decades. Having trained all her own horses from a young age, Dee has developed significant knowledge about the sport of barrel racing… from breeding and raising barrel prospects to starting and developing the young horse, right through to the highest level of competition. She knows what it takes to be successful and has the ability to pass that knowledge to her students.

Dee began instructing barrel racing and horsemanship clinics at the age of 18. The year, 2010, will mark 40 years that Dee has held clinics across Western Canada, Australia and Hawaii. Dee’s students have gone on to win barrel races at amateur, high school, little britches, junior and professional levels. Some students have become provincial, state and national champions.

Dee’s clinics are suitable for all levels of rider, from beginners to competing professionals, plus there is virtually no age requirement. Dee’s youngest student to date was a four year old… and the oldest, 65; one student has attended her clinics off and on for 34 years.

In honor of all past and present students, Dee is hosting a 2010 three day reunion event (July 8-10 in Ponoka for past clinic attendees) that will include something for everyone. Intended to be a social event for old friends to become re-acquainted and new ones to meet, event activities will include a wine and cheese, pancake breakfast, barbecue and awards. Of course, there will be a barrel race for current competitors.

With over $25,000 in prize money so far and saddles up for the winners, it should be an event well worth attending.

Go to for details.

South Country Barrel Futurity Kicks off Spring Season

2010 South Country Barrel Futurity Finalists

Barrel racers headed to Cardston, Alberta this past weekend in the wake of a southern Alberta spring storm for the South Country Futurity and Derby. Despite the unsettled weather – and the resulting mud, the eighth annual kick-off to the Canadian Barrel Futurity season saw 44 futurity contestants and 59 derby entrants compete in the popular event.

Barrels Racers warming up for Saturday's Futurity/Derby

Held at the Cardston Agriplex, the South Country Futurity featured two runs and an average in both the futurity and derby. (Due to stormy conditions in the days leading up to the event, producer, Monica Wilson, moved both long goes to Saturday. The finals ran Sunday, May 2). In addition to a host of prizes for event finalists, contestants competed for $7000. added money in the futurity and $5000 in the derby.

Sue Smith, 2010 South Country Futurity Champion

Blackfoot, Idaho cowgirl and 2009 NFR qualifier, Sue Smith and her Dash Ta Fame mare, Daisy Duke Dash earned the Futurity title with 2003 Canadian Champion, Raylee Edwards and Ms Kid Dee Dial (by Kiddin N Streakin) finishing in second spot.

Derby honours went to Carmel Wright of Roy, MT and her mare, Sweet Heart Special (by My Special Bear by Special Effort). Carmel also won both long goes on her seven year old mare. Reserve Derby champion was Mayerthorpe, Alberta horse trainer Buffy Romeo and Jig French Truckle (by RNJ Heckofafrenchman by Frenchmans Guy).

2010 South Country Derby Finalists

Oregon cowgirl, Chandra Eng and her gelding Honors French Jet (grandson of Frenchmans Guy topside and Jet of Honor on the bottom) had two amazing early Futurity runs winning both long goes. Unfortunately, she tipped a barrel in the short go.

Unofficial Futurity Results:

1   Sue Smith – Daisy Duke Dash

2   Raylee Edwards – Ms Kid Dee Dial (owned by Walter Quarter Horses)

3   Rayel Robinson – Swith Machine (owned by Suitor Quarter Horses)

4   Raylee Edwards – DJ Real Easy (owned by Walter Quarter Horses)

5   Elaina Black – Howes Aloded Shotgun (owned by Gayle Howes)

6   Nancy Csabay – Eyes of Freedom (owned by Tony & Nancy Csabay)

7   Chandra Eng – Honors French Jet

8   Carmen Pozzobon – SAQ Cow Boy Pine

9   Raelene Konzak – Royal Quick Wrangler

10 Sonda Marks – Deltas First Gamble

11 Maxine McKenna – Larks Last Reign (owned by Peggy Stojan)

12 Jon Ottun – Avistin

Unofficial Derby Results

1   Carmel Wright – Sweet Heart Special (owned by Rafter NZ Ranch)

2   Buffy Romeo – Jig French Truckle

3   Lisa Zachoda – Dynamite Perfection

4   Lana Bohnet – Sugars Top Cash (owned by Ross & Lana Bohnet)

5   Lynette Brodaway – Caught Me Streakin

6   Brandy McPhee – Serious Nitrous (owned by Brian & Brandy McPhee)

7   Traci Aipperspack – Odessa Playboy (owned by B & L Leavitt)

8   Joeleen Ottun – Dr Three Ohs Flit

9   Jill Miller – The Saga

10 Melissa Harding – Wy Not This Man (owned by Curtis & Melissa Harding)

11 Pam Morrison – Hot Disco Nights (owned by T & P Morrison)

12 Raylee Edwards – Buy Joe Easy (owned by Walter Quarter Horses)

Event Producer, Monica Wilson & Granddaughter, Ryatt Nugent presenting awards

Kudos to Monica Wilson and her team for hosting a terrific event once again. And special thanks to all of the sponsors who support the South Country Futurity & Derby. Congratulations as well, to Raylee Edwards, who had a very successful weekend on her Futurity & Derby horses… and who was this year’s recipient of the Isabelle (Miller) Haraga Memorial award!

