Gene Autry Roping Club
At my very first rodeo, we sat in a 104 degree August Oklahoma evening, but the dry heat didn’t matter. You see, Jim and I were attending a barrel racing playday in Gene Autry, Oklahoma. The town, Autry, honors the Singing Cowboy movie star. These days, popular culture remembers him for singing “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.” The community boasts a Gene Autry museum with western movie memorabilia, but today we were enjoying the local rodeo arena. Local friends and family participated in this community event, sponsored by the Gene Autry Roping Club. All ages competed. Parents led horses bearing the very youngest competitors gently around the barrels. The local audience cheered every effort with generous support and good-natured teasing.
Warm up and race
In the first order of business, horses and riders warmed up like any other athletes. After the participants and horses were warmed-up, the race began with horse and rider tearing out the alley and into the arena
How barrel racing is done
What was the objective? Running around three barrels in a clover leaf pattern. First, the riders directed their horses in a figure eight around the first two barrels. Then, horse and rider looped around the third. After the horse and rider made their final loop, they tore back down the straightaway. To be sure, these maneuvers required agility, strength, speed, and control and above all training and practice.
Should a horse knock over a barrel, officials would add a five second penalty to this timed event. An electronic timer tracked the race.
Flag races too
Additionally, the rodeo also featured a flag race competition. This event involved placing a flag in a coffee can on top of a barrel at the end of the arena. Riders retrieved the flag by circling the barrel and grabbing the flag, carrying it past the timer at the opposite end of arena.
Having fun and building skills
The Rodeo offered casual, low- stress competitions. Therefore, the older riders demonstrated their respective skills, while the youngsters enjoyed practical learning opportunities. Enthusiastic coaching and encouragement was called out from the stands. The oldest competitor, a skilled man with white hair, achieved the best time of the evening, 17 seconds!
I so enjoyed reading your article!
Of course, it was extra-enjoyable because our dear friend wrote it! We are so proud of you!
Thank you, Gloria! So happy you enjoyed this!
Thank you, Amy!
I look forward to more and can’t wait for the book!! What an honor to know this author and to call her a dear friend. Congratulatios Gale!
Orry, I so appreciate your “enCouragement!” Thank you!
From the first time I met you, in third grade , you have always had tales to tell! Books and reading were both our passions.
You express yourself with word pictures! And I through my art!
So proud of you!
So proud of your art and your gifts as a teacher! Thank you for your constant encouragement!