Barrels of Hope Barrel Race

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Article & photos by Nancy Brannon

It’s a barrel race that’s not all about barrel racing. How’s that? The 2015 Barrels of Hope barrel race is all about raising funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and helping children with cancer and other deadly diseases, all the while having fun barrel racing. It’s about raising those funds any and every way you can, not only by barrel racing, but also by contributing to many other accompanying events, contests, and vendor opportunities. Diamond L Productions organized the event from which 100% of the proceeds go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The grand total: $70,000 was raised for St. Jude!

The Open 4D Barrel Race offered competitor benefits, such as $10,000 added money. Competitors could “run for a reason,” designating their run in honor or in memory of a special person. There was a 4-year-old Futurity Sidepot added to Barrels of Hope on Saturday February 28. For a $100 entry fee, the class offered 100% payback.

Folks who raised $1,000 for St. Jude received a custom Gist Silversmith’s Barrels of Hope buckle. Those who raised $5,000 for St. Jude won a custom saddle donated by Pro Rider Saddles. Jeremy and Leslie Bethune were on hand to make the presentation personally. The saddles are made by the Bethune family in Flat Rock, Alabama. Kenny Lane, owner of Diamond L Productions, and his wife Deborah made a special presentation of her “favorite” custom made Pro Rider saddle to Melanie Lyell for all the hard work she does Diamond L Productions events.

There were special children to meet: St. Jude Heroes, such as Tripp Turner, three-year-old from Covington, Tennessee, diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Tripp began his chemo treatment on February 4, 2015. Price Hancock, 13-year-old from Stuttgart, Arkansas, was diagnosed with Glioblastoma. He has finished 33 radiation treatments, paired with chemo treatments. But he is still going to treatments and is part of a rodeo and barrel racing family.

There were silent auction items to bid on. George Strait sent an autographed cowboy hat, T-shirt, and CD of “The Cowboy Rides Away” as special auction items. June Trusty with Momma Can Do It donated a monogrammed sweatshirt and large duffle bag with Barrels of Hope and the St. Jude Children’s Hospital logos for the silent auction
There were Barrels of Hope T-shirts to purchase and win; a Color Me Happy Crayon Drive, with a goal of collecting 10,000 boxes of donated crayons.

There were special prizes. The first rider to hit .250 on the last digits of the clock won $250 cash. The winner hit the mark on Saturday afternoon.

There was a kids’ foot race for children 13 and under, and special guest Ronald McDonald, on Saturday, February 28. Eli Black was the winner with a time of 11.111.

There was a Tye Dye contest, won by Brittany Wright; a Glow in the Dark costume contest, won by Montene Trimback; and a paper airplane toss.

There was a Glow In The Dark performance by the Coyote Run Arena Drill Team and a special performance by the Old West Special Trails Drill Team.

There was a music concert on Saturday night with Dustin Craig. And, of course, there was Cowboy Church, led by Roger Strange, joined on Saturday by Colton James with Messages of Hope.

Mendy Williams had the overall fastest time of the weekend, with 14.364 seconds. Jimmy Cagle was a close second at 14.600. Sarah Parks won the Young Guns with a time of 14.799.

Full results are posted on the Diamond L Productions website:

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