Complete results will be posted on later this week.

Silver Sage Futurity & Derby runs next weekend (May 7-9) in Brooks, AB

More event photos below…

Canadian Barrel Incentive booth (Alison Low & her helpers)

Cassie Edwards, Rana Koopman & Mary Lynn Walter enjoy watching the futurity

Christine Ross, Tammy Burns & friends at the Interval Timing Canada booth

Derby Finalist Brandy McPhee & her son Levi hang out while waiting for the Awards Presentations

Grant Little & Rayel Robinson present Futurity Champion Sue Smith with a set of spurs

Raylee Edwards & her daughter Cassie enjoy the futurity

South Country booth crew Monica Wilson, Shirley & her grandson and Betty Algate

A Little Muddy out back

Cranna Roberts & Kirsty White warm up their horses

Springtime in Alberta?

Well… you’ve probably heard the saying, “If you don’t like the weather in Alberta, wait five minutes and it will change!” Dry ground yesterday morning to a foot of snow today with more coming down… this is a fairly typical descriptor of an Alberta spring storm! We’re enjoying some much needed spring moisture, but with it comes the challenge of adverse calving/foaling conditions and poor roads for travel.

Out here in the hills west of Claresholm, the rain started about 5 a.m. Wed morning, changing to snow a few hours later… and it hasn’t slowed down much since. The benefits of the heavy wet stuff will, hopefully, translate into green grass and less expensive hay this year.

With the first Western Canadian-based barrel futurity set to run in Cardston, AB tomorrow evening, contestants have been worried about reaching the southwestern AB community – which from varied reports – are getting more than their fair share of the white stuff.

For anyone concerned about making it to Futurity in time for 6 p.m. tomorrow evening (Fri, Apr 30); rest assured that organizers have postponed the first go in the Futurity and Derby to Saturday morning (May 1) to allow entrants safer and longer travel time. The storm is supposed to start abating as the day wears on with winds and snow lessening by late this evening (hopefully).

Check out for further updates.

Anyway, other than chores and snow removal, for this cowgirl, the weather provides greater justification to stay at the computer and blog, work on websites or start my next Western Horse Review column.

Until later this weekend, when I’ll be posting highlights from the South Country Barrel Racing Futurity, stay warm and dry!

U.S./Canada Barrel Challenge

The North American Barrel Racing Challenge, a new and exciting concept,
has certainly caught the attention of the barrel racing community! And
when it comes with a chance to pocket $10,000 for each winning team
member, what’s not to like?

Set for September 4-5 at Brandon’s Keystone Centre (in conjunction with
the Northern Lights Futurity/Derby), the $200,000 extravaganza actually
includes a number of preliminary races leading up to the Labour Day
weekend Finals.

Keystone Centre, Home of the Inaugural North American Barrel Racing Challenge (Photo courtesy of the Keystone Centre)

Basically, to qualify for the big race, barrel racers submit their
names to event organizers to receive an application. They then pay a
$500 entry fee which allows them to compete at one of the scheduled
preliminary races… four set for Canada (Ponoka, AB June 5; Quesnel, BC
June 6; Brandon, MB June 15 and Paris, ON June 30); and six scheduled
across the U.S. (for Perry, GA April 24; Stephenville, TX May 30; Cedar
Rapids, IA June 25; Rapid City, SD June 17 and Jackson, MS both June 10
and August 22).

Two groups of barrel racers move forward to the Finals: 50 Youth and 50
Open contenders (25 in each category from the U.S. and 25/each category
from Canada). The Sept event will see a Semi-Final round on Saturday,
Sept 4 with the top nine open racers along with their respective team
captains (4 time Canadian Champion, Rayel Robinson on the Canuck side
and two-time World Champion Brittany Pozzi for the U.S.) moving into
Sunday for the $100,000 Team Final race. The same approach applies to
the Youth (less the ‘invited’ team captains).

