West Michigan barrel racer to compete in Spartan Stampede

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EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan State's Spartan Stampede kicks off tomorrow and a West Michigan local will be among the competitors.

Standing in the pen, MSU Rodeo Club member Alycia Drwencke says, "We put this event on every year, this is our 48th rodeo. It's all student run, we really enjoy it and it's our biggest event of the year."

Competing in barrel racing this year is MSU freshman and Reed City native Taylor Whaling, "I had a need for speed and it could only be fulfilled on the back of a horse."

englishLike most horse women, Whaling started out in the more subdued disciplines.

"I started out showing pleasure horses and hunter jumpers and it just wasn't quite enough," explains Whaling. "I really liked it, but it just wasn't quite enough and as soon as I ran the first barrel pattern I was hooked. I couldn't go back."

The barrel pattern is made up of three turns, either two right turns and left or two left turns and a right.

"We run as fast as we can around three barrels in a cloverleaf pattern," says Whaling, "Fastest time wins, don't knock a barrel down or it adds five seconds."

Unlike most sports, there are two athletes to take care of in barrel racing. Standing alongside her horse, Whaling told FOX 17, "He sees a chiropractor regularly, he gets acupuncture, basically everything he needs he gets because he's my baby."

If you head out to watch the stampede, don't blink when Whaling comes out. In a small arena like MSU's she'll get the pattern done pretty quickly. When asked about how long it will take her to run the pattern Whaling says, "In this pen like 16 or a little faster."


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