For one Davis, S.D., woman, barrel racing is a hobby and a passion.
Mike Boomgarden, who grew up in a family with eight kids near Viborg, S.D., always had horses growing up but never had the chance to barrel race until she married her husband, Chad, in 1990. In the early 1990s, she did some trail riding. In 1996, she participated in her first barrel race in Flandreau, S.D. Barrel racing is a rodeo event in which a horse and rider attempt to complete a cloverleaf pattern around preset barrels in the fastest time.
After going to those summer Flandreau barrel racing jackpots, Boomgarden decided she wanted to try hosting her own jackpot (an event in which sponsors donate money to be awarded to the winner/winners). Her dad and brothers put up Andersen Arena, north Viborg, so she hosted barrel racing jackpots in the summer there from 1997 to 2007. Today she hosts jackpots all over southeast South Dakota at least two or three weekends a month.
“It’s our love and passion. To someone that has ever lived and breathed something, it’s something you live for. You think about it 24 hours a day how you can improve this or fix that,” Boomgarden said. “It’s really, Chad would call it an addiction. I call it fun.”
Her husband helps her with the Pendleton-style barrel racing jackpot they host at their farm each year once the crop is out of the field. The Pendleton pattern is longer than the standard barrel pattern in that it is 280 feet between each barrel. A standard pattern is 60-90 feet between barrels. He also helps her by taking care of their 6-year-old son, Emmit, while she is hosting jackpots.
Their daughter, Ashley, and her husband, Trey Buffington, help her with running a gate or setting barrels or with entries. Boomgarden’s sister-in-law, Candace Andersen, has worked as her co-producer since 2012. Boomgarden is glad her brother married Andersen since they work so well together.
“We think a lot alike. We have a really great relationship,” Boomgarden said.
In 2003, some friends of Boomgarden put up a barn outside of Springfield, S.D., called 7N Arena. The indoor barn allowed her to host barrel racing jackpots year-round. Last year she started hosting some at the W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds in Sioux Falls.
Events like the Tri-State Horse Expo held at the fairgrounds in March drew 200 entries for both last year and this year. This year they also had $2,000 added prize money.
“That’s been by far the biggest event I’ve hosted,” Boomgarden said. “It’s nice to be in Sioux Falls and get the advertisement and the recognition for something that we love to do with a passion.”
Boomgarden said hosting a jackpot at events like the horse expo help showcase the sport more in this part of South Dakota.
To get the word out on when she hosts her barrel racing jackpots, Boomgarden posts when and where the next jackpot is on her Facebook page. She said social media has really increased the number of people wanting to participate in the events and those wanting to watch.
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