White Squirrel Saddle Club will host an International Barrel Racing Association (IBRA) event at 1 p.m. on Sunday, July 22.
Back in the early 1930’s, barrel racing began as a woman’s event while men participated in rodeo events such as roping and bull riding. Barrel racing was originally focused on the rider’s outfit and horsemanship as the women riders and their horses weaved through figure-eight and clover leaf patterns.
In 1948, a group of women formed the Girl’s Rodeo Association, and in 1949 barrel racing became focused on speed.
Modern barrel racing is not just for cowgirls. It now open to girls, boys, women, and men of all ages and skill levels.
Weekend riders and professionals compete for awards packages which exceed $250,000 through the IBRA.
Members of the White Squirrel Saddle Club are thrilled to carry on the barrel racing tradition. The club will host participants from all over Illinois and Indiana.
Anyone can compete in the event on Sunday. Participants need not be IBRA members. However, participating members will be earning points and competing for placement in IBRA finals.
Show Manager Pam Reid said, “This will be a fairly big show for us because the IBRA season ends July 31st, and people are competing for points …”
“On July 31st they determine who has the most points. The leaders gain recognition as a Top Dog.”
“The Top Dogs earn automatic entry into the final races of the IBRA finals … Anyone who has 100 points is invited to compete in the finals.”
The points earned by participants will count towards placement in the IBRA finals, which will be held in September in Murfeesboro, Tennessee.
A traditional barrel racing course consists of barrels placed in a triangle in the middle of an arena. Riders race into the arena. The timer starts when the team crosses the start line and ends after completing the clover leaf pattern and racing to cross the finish line.
The team that puts up the best time with tight turns, precision, communication, and no overturned barrels wins.
The event on Sunday begins at 1 p.m. and will continue straight through the day. The line-up is as follows:
Trainer barrels / practice run
Trainer poles, pole bending, practice run
Youth pole for 18 and under
Adult poles 19 and over
Open poles for any age.
Peewee barrels, ages 8 and under.
Open barrels, for any age.
Barrel classes are open 3-D barrels.
Youth Barrels, youth 3-D barrels ages 18 and under
Adult Barrels, ages 19-39
Master Barrels, ages 40 and over
Reid said, “To me it’s amazing to watch the bond between the horse and rider. Some of them go really fast around these barrels.”
Spectators are welcome and there is no charge to come watch and enjoy the show.  
Saddle Club President, Al Zellmer said, “Our Saddle Club works very hard to put these events on. Having an event that is an IBRA show is a great thing …:
“Where else can you go, doesn’t cost you to get in and have you an exciting afternoon and bring the kids? The cook shack is open and can get a homemade hamburger for $3. It’s a cheap afternoon, and everyone is invited.”  
The arena is located at 5311 North Silver Road in Olney.