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2nd annual barrel race loops a crowd

By:Scott McLendon

One rider triumphantly galloped beyond the competition to sweep both competitions as the Luverne Barrel Race held its second annual event on Friday, July 21.

In this second edition of the Luverne-hosted barrel race, local Natalie Weaver collected spoils from both divisions available. Two options were given to the entrants. There was an open division for any age and a youth division for those 18 and under. There were 63 entries for the open race and 21 entries for the youth competition. Weaver claimed top honors at the race with a finish of 15.8 seconds.

“I think the weather scared a lot of people away because it was iffy for a little while,” said director Jenna Thomas. “Everything was great and I think the people who came really enjoyed it; everybody was excited. The ground was good so it was definitely a fun night.”

Entrants traveled from as far as Auburn and Florida to attend this year’s race, despite the looming rain. The winner of both the open and youth divisions didn’t have to travel far to compete and claim her reward.

Weaver is a Luverne native who has been riding for six years. Weaver owns three barrel horses: Roo, Molly and Sandman. Weaver has been with Molly for a year, Sandman for two and Roo for three.

“I am a member of the Alabama High School Rodeo Association, National Barrel Horse Association and National Cowboy Pro Rodeo Association. Being a member of all the different associations, I do travel a lot,” said Weaver.

Weaver has traveled to all of Alabama’s adjacent states for competition. She also competes in many rodeos and barrel races in and around Luverne and enjoys being able to race in her hometown.

“All of my friends and family that aren’t able to travel far are there to watch and support me and it helps me prepare for the bigger and more competitive races,” said Weaver. “I wrote many sponsorship letters to different places around Luverne and many places were kind enough to sponsor me.”

Businesses in the area that sponsored Weaver include the Chicken Shack, Preston’s, Scott Farms, Luverne Hardware and GBA Farms.

“I would like to thank all of my family and friends that have supported me and helped me,” said Weaver. “The rodeo and barrel racing world is a great group of people and I am so very blessed to be a part of it.”