Event organizers include Manitoba-based barrel horse breeder, Jean-Marc
Perron and long-time barrel racng event producer, Jeanette Nelson from
Georgia. For race details and applications, go to

… more on this event in the June issue of Western Horse Review

Top seller barrel stallion comes to Canada

Brought to Billings, Montana by Tod DeJong, Tracy, IA the good mule sold to Mitch Svangstu, Noonan, ND, for $5,000.

The noise was all about the working boys – the strong, solid kind that deliver day in and day out – and – professional, service oriented horses and mules enjoyed a big weekend at Billings Livestock Commission‘s “Spring Special Catalog Sale” March 27-28.

Held each and every March, the “Trail, Outfitting, Guide, and Guest” horse feature also offered an excellent set of riding, driving, and pack mules.

Horses and mules sold from coast to coast – California to Massachusetts , Texas to Alaska, with a weekend total of 760 head offered including 74 cataloged mules.

It goes in the BLS record books – an iron-clad market was verified by a record low pass out rate as only 31 head were were passed out or “no-saled” by the consignor – that calculates to a 96% overall sale percentage. .

A gentle, attractive, top-notch trail mule that had been started heading topped the mule charts with a $5,000 price tag, and Hip 409 “Roy” was good to catch, load, saddle, and shoe.

Mules came in all colors, kinds, and areas of expertise, with the top five mule average at $3,300 and the top ten at $2,620.

In the horse division, stallions continue to shine as Hip 158 “Lazy Wind,” a 2003 AQHA sorrel stallion by the Triple Crown winner Special Effort and out of the Easy Jet daughter By All Means Easy, brought $10,700. Offered by Bucky Derflinger, Mud Butte, SD, the big, pretty stallion sold to Keith Pomeroy, Armstrong, BC.

Steady as she goes, the market was solid from the first horse to the last, with buyers seeking out the dependable, honest, gentle on their mind kind, where the top five averaged $5,850, top ten at $4,905, top 20 brought $4,097, top 50 came in at $3,293, and the top 100 averaged $2,730.

Double gentle and rides the same everyday, Hip 17 “Black Jack” a 2004 Grade black gelding offered by RMO Horses, Heber, UT brought $4,400 and went home with Bob and GayAnn Masolo,Townsend, MT.

Wildnerness Adventures, Powell, WY brought a stand-out assortment of mules and horses that had been used in their pack trips, dude rides, and hunting camps and included Hip 66 “Bones” a 2003 Grade Gray Quarter Draft gelding.

The gentle, trail and cowhorse sold to Mark Dunsley, Couer D’Alene, ID for $4,400.

Ray and Marjorie Beecher, Grass Range, MT offered a partial dispersion of their time-honored program including daughters of their famous sire “Gumbo Roany”.

Loose horses made a definite jump in value at the March sale where the top prospect commanded $2,500.

On the loose, he top five averaged $1,920 compared to $1,210 in 2009, the top ten averaged $1632 versus $1,022 last year; The top 20 brought $1,330 compared to $826 with the top 50 at $974 compared to $585; and the top 100 averaged $795 versus $435 one year ago.

Sue Wallis, Recluse, WY addressed the Sunday Sale crowd and updated the audience on the latest processing legislation. For more information

Billings Livestock’s next sale event is set for April 24 – 25 and will feature the 12th annual “Rope Horse Special” catalog sale and regular monthly horse sale.

Lots of cattle, lots of opportunities to watch the rope horses, including a jackpot team roping open only to sale horses set for Friday, April 23 in the BLS arena.

PRCA World Champion Team Roper, Bobby Harris, will be on-site Friday, 12 noon, prior to the jackpot, for an informal, free roping seminar which will touch on scoring, horse position, facing, stopping, and roping basics.

Rope horses will show again in previews on Saturday and Sunday.

All classes of horses will sell including mares, stallions, finished horses, prospects, and young stock.

Cattle will also be available to show the cutting horses and calf horses.

Catalog closing date is April 5, with a supplement printed for later entries.

Who's clocking up at the early pro rodeos?

I always enjoy this time of year… (okay, okay, I’ll admit I’m still in Arizona but I’m wearing my “Alberta” hat right now) because spring means rodeo season is here.

Adel Hansen and Freddie, 2009 Calgary Stampede (photo by Mike Copeman)

Canadian Pro Rodeo action technically kicked off last fall with the Saskatoon Indoor Pro Rodeo but the first ‘spring’ show ran in Camrose March 19-21 followed up by Lethbridge March 25-27. While it’s still pretty early to say who’s in solid shape in the overall standings, it’s always fun (and interesting) to see who handles the small indoor barrel runs well. And, no surprise, some of the names at the top of the CPRA roster so far are the same names we saw at this point last year.

