Barrel racing is the glitzy side of rodeo, with women in sequined shirts riding horses under arena lights. It’s a fast and challenging sport, with times so close that a hundredth of a second can make the difference between winning and losing. Barrel racers compete at both local and professional levels. The National Barrel Horse Association and the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association both host events that award prizes for top performances.
While there are many factors that can affect how much a barrel racer makes, some important ones include the level of competition, the number of contestants and the purse size of each event. Additionally, there are often additional costs associated with the sport, including travel expenses and horse care.
The average annual salary for a barrel racer is around $57,900. However, this can vary significantly depending on the location and industry. For example, a barrel racer in the United States can expect to earn a higher salary than one who competes in Canada or the United Kingdom.
The highest-earning barrel racers are those who have competed in the most events. According to the WPRA, Sherry Cervi has won the most prize money of any barrel racer in history. She began competing at age 6, and has won four world championships and 19 NFR qualification points to her name.