VICTORVILLE — Competing in barrel races since the age of 3, Kaylin Fultz, 6, is always eager to hit the arena with her trusty steed, Butters.
Kaylin was one of many riders of all ages who competed in barrel races Sunday at SBC Fair, sponsored by National Barrel Horse Association California District 18.
The event was open to riders of all ages and ranks, along with all horse breeds.
The barrel race puts a twist on the typical horse race. Riders and their mounts must complete a clover leaf pattern, racing around barrels while attempting to reach the fastest time.
The grand cash prize depends on how many people compete that day. A competition may attract up to 50 riders.
Earning three belt buckles, Kaylin began competing in the peewee class for ages 7 and under. Before growing out of the peewee class, she decided to switch and begin competing with all age riders.
Kaylin’s mother, Brandi Hottinger, 36, said her daughter was able to start competing through assistance from the riding community. It is common for fellow riders to offer lessons, and provide horses on which to practice.
Though Kaylin does not own Butters, she rides the horse for each competition.
Apple Valley resident Susie Rush, 55, has been barrel racing for 15 years and was a spectator at the event. Rush said she enjoys “the camaraderie of the competitions, everybody is so nice, and everyone cheers each other on.”
Apple Valley resident Linda Vic, 72, holds a NBHA world champion title and said she has ridden horses all her life. Vic, competing in the open class on Sunday, said “I like the speed, and I am very competitive.”
She said she appreciates local competitions, preferring to not haul her horses long distances.
Jodi Frazey, 55, of Apple Valley, took her 6-year-old granddaughter, Scarlett, to the barrel race. Frazey said, she wishes there were more opportunities for local competitions.
Growing up on a horse ranch in Montana, Frazey said, she wants her grandchildren to learn how to ride and appreciate horses as she did.
“Just because they are in California doesn’t mean that they can’t experience it, too,” Frazey said.
The National Barrel Horse Association holds 11 races annually. The next NBHA competition at the SBC Fairgrounds will be May 12.
For more information on the National Barrel Horse Association, visit www.nbha.com.