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WPRA World Championship Barrel Racing

CLN explores the world of barrel racing, including The Womens Professional Rodeo Association and the 2014 WPRA World Finals on Oct. 23-26th in Waco, Texas.


Annie-Oakley-shooter-on-targetThe image of Annie Oakley, riding her horse and toting her guns, fascinated rodeo-goers in the 1880s. Although women were not routinely allowed to participate in the various rodeo events, some did, distinguishing themselves with their skill and dedication. Barrel racing was an outgrowth of these events, and today, the Womens Professional Rodeo Association sponsors the world championship barrel racing competition and provides the purses awarded to winners of the events.

History of Barrel Racing

WPRA NFR 1960 Barrel RacingBarrel 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

Sherry-Cervi.Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo 2014Barrel 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.

The Womens Professional Rodeo Association

WPRA LogoThe 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 Womans Professional Rodeo Association is responsible for organizing the World Championship Barrel Racing Competition.

Upcoming Championship Competition

The barrel racing world finals are set for October 23-26, 2014 in Waco, Texas at the Extraco Center. The event will decide eight world titles and barrel races for all levels of participation. A number of rules updates regarding dress codes for participation are available on the WPRA website. Further changes will be in effect for 2015. Participants are encouraged to familiarize themselves with these changes before the events.

Cowboy Lifestyle Network is exciting to see all the talent this year for the 2014 WPRA World Finals in Waco and the CLN team wishes all WPRA contestants the best of luck during their timed events. Click On’ and Hang On’ and good luck ladies!

WPRA Championship Barrel Racing

WPRA Championship Barrel Racing



CLN Community & Event Sponsor

Hello, my name is Aaron Kuhl. I am an Arizona native from Tempe, Arizona. The Western way of life has been rooted in my foundation since day one, with my Mother working for Wrangler Western for over 30+ years growing up. I am proud to have been a part of Cowboy Lifestyle Network since the beginning days of the company after graduating from The University of Arizona. My Faith, Family & Friends are my whole world, and I am very blessed to live the life I live in the land of the free, the United States of America.

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