A trio of sub 18-second rounds earned 16-year-old Sami Novak a first-place finish in a National Barrel Horse Association event held Oct. 8 and 9 at Apache Gold arena in San Carlos.
Astride her 23-year-old gelding quarter horse, Tigger, Novak was clocked in 17:48, 17:51 and 17:32.
For the win, which came in the open 3D division, Novak pocketed $307 in prize money and was awarded a commemorative belt buckle.
In preparing for the competition, Novak practiced almost daily at the Haught arena in Star Valley, where she is also training a filly, Dixie, to barrel race in the near future.
Novak will return to racing action, on Tigger, in November at Horse Lover's Arena in north Phoenix. She also plans on competing during the Thanksgiving holidays at another NBHA event at Apache Gold.
While on the racing circuit, Novak is sponsored by Payson Driveline, D.D. Haught, Payson Feed, Diamond J Veterinary Services, El Rancho, and Sanders Custom Signs.
In addition to competing in barrel racing, Novak is a member of the Lady Longhorn volleyball team.