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MSU facility earns barrel-racing award
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Belt buckles and saddles are coveted in the barrel-racing world, and Mississippi is home to a prestigious trophy for the first time this year.
The Better Barrel Racing Association has named Bricklee Miller, manager of the Mississippi Horse Park at Mississippi State University, as the National Producer of the Year for 2013. The award recognizes Miller’s efforts to produce the Horse Poor Barrel Racing event in conjunction with the Better Barrel Racing Association Eastern Regional Tour Finale last October.
“The award is really about the entire horse park staff and event crew’s efforts that went into putting on this major barrel racing competition,” Miller said. “We had 1,651 entries from across the country racing for over $74,000 in cash and prizes during the three-day event.”
The Mississippi Horse Park, located on Poorhouse Road south of Starkville, hosted the October 2013 events. The Better Barrel Racing Association, the largest organization devoted to that sport, sponsors the richest divisional barrel racing finals in the world.
The association considered hundreds of producers and more than a thousand events for its National Producer of the Year honor before presenting the award at the national barrel racing finals in Oklahoma City in late April. Miller is the first Mississippi producer to win this award.
“The award was based on overall performance of the event but most importantly, how the competitors attending perceived the experience from start to finish. Factors such as customer service, prizes, added money, easy online registration, great ground, pre-bedded stalls and good concessions all play a role,” Miller said. “The national recognition will help us draw even more contestants from further away to our future events.”
This award was the second prestigious honor for the Mississippi Horse Park in recent months. In December, the facility received a Southeastern circuit Justin Best Footing Award from the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association.
“If you are a true horse facility, footing in the arena is the most important aspect of your operation,” Miller said. “We get a lot of practice preparing our arena floor for a variety of events throughout the year.”
Each March, the Mississippi Horse Park hosts the MSU Bulldog Classic, the oldest American Quarter Horse show in Mississippi. It also hosted three “super show” barrel racing events, one professional rodeo and a Mississippi High School Rodeo event last year. Miller said she anticipates a nationally televised event in 2014.