Colorado-Memorial Day . . . for barrel racers often
brings a long weekend of races and fun while remembering
the sacrifices of our veterans. It is also known as
the unofficial beginning of summer and the theme of
beginnings carried through for a pair of race producers.
The Mile Hi Barrel Horse Association and the Lynda Ottun
Memorial Barrel Race both offered a great start to those
WPRA members just embarking upon their professional
careers with the inclusion of permit only races with
Approved by the WPRA Board of Directors
several years ago, permit only races allow new members
the chance to compete only against one another as they
pursue the necessary $1,000 won in WPRA-approved races
before they are eligible to be full card members.
For Mile Hi, the permit only races
present the chance to help aspiring WPRA members achieve
their goals of competing professionally.
"Hosting a permit race is an
opportunity to provide that final step for the barrel
racer in all of us to achieve our childhood dream of
becoming 'pro' someday!" says producer Carol Crowder.
The Mile Hi's Eighth Annual Formula 707 Memorial Day
Classic held at the Adams County Fairgrounds in Brighton,
Colo., featured a $1,000 added permit race on Saturday
night, May 26.
Taking advantage of that opportunity
was Northeastern Junior College freshman Hayden Segelke,
who beat 36 other permit holders with her run of 17.514
seconds to win the race and $683. Despite her youth,
Segelke is a seasoned veteran of rodeo, attending the
Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR) as a child to
watch her father Tim wrestle steers.
"I've done this so long, there
have been so many events," Segelke laughs, adding
that what she remembers most about the Wrangler NFR
experience was playing with MEGA Bloks in a contestants'
family playroom. "But my favorite part of rodeoing
is that my whole family does it together. My parents
and my sisters . . . my little brother is just starting
to rope. That's the coolest thing, that we do it as
The permit only race not only gave
Segelke points toward her WPRA card but also presented
an "off the normal" revenue source.
"The permit race is definitely
a plus," says the Snyder, Colorado cowgirl who
is sponsored by Formula 707 and Equine Pride Performance
Horse Feed. "It was a lot of fun."
Segelke's success is far from unprecedented.
She is already highly decorated in the arena, a champion
of the Wrangler Junior High School Division Finals in
the barrel racing and two-time winner in the goat tying
at the National High School Finals Rodeo. She recently
claimed the All Around and Barrel Racing titles for
the Central Rocky Mountain Region of the National Intercollegiate
Rodeo Association (NIRA) and will compete at the College
National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) in a little over a week
"Hayden Segelke was just phenomenal,"
says Crowder, adding that the cowgirl also won first
and second in the $15,000 Formula 707 Barrel Blast Slot
Race. "She is just an unbelievable young lady."
"The reason I enjoy hosting
these events is because Mile Hi truly enjoys being the
launching pad for so many barrel racers in our region,"
Crowder says. "I get the pleasure of having so
many memories of them at various stages and when they
do something like Hayden just did, it makes my heart
swell. We launched her on into bigger and better things."
Segelke's equine partner in the
win was the home grown HPQ Smoking Rascal, a six year
old gelding that the young cowgirl trained herself.
Rascal was recently named the Central Rocky Mountain
Region's Horse of the Year.
"I'm not complaining,"
Segelke laughs. "I would like to go and see what
we can get done."
Following her appearance in Casper
where she will run barrels and tie goats, Segelke hopes
to enter some WPRA rodeos over the Fourth of July like
Cody and Greeley.
The Lynda Ottun Memorial Race is
held at Miller's Horse Palace in Billings, Mont., during
the long weekend and is dedicated to the memory of Lynda
Ottun, a champion barrel racer and WPRA member who lost
her battle with ovarian cancer seven years ago.
"We put on this event in her
memory to raise money for a crisis fund that we set
up to help members of the rodeo and ranching community,"
says Ottun's daughter Joeleen Ottun-Cox. "We have
been able to donate over $26,000 in the last 7 years."
As part of a busy weekend of activities,
the Lynda Ottun Memorial hosts a $100 added permit only
race and a $250 WPRA side pot sponsored by Wrangler,
part of a joint WPRA-Wrangler sponsors program.
Eighteen WPRA permit holders took
their shot at earning their card by competing in Billings.
After a closely contested race, Heather Knerr rode her
horse Bubbles to the victory with a run of 14.680 seconds.
She pocketed $192 for the permit race, adding another
$445 for sixth in the 1D and third in the average in
the co-sanctioned open race.
All totaled, Knerr put herself over
the top to be eligible to buy her card, making her a
perfect example of what the permit races were intended
For more information on the Lynda
Ottun Memorial, please visit them at www.ottunmemorial.com.
For more information on the Mile Hi Barrel Horse Association,
visit them at www.milehibarrelhorse.com.