As a teenager, Shelly Hale loved to compete in barrel racing.
But as she grew older, family obligations and work responsibility took precedence in her life.
A few years ago, Hale, now 47, decided to resume barrel racing and the decision paid huge dividends when she finished second in the 5D competition at the National Barrel Horse Association Arizona State Finals held April 2 and 3 at Fort Mohave, Ariz.
“I just went there for the experience,” she said. “I didn’t think I had a chance and ended up doing fairly well.”
The state win earned the Payson equestrian a berth into the NBHA June 2 to 5 in Las Vegas, Nev.
Hale says she is planning on attending, to “gain even more experience.” In the state finals, Hale and her 2-year-old gelding quarter horse “Spanky” were required to complete two-barrel runs.
The pair did so in an average of 19.4 seconds.
In addition to the state and national level, Hale competes in smaller events traveling throughout Arizona in search of those thrills and fond memories that shaped her during her impressionable teenage years.