“A slow time is always better than a no time.”
While runs the fastest and highest scores are required to be a champion, there is something to say for consistency.
Riding in horse shows, what have sometimes previously been called “showdeos” and horse playdays, it’s easy to make mistakes.
Seasoned everyday working cowboys, even bigtime rodeo stars, have sometimes made jokes about such events. That’s okay, but horse ability and horsemanship skills are just as important to be a winning cutting horse rider or champion roper.
Too often the horse gets the blame, but generally it is “pilot error,” the one mounted giving directions who is at fault.
Participating in at least a half dozen different associations as well as open events, it’s been new experiences this past couple weekends.
Patterned racing events like barrel racing and pole bending are common competitions. Barrel racing in playdays is sometimes referred to as cloverleaf because horses race in a cloverleaf pattern.
An interesting reflection, the first show ever entered 60 years ago, entry was made in the barrel race, thinking it was the cloverleaf. Nope, the event called barrel racing was three barrels in a line calling for circling each barrel to the left and right. Spot had never thought of that and got fourth out of four.
For clarification, there is a not a race to bend poles, but rather weaving between and “bending around them.” In keg bending, the horse weaves around former milk kegs, nowadays five-gallon buckets -fastest time wins.
A number of local playdays also have flag racing, where a rider picks up a small flag from a barrel and races across the finish line.
Specialty attractions through ages have included sddling races, exchange races, rescue races, relay races, even musical chairs, which are all fairly self-explanatory. There are several variations of what is called the key race, sometimes keyhole race, probably obvious, racing into out and out of a make-believe, keyhole-of-sorts, in the arena.
New to certain old-timers have been the barrel-and-stake race, two-barrel-flag race, figure-eight-stake race, half-eight race, and speed barrels
Average sometimes does win, so having a qualified run every time out is better than winning one and losing the next.
Reminded of Habakkuk 2:30: “If it seems slow in coming, wait, it’s on its way and will come right on time.”
Frank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, a lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and a marketing consultant. He writes a weekly column to share A Cowboy’s Faith.