Local barrel racer ranks 13th in the nation

Dawn Rye | Writer

Barrel racing is a rodeo event in which a horse and rider attempt to run a cloverleaf pattern around barrels quickly. Though amateurs and youth compete, the sport is not for everyone. 

Eight-year-old Kaylee Novak of Parker will be a third-grader at Parker Elementary who has loved riding horses since she was little. She recalls riding her first horse at the age of three and as she got older, she knew that’s something she wanted to continue. 

Novak said her mentor is step-mom Katie Novak because she used to ride Rosy, is good at it, and knows a lot about horses. She helps Kaylee learn different things about horse riding. 

Her routine consists of getting up early every morning and riding for a half-hour. 

Novak participated in the Lazy E Arena rodeo events in Oklahoma, finished 11th in barrels and now ranks 13th. 

She qualified in barrels, poles and goats. She and horse Rosy took part in the barrel event which is her favorite event, and it helps that Rosy is her best friend. Showjumping, or (pole bending), is a competitive equestrian event in which horse and rider are required to jump, usually within a time limit, a series of obstacles. Novak said that her goal is to keep Rosey one step past each pole, however during the competition, Rosey tipped the poles. 

During goat competition, riders will ride up to a goat tied to a stake; jump off and hog-tie the goat. Novak said that during her first and second attempt, her foot got stuck but she still received 11.8. Novak noted she only had two days off during the seven-day trip. 

Novak explained she gets nervous when she overthinks her competition on goats and during barrels.  She has to make sure Rosy doesn’t take off at the wrong time. In poles, she worries about getting too close to them and tipping them over. 

Novak said being named 13th in the nation for barrel racing feels good. She is proud of all the hard work she and Rosy put into the competition. It means that when she placed 13th in the nation, she received a money prize. 

She then competed in Columbus, Neb. in barrels, poles, goats and flags. During the flag event, there are two flags on top of the barrels, where the rider’s objective is to take one flag and place it in a bucket then get the second flag and race to the finish line. Her fastest time in flags is a nine. Novak was excited to compete in Nebraska and spend time with Derek (dad) and riding Rosy.

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