by Christine HamiltonThe American Quarter Horse Journal
Janna Beam and Perks Advantage win the 2012 AQHA world championship in senior barrel racing.
At one point, Janna Beam was told that her prize barrel horse and partner, Perks Advantage, would never compete again.
Janna bought the 2002 black gelding by Perks Master and out of First Advantage by Silent Advantage when he was 3, and she and her mom, Paula Owens, started “Willie” together. She rode him in futurities and rodeoed on him until he got hurt at 8 – a torn suspensory in his right hind.
“The last year was the first year back on him after a year off,” she said in her Journal Winning Run. “It’s been a really good year because they said that Willie would never come back from that injury specifically. He’s come back way better than anyone thought, and he just gets better and better.”
And he capped his return to competition with a world championship in senior barrel racing November 3 at the 2012 AQHA World Championship Show.
“I started off in January, and I just made a few runs a month,” Janna said “I went to Canada for the summer and ran him a little, but not much. We came home, and I’ve run him quite a bit since September, a few times a weekend with a few breaks in between.
“He’s been great. He’s been winning and he’s been getting better and better.”
Janna and Willie came out of the prelims with the second-fastest time, a 16.996. Fourteenth in the finals go, the two set a 16.817 for a combined 33.813 to take the world championship from 2011 amateur barrel racing world champions Taylor Langdon and BB Frenchgirl.
“It’s awesome (to win an AQHA world championship)!” she said. “I came here knowing he’d been working real well, and I know he gets better with the more runs you make and I know he feels really good. But you never know (in barrel racing). It’s tough everywhere you go and anything can happen – you could tip a barrel or slip or something.
“It was so close at the very end I didn’t even know that I won it. I thought I was second, honestly. And I would have been perfectly fine with second. But winning it does make it better!”
Janna bought Willie from Tony Guilbeau of Golden Meadow, Louisiana, who raised him. Tony also bred and raised Cajun Perks On Fire, who finished third in the finals.
“We got him to start. My mom trains horses, and I was in school at the time but I rode outside horses, too. He was a natural at it.”
Janna likes to bring Willie to the World Show arena: “It pays well and the ground is usually good. It’s a good place to bring him; he’s not in a trailer traveling from place to place. It’s a good atmosphere for him; it’s safe.”
Janna and Willie finished fourth in the 2007 junior barrels and qualified for the 2008 and 2009 World Show senior barrels. They earned a barrel racing Superior in 2012.
American Quarter Horses are a family legacy for her.
“My dad (Ed Beam) trains racehorses; my stepfather (Phillip Owens) ropes; my mom (Paula Owens) trains barrel horses; and my aunt is (AQHA Professional Horseman) Sandy Arledge – she’s retired now but she’s been a trainer and leading breeder on the Pacific Coast many times, she’s good at what she does.
“That’s my family – horse family!”
Although she came alone to the 2012 World Show, she has a lot of friends in Oklahoma City to help her celebrate. “Tony (Guilbeau) is here, and I didn’t know he was coming,” she said with a smile. “So we’ll probably go have dinner or something.”