Cloverleaf Classic, Open 4D Barrel Race

clover leaf ropingThis is a fast-paced competition for cowgirls, where the contestant and her horse burst into the arena at full speed, ride a cloverleaf pattern around three barrels and then sprints back out of the arena. If the contestant by chance overturns a barrel she is given a five-second penalty. In this race, literally every hundredth of a second counts.

The cloverleaf pattern used in women’s barrel racing originated in Pecos. The West of the Pecos Rodeo began a contest in 1945, inviting neighboring towns to send a girl to represent them. The rules of the two-day contest were that the race be run in a cloverleaf pattern and that the girls were to wear “flashy” western attire.