Barrel racing is the art of riding a horse around three barrels in a cloverleaf pattern as fast as you can.
To the uninitiated, the sport might be hard to visualize. To 14-year-old Salmon Arm rodeo athlete Brook Kosick, “It’s a total rush.”
When Kosick is barrel racing, she’s in the zone.
“You feel like you’re not even in the world anymore, you’re just free,” she said.
On a typical rodeo weekend, Kosick competes in barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying, breakaway roping and team roping competitions. She spends close to 20 hours per week training across these disciplines.
Kosick, who completed Grade 9 this year, competes in BC High School Rodeo Association (BCHSRA) rodeos, among others. BCHSRA requires students to have a certain grade average to compete — they have to be dedicated on and off the saddle.
From June 11-13, BCHSRA held a rodeo in Quesnel, its provincial finals. It was its first rodeo of the year due to this spring’s COVID-19 restrictions. Still, no spectators were allowed and parents of competitors were only allowed to watch their child’s event before going back to their trailer.
A partial season was held last fall, so athletes could earn enough points to qualify for provincials.
Kosick said it means everything to her to be back.
“I get to go out and do what I love. Just learn and make new experiences.”
More than $10,000 worth of scholarships for Grade 12 rodeo athletes graduating and moving on from BCHSRA were awarded at the end of the Quesnel rodeo.
Full rodeo results will be posted at bchsra.ca.