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Hot ride leads to nationals
After spending much of her life riding horses competitively, all that practice paid off for a Whidbey Island resident who won a national competition in April.
Barb West, who lives south of Oak Harbor, won the Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo Championship held in Pocatello, Idaho.
She competed against 23 other women in the barrel racing through a cloverleaf pattern that took place April 8 through 11. The women competing in the championship represented 12 “circuits” spread across the country. Over the course of the event, the field was winnowed down to eight in the semifinals and then four who competed in the finals.
“It was my biggest accomplishment,” West, 40, said in a recent interview. In a contest measured in fractions of a second, she won the finals by completing the course in 15.47 seconds, which was 1/1,000th of a second faster then the second-place finisher.
“You’re riding in control of a runaway,” West said.
She was riding Scottie Too Hottie, a 14-year-old appendix quarter horse, who was born and raised on Whidbey Island.
“He’s fast and athletic and he likes to run,” West said. She purchased Scottie six years ago from Kim and Larry McMaster, who live on South Whidbey Island. Scottie was the Columbia River Circuit season earnings winner in 2005.
West, who has been competing since she was 3-years- old, has been competing professionally since 2001. She and her husband, Brian, spend their weekends traveling to various rodeos throughout the Pacific Northwest. The farthest they travel in a typical year is Cheyenne, Wyo. Brian, who is a farrier on Whidbey Island, is a calf roper competing in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. They’re traveling to Ellensburg and then up to Surrey, B.C., in coming weekends.
Winning the national championship earned her more than $7,000 in prize money and access to a Dodge one-ton pickup.
Barb and Brian live on 15- acres of land located south of Oak Harbor.
Preparing for rodeos is a full-time job for West, who rides every day and spends considerable time exercising and practicing yoga to help keep her back in shape.
She also spending her day training horses, and keeping the property and its facilities in good condition.
“I like the fact I get to ride my horses full-time,” West said.