I have taken the plunge and entered some rodeos this coming weekend. I thought about just entering as a non-member...but I got to thinking...
What if we actually win some money?...
I mean, that's the goal, but if Moon does well enough at the rodeos, we could qualify for the Colorado Pro Rodeo Finals. I don't really take entering rodeos lightly. Paying entry fees can be 'enlightening'. A couple of years ago, when I started to rodeo on Moon, the entry fee for the barrel racing was $50. Then you had to pay the gate charge = $5. Then there was an 'eye' charge (for the electric eye) = $5. There was also some sort of additional association fee of $7. And finally you had to pay into the 'day' money pot = $5.50. Of course if you had the fastest time of that go-round, you win the day pot money. The entry fees to the CPRA rodeos are $71...and lord knows what little add-ons will show up at the time of entry. Probably about the same as back home. The CPRA membership alone is $150. (gulp)...Rodeoing is a spendy little venture. But I'll never know what Moon can do unless we go.
My goal has always been to make Moon a rodeo horse. It has taken us longer to get to that point than I anticipated (by a couple of years-LOL), but I wasn't really expecting things to come together like they have this year. I figured it would take us most of the summer to ease into smoother runs and then faster runs and we'd be ready to rodeo next summer.
I underestimated Moon...for him...Smooth is Fast.
Going ahead and entering does make sense, in this case. Even though we have not actually won a barrel racing...Moon has consistently placed in the top 5 with the smooth runs he has made...whether I have asked him for speed or not. That doesn't always win money at the association runs, but it would have drawn a decent check every time if they had been rodeos.
(The weekly rodeo we ran at is a 3D, so it pays out like all of the other associations.)
When you call in and enter rodeos, you have to give a 1st and a 2nd preference of when you would like to run. Myself...I opted to run in slack as a 1st preference at both rodeos and got what I wanted.
Slack vs. 'Perf' = The Perf (slang for Performance) is the actual Rodeo people pay to go watch. Due to time constraints, only so many timed event people are allowed to compete, per event during a perf. Seldom is there an over-abundance of rough stock riders these days, but even if there is, no one tires of watching that so they almost never have to do slack. But there is a lot of timed event people...team ropers, mixed team roping, calf ropers, breakaway, ribbon roping, steer wrestling and barrel racers, so all of the 'extra' entries are given a different time to perform. Rodeos generally want a lot of people to enter. The more entries the bigger the payouts...the bigger the payouts...the more people will enter.
One of the things some of the girls will try to tell you is that running in slack means you aren't going to get to run on as good of ground as you would get in a performance run. When it comes to rodeoing...you do hope that the rodeo committee is going to put some effort into working the ground and doing their best to give ALL of the competitors as equal a chance as possible, because after all, there is only a few that get to run during the perf. All of the rest of the entries have to run in the slack and if you don't give them a very good chance...they aren't going to come back. I did hear that there was one rodeo last year that did not do that for the girls who ran in slack. They basically had to run on hardpan. That my friends...is why there ARE rodeo committees. Hopefully the girls that ran there filed complaints and the rodeo committee handles that for this year. That is an unforgivable sin to a barrel racer and you simply don't waste your efforts entering their rodeo the next time around. But again, that's the great thing about rodeo committees...before I decide to enter that rodeo or not, I can always call the office and find out if that was dealt with from last year.
On the up-side of entering slack...it's a much more relaxed atmosphere for a relatively green rodeo horse like Moon, especially over the 4th of July weekend. As well as the fact that slack is in the mornings. This time of year, when the heat sets in...that can give you a little edge. Horses are fresher first thing in the morning and late in the evening. Yes, some slack is ran AFTER the rodeo performances and can go well into the night. Barrels are usually run first thing in the slack as well, whereas at rodeos, it's almost the last event. There's a whole lot less waiting around.
The one thing that is uncontrollable at outside rodeos is the weather. I've seen it happen more times than I can count...The slack may run in the morning and have great ground, a rainstorm blows through and the ground is soaked for the perf or one day will be great weather and the next terrible-hot, windy, stormy, you name it...That is just the luck of the draw and if you are going to rodeo...You cannot bitch about every single bad thing that happens. Either you enter the next one and hope it's more in your favor or you stop going and stick with the 'perfect' ground association runs.
I haven't ran at either of these arenas before...sooo...coming up at the bottom of the draw is probably a good thing for Moon and I. I will get the chance to watch a few runs before ours and see how the horses handle the ground. Collbran, I've gotten good reports on, but have no idea what Meeker will be like. We are just going to go and give it our best shot. Moon feels good and after a week off...I'm ready to run too.
Hopefully everyone has a wonderful, long weekend...Happy 4th of July if you are stateside and Happy Canada Day if you're up north!