There are two things Miles McNarland enjoys most in life — chuckwagon racing and rodeo. Born into a family of chuckwagon racers, he began racing chariots in the Manitoba Professional Chariot and Chuckwagon Association in 1993, at the age of 14. In 1996, he made the move from chariots to chuckwagons, and he has never looked back.
“Chuckwagon racing is pretty much barrel racing with three more horses and a wagon,” McNarland explained.
The parallels between chuckwagon racing and rodeo abound—McNarland says a sense of community, family values and multi-generational involvement are common themes in both arenas.
In 2012, McNarland’s involvement in chuckwagon racing led him from Manitoba to Texas, where he found himself making friends with barrel racers in the hospitality tent at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. As he sought to stay up to date with rodeo results for his newfound barrel racing friends, McNarland stumbled upon a Facebook page that would ultimately change the trajectory of his life—Texas & Other Rodeo Barrel Racing Updates.
The page was founded by barrel racer Traci Pratt, who knew from personal experience how difficult it was to obtain information out on the rodeo road.
“Unless you personally knew someone who had been there, finding information was next to impossible. You just had to go experience it and figure it out,” Pratt shared. “I started the page to serve as a place where we could find relevant information about arenas, ground conditions, alleyways, and anything else we might need to know. I also wanted to know the results of rodeos because oftentimes it took a week or two to get those.”
When McNarland crossed paths with Pratt in 2014 and expressed interest in her page, it was a welcome reprieve for Pratt, whose plate was quickly filling to the brim. It didn’t take long for her to hand the reins to McNarland.
“Within a year, he took it over. I just told him, ‘Don’t delete me,’” Pratt said with a laugh. “Miles is phenomenal—he really turned the page into something invaluable.”
Since its inception, Texas & Other Rodeo Barrel Racing Updates has grown to include more than 16,000 members—a true testament to the vital role it plays within the rodeo community. The platform has also expanded to include information like connections for local farriers or veterinarians and options for nearby feed or hay. It is a treasure trove of free information for barrel racers on any rodeo road across the United States.
For McNarland, a typical week on the Facebook page starts on Monday, when he pulls the schedule for upcoming rodeos. Throughout the week, he tracks those rodeos, posting updates and current leaders before ultimately listing final results and payouts.
“I’ve had a lot of people ask me why I don’t charge a membership fee or create an app so I can generate revenue, but I’m not really interested in that,” McNarland shared. “This is a great free service for people who either are barrel racers or are friends with barrel racers. I have secretaries or competitors who will message me results and help me keep things updated. In a lot of ways, it’s a community effort. It takes a village, and I appreciate any help I get.”
McNarland may not receive monetary compensation for the dedicated hours he logs keeping the rodeo community connected, but in true rodeo fashion, the friendships he’s forged along the way give meaning to the work.
“There are girls I keep in touch with all the time because they’ve become good friends of mine—it has nothing to do with the Facebook page anymore,” McNarland said. “When I go to Texas, we get to hang out in person, and it makes the experience much more enjoyable. I get to put faces to names. I’ve even been hooked up with tickets to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo through friends I’ve met through the Facebook page. It never ends—the people you meet, interact with and stay in touch with—and that’s what I love about it the most.”
To learn more about McNarland’s Facebook page, visit facebook.com/groups/BarrelRacingUpdates.