History of Barrel Racing
Barrel racing is believed to have started in Texas. It was unknown in other western states before the 1930s, but quickly spread. At first, females only competed in minor rodeo events, and it was left to the discretion of local rodeo organizers to decide if and when they could participate. However, as women’s events became more popular, their participation was widely accepted. In 1931 in Stamford, Texas, young female riders would often lead the rodeo parade and stay to participate in social events later in the day. They were awarded prizes for horsemanship, which was demonstrated by riding in figure eights around barrels. In 1935, Stamford changed the barrel racing to a cloverleaf pattern. This was the beginning of female barrel racing events. Judging by the shortest time was not added until 1949. All-girl rodeos became the fashion during World War II, but as with many opportunities for women, their participation was supplanted when the men returned from the war. However, women’s barrel racing returned in the late 1950s through the 1970s, when women’s athletic activities of all types enjoyed a resurgence in the culture.
Today’s Barrel Racing Events
Barrel racing quickly became a popular activity, with prizes that equaled men’s dominated rodeo events. From its beginnings as a sort of beauty competition with horseback riding included, it has become a sport of skill, accuracy and profound connection between horse and rider. Barrel racing now draws as much interest as the male-dominated riding and roping events.
Read More about Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA)
The Womens Professional Rodeo Association started out as the Girls Rodeo Association in 1948, an organization that was formed by 38 women riders to advance activities for women in rodeo.
It was one of the oldest women’s sports organizations in the United States and has always been governed by women.
By 1981, the organization had changed its name to reflect the wider interest in women’s sports.
Today, the Woman’s Professional Rodeo Association is responsible for organizing the World Championship Barrel Racing Competition