The Bring N the Heat Barrel Race at T Ed Garrison Livestock Arena in Clemson, South Carolina, from June 24–25 paid out more than $45,000 in cash and prizes to 1,080 entries. When the weekend drew to a close, Jim Warner and Jess The Way You Are laid claim to the fastest time of the weekend—a 14.797 to win Friday’s Open and $2,357.
“Jess” competed during his 4-year-old year with trainer Craig Brooks, who amassed more than $20,000 in earnings on the gelding during his futurity year. When Jess came up for sale, Jim knew the son of French Streakin Jess was capable of shutting the clock off, even if he was still inconsistent. He purchased Jess from owners Jordan and Joseph Diaz with the goal of seasoning the young gelding and finishing him out.
“When he does things right, he is the total package,” Jim shared. “He is so quick in a turn—he’s just plain fast—he has a large stride, and when he puts it all together, he’s one of the nicest horses I’ve ever ridden.”
Working toward consistency has been a goal for Jim since bringing Jess home.
“He’s still immature,” Jim explained. “Sometimes he will go into [the arena], look around at everything and not pay any attention. Sometimes he will put it all together and work great. He’s gotten a lot more consistent, and I think he will continue to get better, but sometimes he still thinks like a colt.”
Jim says it took him some time to feel the gelding out. Ultimately, he ended up making a first barrel change—Jess now runs to the left barrel first.
“I didn’t have a very good first barrel to the right on him,” Jim said. “It was very inconsistent. I switched him to the left in the fall of 2021 and it just seemed like I fit him better to the left.”
Between the first barrel change and more miles in the pen, they are starting to find the consistency that Jim knows can be achieved. And even if it takes a little longer for Jess, Jim doesn’t mind being patient.
“He’s such a nice horse to ride,” Jim shared. “He’s super laid back and just a lot of fun. I can deal with some inconsistency and give them more time if they’re enjoyable. I know he’s getting more solid.”
Jim, who also co-produces the Good Times Barrel Racing Association events with wife Stacey Warner, says his favorite thing about being involved in the barrel racing industry is seeing the quality of horsepower in the arena.
“I ran at the Old Fort Days Futurity and Derby the second year the event was held,” Jim said. “Back then, you bought a colt, and you didn’t really care how it was bred. Now it’s so specialized—you have barrel racing stallions bred to mares that have won more than $100,000. It’s awesome to see how tough it’s become.”
Jim thanks Craig Brooks for training Jess, Jordan and Joseph Diaz for the opportunity to own him, and stallion owners Lee and Hallie Hansen for raising him.
Jill Johnson and Cinnamon Stoli Win Saturday’s Open
Jill Johnson and Cinnamon Stoli turned in an impressive performance at Bring N the Heat, clocking a 14.842 and a 14.877 to place third and first, respectively, in Friday and Saturday’s Open races.
Johnson purchased “Slurry” during the middle of the mare’s futurity year with world champion barrel racer Jordon Briggs. Briggs finished out the mare’s futurity year before handing the reins to Johnson.
“I ran her in 2021 and we started to do well at some events,” Johnson shared. “We can still be hit or miss, but we are getting much more consistent.”
In their first full year together, Johnson and Slurry won a go-round during the derby at Fiddler’s Turkey Run and managed to snag a go-round win in the senior division at the National Barrel Horse Association World Championships in Perry, Georgia.
Johnson says a bit change earlier in the season has helped the pair find consistency, but even with several solid performances under them, Johnson wasn’t sure how Slurry would run at Bring N the Heat.
“She was really quiet warming up and going in the pen. A lot of the time, when she really clocks, she’s very gritty and she just didn’t feel that way. She also gets aggressive toward other horses when she’s warming up and she didn’t do that. I told my husband, ‘I’m not sure how she’s going to be—she’s not her usual aggressive self out there,’” Johnson said with a laugh.
Slurry surprised Johnson when she shut the clock off both days with two clean, smooth and consistent runs.
“She makes me look good—she’s that horse,” Johnson shared. “I probably owe a whole lot of that to Jordon Briggs.”
Bring N the Heat Open Divisional Winners
- 1D—Jim Warner on Jess The Way You Are, 14.797, $1,045
- 2D—Sabra Moore on Sawyer’s Frosted Moon, 15.303, $816
- 3D—Leslie Willis on Dash, 15.826, $588
- 4D—Barbara Tatham on Sally’s Carrizzo, 16.805, $359
- 1D—Jill Johnson on Cinnamon Stoli, 14.877, $1,114
- 2D—Hannah Mae Oakley on EF Docs Red Hot Gin, $868
- 3D—Beth Langston on CLC Watch Eddie Roll, 15.889, $622
- 4D—Bridget Watson on Diesel, 16.887, $376
For complete results, visit gtbra.com