It seems that the trend in barrel racing has been towards races with really high entry fees with the hopes to win really big checks. But what percentage of those entry fees are these races really paying out? It used to be that 100% of added money went to the payout. And the entry fees paid out were sometimes as high as 80% with the remaining 20% to the producer.
When I do calculations on these big money races the payout doesn't come anywhere close to 80% of entry fees. There is also no transparency on the payouts. Most producers would state on the race flyer what the payout would be. This would let you make an informed decision on which races to support. And to put on sanctioned races by certain associations such as NBHA the producer had to follow that association's payout guideline.
The 4D format was put in place to allow even "backyard" barrel racers an opportunity to enter and compete with the top notch barrel racers and have a chance to win good money. I find these big money races to be disenfranchising to those who cannot afford to pay sometimes into the thousands of dollars to enter a race. I get the attraction of winning big money but does this have to be at the expense of the entrants?
This trend is disheartening to me.
afaustin - 2023-11-09 9:42 AM
I think there are barrel races for everyone and every budget. Around here there are local weeknight races with no added money and a 20.00 entry fee that pay 80.00 to win it out running 30 other horses. So be it. There are weekend races with 100-1,000 added and fees in the 65-75.00 range that pay a lot better, so be it. Then there are the super shows that offer 100,000 added and all these big time checks with fees in the 1500-2500 range. Nobody should feel bad that some can afford those fes and others can't. If you can't afford it, don't go, go to a smaller race. I DO AGREE on being upfront though!! You should know exactly what the fees are, what the percent being paid out is, etc. Absolutely.
Good points. And you are right, I should have left out the part about it being too expensive. Yes, everyone has a choice. It really is the lack of transparency that bothers me most.
This is the way that I look at it. You have a bunch of locals who decent horses that run usually win at the local shows. (Around here a small show has around 125. Larger shows anywhere from 300 to 450). The people who have been supporting those shows for the past 10-12 years, that really line to compete against some tough horses get shut out. A bunch of rodeo girls come and are able to roll their times over to the open. They end up taking home the 1D money and 2D money home. Nothing wrong with those girls coming but if I wanted to rodeo, I would go rodeo. I have the horses to do that but I am 73 years old, rodeoed in college 50 years ago and it just wasn't my thing. (Back then, rideo was about the only place to barrel race). Don't get me wrong because I do like to see a really good barrel race but rolling over to the open and those people go on to the next barrel race is kind of a killer on enthusiasm.
Who has the big spoon?
Another thing to look at is the type of payout the producer says they have. Some of these races with big entry fees are a guaranteed payout. . not progressive.
We all pick the pond we want to play in. Some days I stay on the beach with my bucket in the sand.
When paying and playing at these bigger shows. . you have the professionals (trainers, pro rodeo people, kids that are home schooled, etc) that run days earlier in the week than the actual open competitors and they take up all of the spots in the payout due to their roll over times. The open might run 3 or 4 days after they ran. You can certainly see a consistency or non-consistency in ground that way and your "Open" that went from 400 competitors to 1,000 when the roll over times come in. . or when those high roller times roll into the open. But that is another pot to stir.
Back to the topic - we have many choices as barrel racers and we pick and choose where we want to compete and where we go. We really have to put a pen and paper to things these days (excel in my circumstance) and read that fine print. Just entering a barrel race these days takes a map once you throw the incentives in there. .
Definitely a difference on ground conditions.
Red Hot Barrel horses just had a good post on the types of payout and their specific wording and I know I have seen other posts floating around. I didn't realize until recently that Guarenteed Payout doesn't necessarily include entry fees beyond what is guarenteed. You have to be really careful with how the flier is worded regarding guarenteed vs projected, vs total payout. Then there is still the percent payout, progressive vs. equal payout, etc.
In regards to the high stakes races, good for them. I am definitely not a player in that game but if someone has the money, compitition mindset, and the horse to go complete and bring home a pile of money, get after it. I am glad that barrel racing gives every type of rider something to aspire to. This sport is expensive and I completely understand why someone doesn't want to run at something that is paying $120 to win it especially after taking entry fees and diesel into account. The high stakes races are not replacing any of my opportunites to run so it doesn't bother me in the least, but it does give me something to work towards and aspire to maybe someday.
Pocob - 2023-11-09 2:15 PM
Pocob- I dont know where you play, but here, no choices anymore. Really. All the 5D weekend shows are adding high stakes. All of them. You won't find a show that doesn't draw a couple of top futurity trainers, futurity jockeys, or pro rodeo girls. I'm serious. I ran against against Jewels (Jules) - record holder at Ft Smith, trained by Janna, ridden by Hailey- at a local association run without any added money. Most of those riders aren't owners and aren't paying their entry fees. They roll over in everything possible. Then you have the really rich people that can afford 1k a weekend too.
No where would I find a 3 point contest where LeBron James wanted to show up and play. I wouldn't find any professional drivers on any of the ammy tracks around the country. Hell, team Ropers have a system. The elite of NO SPORT in the world except barrel racing expect to normalize competing against the weekend and amateur players to make money. Read that out loud.
The PROFESSIONALS in our sport think it's great to roll into any barrel race no matter the level and take home all the money. We amateurs and amateur amateurs are supposed to consider ourselves lucky that the big names are there to take our money. We are "blessed" to have such competitors to compare ourselves to. I'm sick of it. If you are a professional, quit competing against amateurs. That's not winning.
It does seem as though it is going to the extreme ends of the spectrum. Gymkhana play days or high stakes races. Not much in the middle. I am seeing that more where I am too.
CanCan - 2023-11-09 7:26 PM
Typically these professionals are entering open races, meaning anyone can enter... As for a system like team ropers... I feel like we do have one, the D system. To set it up more like team ropers would you just set it up based on money won for the rider? I haven't experienced it but did there used to be races like this back in the day? To me, I think its remarkable some of theses races that have the large payouts in each D. To me, that IS set up for amatuer to win some money.
lopinpretty09 - 2023-11-10 11:37 AM
Again, no matter the setup, in no other sport are you going to find elite, top tier, millio-dollar earning professionals who DESIRE competition against amateurs.
And this is exactly why I make sure I know the payout rules and pick & chose which high entry fee races I will enter. The all in at NFR in Vegas is a cool race but when you add up the entry fee vs the payout they pay back less than 50% even after you deduct the room & stall.
CanCan - 2023-11-10 12:44 PM
you seem pretty worked up over this deal.
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