Debbie McDonald

Where are you from? Born in Ft. Worth, Texas, rasied in Victoria and been living in Huffman for 14 years.

When did you start barrel racing? I used to do the playdays when I was around 10 years old for a few years, I loved the barrel racing and pole bending..I then quit at about 14 then I started back in about 1981, I then joined GCBRA in 1983 for a few years. I stopped again in 1991, and started back in 2004.

Are you involved in any other equine events? I used to trailride but decided it was easier to sit in a saddle for a few seconds than to ride 8 hours!!

Who or What got you started barrel racing? I honestly don’t remember!!! I used to ride my daddy’s cutting horses and I can remember I always wanted to just go fast!!

On the road things sometimes happen. Do you have an unusual or funny story? When I won my first saddle I did not tell hubby about it. It was so hard to keep quiet about it. I was in Waco and on my way home. I had my saddle, buckles, wild cards breast collars and checks, all stuff that I had won in my front seat. I was lost and really going fast and I saw a flasher in my side window. So I slowed down and a cop pulls up besides me and points at me to get over. So I pull over and he saids we have been chasing you for two miles!! I said well I cant see you as I have an 8 ft wide trailer behind me!! I said Im not a thief. He said what is all that in your front seat. So I explained to him that I had won it. I still got a speeding ticket. So I get home, and I cannot back the trailer up in the driveway and hubby always would come out and help me so he comes out and opens the door and sees all my wonderful prizes!! He was more excited than I was!!!! Ticket or no ticket that was the best day of my barrel racing wins!!

What was the name of your favorite horse and tell us a little about it. They have all been my favorites!! Jewel won me my first saddle after only having her for 6 weeks!! Joker also won me a saddle, GUS has helped win me a saddle and he is my true love!! I also had a sorrel gelding with a beautiful white balded face named Tellurun back in the 80’s. I used him for playdays and also GCBRA. And now I have Floyd, aka RW Bad To The Bone. He is a bit older like me but I have high hopes that he is going to make me look like I can really ride a faster horse!!

What are some of the events that you have won (or races that stand out in your mind)? I won my very first saddle at the age of 50!! I won the NBHA Texas State Senior 4-D Champion, and also reserved!! My first saddle and two belt buckles!!

Over the years have you noticed any changes in barrel racing what are the good or bad you’ve seen? When I started back riding in 2004 I said what the heck is a 4d!!! I think the 4-D’s are great!! It gives everyone a chance to win and you don’t have to have a top notch horse to win. If there were still only straight-up barrel races, I would not have a chance.

What is do you think of an equal pay out 4d? Being a 4-D’er, I love it!! But I can also see the side from a 1-D person, they do have the fastest horse, they should be rewarded for it, although we still pay the same gas prices, same vet bills, feed bills and farrier bills.

Do you think of yourself as a professional barrel racer? Heck no!! Professional at entering, not a winning!! If I had to live off my winnings, I’m afraid I would have to live under a bridge somewhere and my horses would have to resort to eating grass on the medians!!! I do it for the fun of the sport and the fellowship of all the great people I have come to know and Im so thankful for all the friendships I have developed over the years.

If your not a professional barrel racer what do you do for a living? I am retired from M.D. Anderson Hospital Cancer Center after 30 years of service with the state of Texas. I worked a part-time job from home doing radiology transciption but that has run out so hubby built me an arena and now I can ride more and spend more time working my horses.

Who is your favorite barrel racer or barrel racers? Susan Ligget, Laura Schumann

Do you have any advice for anyone just starting out in barrel racing?

Don’t expect miracles over night!!

Do you think barrel racing should be limited to women only?

No!!! Men bring great competition to the sport!!!