Shannon Bray

Where are you from? Originally from Midland but I have lived in the San Antonio area for the past 3 years.

When did you start barrel racing? I did not start barrel racing until I was in college at Sul Ross. My family and I had bred, raised and showed performance horses before that.

Are you involved in any other equine events? I still show in some halter, showmanship and horsemanship.

Who or What got you started barrel racing? I had ran barrels on my show horses before, just to help win the All-Arounds. I really liked it. Where I went to college, you either ranch or rodeo, no horse shows around there. So I turned my show horse into a barrel horse, joined the rodeo team and have never looked back.

On the road sometimes things happen do you have an usual or funny story? On one of my college rodeo trips, my hauling partner and I let one of the bronc riders haul with us. He was kinda like an old cowboy so he took his bed roll and slept under the nose of the trailer…sometime during the first night, one of our dogs decided to use him as a “rest stop” if you know what I mean, he woke up hollering and yelling like all get out, after that, he slept in the truck.

What was the name of your favorite horse and tell us a little about it. I have to say Shadow was my favorite horse. I raised him from a baby and went from halter futurities to pleasure futurities on him. I had multiple wins in the show pen with him before I turned him into a barrel horse in college. With in about 60 days he was running open times, now we call it 1d times. I won my first college rodeo on him and cleaned up at open rodeo and jackpots. He had more heart, try and love for me than I could ever imagine. I lost him in 93 to colic. It completely broke my heart.

What are some of the events that you have won (or races that stand out in your mind)? When I won the NIRA rodeo in Portales New Mexico was one of my happiest moments, it was my first rodeo and I guess you could say “Shadow” and I had a lot to prove. We had a lot of cards stacked against us, it was great to go in win the long go, place 3rd in the short go, win the average and have the fastest time of all runs.

Over the years have you noticed any changes in barrel racing what are the good or bad you’ve seen? The event has really grown and the competition has gotten stiffer. There are more quality barrels horses now than ever. I remember when exhibitions were $2-3 dollars and entry fees at jackpots were $9-15 dollars. Now exhibitions are $5 and up and the entry fees start at $25. Now everyone has trailers with living quarters, before we were lucky to get a hotel room.

What is do you think of an equal pay out 4d? I have mixed feeling about equal pay in the 4d. I understand how it is to have a nice horse that gives 110% every run but just lacks the speed to be the 1d horse, its frustrating. I also still believe in the fastest time wins the most, after all isn’t that them name of the game, fastest time wins?

Do you think of yourself as a professional barrel racer? Since I do not hold a WPRA card it would be unfair to call me a professional barrel racer, I have a nice mare going and hope to be able to reach that status someday.

If your not a professional barrel racer what do you do for a living? I give riding lesson and train horses but not just for barrels. I also work as a horse broker.Who is your favorite barrel racer or barrel racers?I don’t really have one favorite, there are so many good ones out there and they all have different ways, its hard to choose.

Do you have any advice for anyone just starting out in barrel racing? If you are just starting out, get a finished horse, don’t try and train one your self. You need an “old hand” to teach you the ropes. I have seen way to many green riders with green horses…that is usually an accident waiting to happen.

Do you think barrel racing should be limited to women only? No, that is what the WPRA is for, women only there, yes. Barrel races are for everyone, young and old, male and female.  Check out for more info on Shannon