Barrel racer on her way to going pro
A young barrel racer from Jones County continues her journey toward her goal of obtaining a professional rodeo card with wins in Perry in May and July and another big competition coming up next weekend.
Ali Kate Kelleher won twice at the National Barrel Racing Association Big Rewards Barrel Races May 22 at the Georgia National Fairgrounds in Perry. She won the 1D on Rush and the 2D on Jet.
She and Dis Kat Kin Scat, aka “Rush” also received recognition for running the fastest time of the weekend with what was described as a “smokin” 14.388, winning both the Open and Youth Fast Time Award. Kelleher had the fastest time out of 1,862 runs.
Her winnings included two belt buckles and $6,000 cash.
Kelleher and “Rush” won second in the 1D July 1 in the NBHA Summer Run Super Show, then July 2 they won the 1D, winning $3,000 and a Segway.
Kelleher’s next big show is the NBHA Youth World in Perry July 17-24.
Ali Kate’s mother, Deanna Kelleher, said there are already 2,000 entries in that competition so far.
“It’s the biggest youth show in the world,” the mother said. “She’s hoping to walk away with that title. It’s been one of her goals for years now.”
Ali Kate has been riding horses all of her life, following in the footsteps of her mother who raised Paso Finos when she was a small child. The young horsewoman started taking lessons at age 11 and discovered her love of barrel racing at age 13.
She has been competing in the sport since she was 14 and has been collecting awards all over the circuit.
In addition to competing, Kelleher trains and breeds horses and in her spare time raises Australian Shepherds.