Tough competition brings out the toughest competitors, which is exactly what the Josey Ranch witnessed at the 30th annual Josey Reunion Barrel Race this past weekend.
The Josey Reunion barrel race is open to anyone that has attended a Josey Clinic since 1967, making it a true reunion for all Josey Barrel Racing Students. 378 Contestants traveled from 13 different states to Marshall, Texas to compete at the race hosted by World Champion Barrel Racer Martha Josey and her staff.
The Josey Reunion started with the AIP Energy 3 Division Pole Bending Thursday night. Former Josey Jr World Champion, Patton Ann Lynch and her partner “Look Judge”, claimed the Pole Bending title with a 20.348.
Friday started the Tough1 and Wrangler First Go barrel race bringing many fast times and exceptional barrel patterns. Earning the fastest time of the day was Abby Pursifull and her partner “Strait Up Streakin” from Arthur City, Texas with a 16.060 second run.
After Friday’s Race, contestants prepared for another chance to compete in the finals on Sunday. The Circle Y Saddles and MVP Second Go was tough competition as Byrnn Hinton, from Waxahachie, Texas ran a 16.097 on her partner “GoodTiminStreakAFire”.
Sunday morning started with Cowboy Church followed by the Scholarship presentation, Horse with the Most Heart, and the Purina Horse of the Year awards. Over the last 40 years, the Josey Ranch has given over $400,000 away in scholarships to contestants and students. This year the Josey Ranch gave three scholarships in honor of Martha’s brother and Gary’s Father Bob Arthur, Sandy Smith a faithful volunteer, Lee Smith’s late wife, and Thomas Mitchell Josey Instructor Ty Mitchell’s father.
Scholarship recipients are chosen after an application process based on their accomplishments and goals for their schooling. The applications are reviewed by a Josey Ranch committee and selected based on a group decision. Dora Dawson received the Sandy Smith Scholarship, Carly Gillota received the Bob Arthur Scholarship, and Addison Wilson received the Thomas Mitchell Scholarship.
The Josey Ranch gives a Horse with the Most Heart award in remembrance of Martha’s horse “Sonny Bit O’ Both”, the only horse to this day to win the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) and Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) World Championships in the same year. This year the selected horse was “MISS GHOST PAC” belonging to contestant Brenda Harris. Harris is a double Amputee after surviving an 18% septic infection just out of high school. Like herself, Miss Ghost Pac overcame multiple odds as a foal and made a miraculous recovery to run barrels today with her owner.
Josey Ranch added a new award to the Josey Reunion this year with their long-time sponsor Purina. The Josey Reunion Purina Horse of the Year award was given to Kirstie Williams with her Purina-fed horse Cinco De Fame.
Sunday’s Visti Marshall Texas Short Go brought back 137 contestants all running for the chance to take home a brand-new Big Tex Trailer. Running from the slowest qualifying time to the fastest qualifying time barrel racers were giving it their all running down the Josey Ranch alleyway.
Alexis Raye Lynch hit a barrel during the first go and qualified back to the short go with her second run a 16.932. Her partner, “Guys Voodoo Bug” also known as Jock, is a former Josey Jr World Champion with a different Jockey. Kylar Terlip won two Josey Jr World Championships riding Jock in 2016 and 2017. This year he is 20 years old and still running with the best. Lynch was runner number 84 in the short of 137. The team crossed the timer at 16.153 to take the lead and hold it for an astonishing 53 runners to ultimately win the race.
Alexis Raye Lynch and "Guy's Voodoo Bug" making their winning run in the Visit Marshall Texas Short Go.
The 2D was won by Kellie Mounger riding “Run N With Ease” with a time of 16.655. The 3D title belonged to Elizabeth Ray riding “MRH Red Money” with a time of 17.178 and the 4D title was claimed by Julie Bridewell riding “Happy On The Rocks” with a time of 18.272. The Senior champion was Josey Ranch Instructor Terry Thomas and his partner Barrett with a 16.940.
The Josey Reunion Barrel Race is followed by the 43rd Annual Josey Jr World Barrel Race May 11th-14th. The Jr World is open to any barrel racer 20 years old and younger and is one of the oldest youth barrel races in existence. Everyone is invited to the ranch to watch this amazing competition featuring the best youth barrel racers in the world!
The upcoming Jr World barrel race is open to the public with multiple opportunities to be involved. Saturday May 13th will host a live auction with Josey Ranch memorabilia, and goods from local vendors in town. The auction will be followed by a calf scramble for any children 12 and under. More information can be found on barrelracers.com of the Josey Ranch social media pages.