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Cowgirl Barrel Racing

Barrel racing has no judges, which means the event has no subjective points of view. Time is the determining factor. The fastest time is what matters most. Cowgirls compete in the arena against each other and the clock.


Barrel racing is graceful and simplistic - one woman, three barrels, a horse and the ever-present stopwatch. The horse is ridden as quickly as possible around a clover leaf course of three barrels.

Riders enter the arena at full speed, quickly rounding each barrel and then exiting where they entered. At the end of the performance, after all the racers have finished their run, the clock is the one and only judge. Ride quickly and win. Hesitate and lose.


Not only must the horse be swift, but it also must be intelligent enough to avoid tipping the barrels, an infraction that adds five penalty seconds to the time and kills any chance for victory.


13 to 14 seconds is generally a winning time in this event, but this will vary according to the size of the arena, as all rodeo arenas are not created equal.