Sydney Frey and 8-year-old Appaloosa gelding JDS Warrior didn’t seem to know that they were competing in a sport dominated by Quarter Horses when they won Saturday’s Open at the second annual Wild West Promotions Melissa Mackie Memorial barrel race May 20–21 at the Somervell County Expo Center in Glen Rose, Texas.
Jana Riley and JLR Fire On Parade got the action started Friday night with a 14.714 to win $946 for the fastest time of the weekend. On Saturday in the main Open race, Frey turned in a fast 14.768 to best a field of more than 350 competitors for earnings of $1,913.
“It was an honor to win the Saturday race there for Melissa Mackie,” Frey shared. “Although I didn’t know her, it was a great memorial barrel race for her. It was an excellent production. It was just really special.”
According to Frey, Friday night’s run did not go as she planned—“Duce” tipped a barrel to clock a 20.460 with the penalty added—so the goal for Saturday’s run was to find redemption.
“He’s been pretty green. Friday night he definitely ran a little green, and I was like, ‘This is not how this was supposed to go,’” Frey said with a laugh. “I knew he had it in him, but I was really excited because this was my first big win on him.”
Frey admits that even though she knew Duce was talented, Saturday’s win still caught her by surprise.
“I’ve never ran that time in that pen before—or even a 14—so I was just ecstatic. I was in shock at that moment. We waited over 200 runs. I was already ecstatic, and whatever was going to happen was going to happen. We stayed through the very last of it, and I just couldn’t believe it,” Frey said.
Frey, who is a college student at Oklahoma Panhandle State University, has only owned Duce for a year. She was first introduced to him through friends who owned him as a 2-year-old.
“They sold [Duce] to a lady in Arizona,” Frey said. “She trained him for a couple of years, and then they bought him back. He was using him as a team roping horse.”
Frey saw potential in the gelding that sparked her interest.
“He was still really green—he had just been to a few jackpots—but I thought he looked like he had some potential. I went and tried him, and he felt good. I took a little chance on him, and this is what happened,” Frey said.
Frey says Duce’s quiet disposition is a big part of what allows him to be a successful competitor.
“He just stays so calm, goes in, and does his job. He hunts the barrels. He is a lovable guy and is a joy to be around. He loves people. And he loves his treats—he’s always looking back for that after we are done riding,” Frey said with a laugh.
Frey plans to spend the summer seasoning Duce and getting him used to seeing the sights.
“That’s the plan for now, anyway, and we’ll see where it takes us,” Frey said. “He is exceeding my expectations already. I’m very excited for his future.”
OPEN DIVISIONAL WINNERS
1D – Jana Riley on JLR Fire On Parade, 14.714, $946
2D – Wendy Cline-Lehmen on Streakin And Shakin, 15.255, $788
3D – MJ Sad on Bucks Last Angel, 15.725, $631
4D – Matt Bancroft on First Rappin Judge, 16.216, $473
5D – Patty Ralls on Thedarksideofthemoon, 16.738, $315
1D – Sydney Frey on JDS Warrior, 14.768, $1,623
2D – Janelle Paul on Docs Ace Ta Fame, 15.270, $1,353
3D – Autumn Gallagher on Colonels Texas Native, 15.773, $1,082
4D – Lauryn Seiler on Rolo, 16.288, $812
5D – Ashley Wells on Streakin Blackops, 16.800, $541