I caught up with Calgary, AB barrel racer, Lauren Chad by phone as she was heading off for a ‘Tim Hortons run’ before her morning University classes in Calgary. The former Saskatoon resident and 2008 CFR qualifier rides Macho, a 14 year old Doc Bar bred gelding. Lauren was second in Saskatoon last fall and won Camrose this spring to take the early lead in the CPRA standings. A full time psychology student, Lauren is juggling not only her academic load and equine demands… she’s also planning her wedding, set for later this year to bull fighter Jesse Byrne. With all that on her plate, Lauren looked to the Anchor R Ranch Equine Wellness Centre to help get her horse in shape for the spring season, “I was tickled with how good my horse looked after a month at Anchor R,” Lauren commented. “I picked him up the week before Camrose and he felt great.”

Right behind Lauren is another ‘soon-to-be-married’ barrel racer… the 2009 Reserve Canadian Champion Rana Walter. The Lethbridge cowgirl finished second at her hometown rodeo and third at Saskatoon last fall. No stranger to the world of barrel racing, Rana is a four time CFR qualifier. She rides Real Easy Doc (Easy Jet/Doc Bar bred). The long-strided gelding, trained and futuritied by Donnie Reese, won the first $100,000 Pro Tour Barrel Race in Oklahoma City as a three year old, then went on to earn the BFA Oklahoma City Juvenile Championship and Reserve BFA Derby title. Walter has since enjoyed additional Derby, Pro Rodeo and Fast Time wins aboard the big chestnut gelding.

Also making an appearance in the early standings is Laura McPherson of Wolf Point, Montana. A relative newcomer to the Canadian Barrel Racing scene, due in part to the challenges of rodeoing from Wolf Point (a farming community located in the northeast corner of Montana many miles from almost anywhere), Laura won the Saskatoon Pro Rodeo last September and has plans to head back to Canada later this spring. “I first came up to Canada two years ago,” the Montana accountant explained. “There are some great rodeos up there and really nice people. I just live a long way from most rodeos, so I have to plan my trips carefully.” Laura runs a ten year old home-raised granddaughter of Dash For Cash.

2009 Canadian CFR qualifier and CPRA Barrel Racing Rookie of the Year, Adel Hansen is off to a good start too. The Okotoks cowgirl and UFA executive has three horses in her barn though for the indoor venues, she often runs her mare, Freddie. Adel used a similar strategy to Lauren Chad – she booked her horse into the Champion Equine Rehab and Training Centre at Carstairs, Alberta for a few weeks of spring conditioning prior to rodeo season. Adel sits fourth in the standings.

The next pro rodeo on the roster is Medicine Hat on April 16-18

The majority of the semi-pro associations are just getting underway with April rodeos scheduled. Check back later this month for early-season semi-pro highlights.

The Barrel Patch is up and running


Welcome everyone, it’s Barb Poulsen here – the gal behind The Barrel Patch.

With Western Horse Review joining the world of blogging, I’m happy to be aboard. Though I’m by no means an expert on barrel racing, it’s the sport I love the most and one I’ve been involved in, in one way or another, for many years now.

Recent times have seen me immersed in writing about and promoting barrel racing to a much greater extent than competing. Not to say that I don’t own a horse. I own several in fact (name the age, size and colour and I can probably oblige… just kidding!) I’m actually composing my first barrel racing blog from the sunny south – Maricopa, Arizona to be exact. I’ve been fortunate to spend the last few winters in “Little Canada” south of Phoenix where the sun almost always shines, sandy conditions provide excellent footing for riding and fellow Canadian equine enthusiasts abound!

This is me and Josey.

During the rest of the year, when we’re not at a rodeo or bull riding, my husband (rodeo announcer and author Dave Poulsen) and I spend our time on our little place back in the Porcupine Hills west of Claresholm, Alberta. A high school teacher in my ‘last life’, I now run a communications business – web/print design and writing – which, I’m thankful to say, I can run from anywhere. And I ride when I can, which will hopefully be more often in 2010! A transplanted Albertan (I was born and raised in Saskatchewan and still love the prairies), I’ve lived in southwestern Alberta for the last 15 years or so.

Please join me with your feedback, ideas and opinions as the blog progresses. I’m excited to be part of this endeavor and hope to share thoughts on barrel events, competitors, trainers, horses, clinicians and even a few recipes. If you have relevant, interesting news or photos, I’d love to hear about them… along with other tips/ideas that might translate into barrel racing blog fodder.

Spring’s almost here, rodeo season is underway and the first western Canadian barrel futurity will soon be upon us. Dave and I (along with the horses and dogs) will be heading north in ten days or so… (I’m getting lonesome for the Alberta foothills). Check back often to see what’s happening in The Barrel Patch!