by Larri Jo StarkeyThe American Quarter Horse Journal
Lane Smith found another gear to win amateur barrel racing November 5. (Journal photo)
Lane Smith won his first world championship in 2006, when he was a youth.
Lane was also a reserve world champion three times as a youth in speed events.
On November 5, though, he earned his first world championship as an adult, winning amateur barrel racing with his longtime equine partner, Gotta Another Gear.
Lane and “Cowboy” put together two scorching runs at the 2012 AQHA World Championship Show to claim the title.
“The first (run) wasn’t near as good as the second,” Lane said. “The first one, he tried to hit the third barrel, and I had to pull him out and it cost me all sorts of time. I came into the finals in fifth and had a lot of ground to make up. I had a really surprising run. It didn’t even feel as fast as it was. It worked out really well.”
Cowboy turned and burned in 16.697 for a composite of 33.898, just ahead of 2010-11 amateur barrel champion Taylor Langdon on BB Frenchgirl, who turned in a time of 17.310 in the finals and a composite of 34.161.
Cowboy had already had a bit of work November 5, because the amateur finals in pole bending and stake race preceded barrel racing. He needed to turn up the heat to win.
“I was second in poles and third in stake, and I was worn out by the time we got (to barrels),” Lane said. “I wasn’t nervous because I’d already done it twice. I was just hoping I had enough horse left to finish the race. And he ran faster than I was expecting him to. He has a lot of heart and he just did a great job.”
Cowboy has been with the Smith family since 2005, when Lane’s father, Doug, bought Cowboy from 30-year breeder Chuck Givens.
“He’s my favorite horse,” Lane said. “We buy and sell a lot of other horses, but he’s the only one we keep. He’ll probably be with us forever.”
Lane was supposed to return to Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, where he is a senior, for class November 6, but after the world championship, those plans changed.
“There’s a barn party going on,” he said. “I’m going to catch that and hang out for a while and enjoy it for at least the night and then go home.”