KayTee Bleeker developed Bar-O-aBit to help barrel racers save money through the expensive—and often addicting—trial-and-error process of finding the right bits for your hands and your horses.
Barrel Horse News: How did you get the idea for Bar-O-aBit?
KayTee Bleeker: “I got the idea for trying bits before buying them after barrel racing one weekend in fall of 2018. I had been struggling to find a bit that worked for my horse and me. I borrowed a bit from a really good friend of mine, Amanda Welsh, that I never would have bought or even thought to try, and it turned out that my horse loved that bit. I had bought several different bits before finding the right one that worked perfectly. Luckily back then, my husband didn’t know how expensive bits were — now I order a lot of bits and it’s all for my business, so he kind of just rolls his eyes and smiles.”
BHN: Take me through the rental process and what people can expect when renting a bit.
Bleeker: “How Bar-O-aBit works is you visit the website and look for the bit you want to try that might have been a little too spendy to buy. Once you have found the bits you would like to rent, simply add them to your cart and then proceed through checkout. Our bits are rented in week increments with a max rental of four weeks. When the tracking number says you have received your package is when your rental period will start. Once your rental period has ended, I email you a return shipping label. Then you put the bit in the pre-enclosed package that came with your bit, add the shipping label and put it in the mail—that’s it! Some of my bits are for sale and some are rent only. If you rent a bit that’s available to purchase, half of the rental payment goes toward the purchase price if you decide you want to keep it.”
BHN: How do you feel you’re changing the game for barrel racers and the bit market?
Bleeker: “I grew up in a ranching rodeo family with pretty much everything we needed to rodeo and parents who knew what bits we needed. I see a lot of people starting with no one to help show them the way, so they start from scratch not knowing what headgear or bit to use. When you’re guessing and buying bits, it gets expensive really quick. I also spent some time around the barrel futurity world, and it seemed like those young horses would change their mind quite often on what they would work best in. If you don’t already have a trailer full of bits, trying to find that one bit your horse is going to like can get expensive fast. If I can help people out and keep rodeo and the Western sport alive and a little more affordable for everyone, then that’s pretty special to me.”
BHN: What are your goals for the company?
Bleeker: “My goals for Bar-O-aBit are for it to grow to become a nationally known brand. To have thousands of bits and just about every bit imaginable, not just barrel racing but reining, calf roping, team roping, working cow horse and everything in between. I do ship to Canada, but I have had lots of interests of Bar-O-aBit in Australia, so that is my next adventure.”
BHN: Who are some integral members of your team?
Bleeker: “I am the founder of Bar-O-aBit, and my husband Chris has been a huge part of pushing me and helping me build items for Bar-O-aBit. I am pretty sure he thought I was crazy when I told him what I wanted to do in the beginning, and now he is my biggest promoter, advertiser and advocate. I had Chazere Schmautz join to help me with social media posting and getting the word out more. I have a great team of girls who promote Bar-O-aBit—Ashley Day, Samantha Flannery and Amanda Welsh. I couldn’t be happier with this group of ladies who are proudly sporting and making Bar-O-aBit more recognized around the country.”
Visit baroabit.com to browse the catalog of rentable bits from bit makers such as Dave Elliott, Kerry Kelley, Neil Merrill and many more.