HITCHCOCK — On Monday, the Galveston County Fair & Rodeo hosted every rodeo’s signature female event — barrel racing — at the Jack Brooks Park arena in Hitchcock.
With more than 40 participants and cash winnings on the line, the jackpot event did not disappoint.
And to make the event even more unique to the rodeo lineup, several mother-daughter duos brought their mounts to race the clock.
A barrel racing run consists of several elements, but the most important is the time it takes the horse and rider to leave three barrels standing after running a speedy cloverleaf pattern.
Show secretary Joanna Matejka and her daughter Heather Matejka helped make the event happen. The two worked together to gather show entries and prepare the arena for each horse and rider team.
“We go everywhere together,” Heather Matejka said.
She and her palomino Quarter Horse mare Miss Priss ran a 17.4 Monday evening. Joanna Matejka gave her horse Hollywood a break for the night.
Mother Kelly Warwick and 15-year-old daughter Brooke Warwick made a strong showing at the event. Both boasted fast runs only tenths of a second more than the 16-second mark.
Husband and father Delbert Warwick proudly cheered on his family members and explained that taking care of the family horses is a 24/7, 365-day-a-year responsibility.
“Horses give Brooke responsibility,” Delbert Warwick said.
He said that Brooke Warwick trained her horse, Little Man, on barrels. Kelly Warwick also trained her horse, Dolly. Both are American Quarter Horses.
“Barrel racing is something Brooke and my wife can do together,” Delbert Warwick said. “My son and I do the sport thing. They do the barrel racing. It’s their passion. They love it.”
Kelly and Brooke Warwick travel to competitions together, and they were side by side throughout event. Right before Brooke’s second run on Little Man, Kelly talked through the run with her daughter. A few minutes later, Kelly took her horse, Dolly, for a run. Delbert was by the arena gate ready to cheer on his daughter then his wife.
As Kelly Warwick dismounted her horse after a very successful run, she said her favorite part about barrel racing was getting to do it with her daughter. She also said she’s a competitor at heart and loves that she can still compete at barrels as an adult.
As for Brooke Warwick, she said she rides barrels for the adrenaline rush.
“It’s like a sprinter, but you’re on an animal,” she said. “I say a prayer every time before I run.”
At the end of the night, Brooke Warwick placed first in the Youth 1D competition with a time of 16.3 seconds. Anita Bell won the Open 1D event, with Brittni Curtis and Kelly Warwick placing second and third, respectively.