Pam Cantwell

I was put on my first horse before I could walk and like so many other girls I immediately became “horse crazy”! I began running barrels as a hobby in 1986. I have trained all of my own horses through the years, taken in a few outside horses and have met many great friends.

In 1995, I was approached by friends to get NBHA District #28 up and running in our 10 county area. It wasn’t easy since the 3-D format was a new concept and the change was very hard for some to comprehend. We started with 17 barrel racers and became the largest NBHA District in Texas by the end of our first year. By the end of our second year, Texas #28 had grown to the largest NBHA District on the U.S. I won National District Director of the year and a trophy saddle. That would have never been accomplished without the help of my family and so many friends that had the same vision of what we could do if we just all put our minds to it. I feel that planning and detailing and good friendly helpers are the main keys to putting on a good barrel race; from starting on time, to good ground, to making sure barrel racers were happy they ran at our races. There are really so many good people and factors to name and it all seemed to work for our district at the time.

Pam and Tri

In the middle of my third year at #28 director, I was approached by the NBHA National office to take on the job of Texas State Director. Chuck Dunn the former state director was leaving to start his own barrel racing production company with Phil Goostree. You now know it as D&G Productions. I accepted the job in 1998 with approx. 1,450 members on
the Texas roster. I was expected to produce the 1998 Texas NBHA State
Finals and Chuck Dunn was there to guide me with such a huge undertaking.

It took a year of planning to get it together and again I could not have done any of it without the help of my family and good friends. In the midst of a membership drive for the state (that netted 900 new members in one year!), and trying to keep my own horses in shape, I managed 30 districts across the state while getting the finals together. There were entry forms to write, copy and mail out, booths and sponsors to gather, banners to be made, the arena to contract, insurance, time keepers, computer operators, announcers, barrel setters, tractors and drivers, rakes, painted barrels, formats and payouts to plan, stalls to assign, arena judges, awards to buy, entries to log onto the computer, help for the stalls, check in, RV spaces, award sorting, refreshments, scripting and sending out advertising, programs and run sheets for spectators, photographers and professional video companies to locate (New Creations Productions was always there for me!), veterinarians, farriers, and the list goes on and on. You cannot imagine what goes into the bigger barrel races. We ran a record 793 contestants that year in Abilene! The largest NBHA State finals in their history. We topped that in 1999 in Austin with 1,093 entries and to my knowledge that one still holds the record.

My son, Craig, was beginning high school rodeos and after putting on barrel races for 5 years it was time for me to hand over the reins. I even curtailed riding my own horses for a while. My son went on to win the THSRA steer wrestling championship at Region #6 in Seguin this year.  He also made the THSRA State Finals in Abilene in the calf roping as well and has won many buckles from other youth organizations. My husband, Donald and I are very proud of him. Craig is now attending college and has chosen to major in Criminal Justice.

I still have a full plate, I am a part-time sales rep for Comal Saddlery for horse trailers and a sales rep for Bretton Shell Saddles and Pads (a great new concept for a flexible, strong saddle tree that will not hurt your horse by distributing your weight more evenly). I completed three courses in Equine Touch and I’m now a certified Equine Touch Practitioner. It is a very unique body work for horses that has amazing results. It is very gentle and non-invasive and actually allows your horse to re-balance himself and perform to the very best of his ability. It is like nothing you have ever seen before. You can read about this modality at I feel so blessed to have a job that I love so much that is truly helping horses. There are so many success stories to share.

As for my own barrel horses, I have just started another young gelding, named Solomon and only time will tell about his barrel career.  Tri, my good barrel mare has just recovered from a broken (and removed) splint bone and subsequent hock infection from a year ago but it is time now for me to start legging her up, making sure she is sound and getting back on the road again!

Update 2-23-17: Pam is now the owner/broker for Texas C3 Realty, LLC. near Lockhart, Texas. She enjoys working with and helping rodeo and barrel racing clients find the homes and ranches of their dreams! Check her out at