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Lucky Dog Barrel Race


Article & photos by Nancy Brannon

Lucky Dog Productions was back in Memphis, Tenn. at the Show Place Arena on August 2-4, 2019 with a “tropical theme” barrel race for the weekend. Owner Christy Lewis said that entries on Friday were about the same as, or a little more than last year, around 250, but she expects that the December show in Memphis will be the “whopper” for the year; it will be double the size of this show, Christy said.

The runs got started on Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. with the $1,000-added Open. Then a full day of barrel racing started at 10 a.m. on Saturday, with $2,000-added and the $100-added Pony Race. All weekend competitors could enter the Runnin’ With the Pack Sidepots and the Futurity and Derby. Christy said that Saturday is their biggest day of the weekend.

The buckles for this race were made to match the colors in the flyer; they’re made by a company in Red Bluff, Arizona. And anyone with a time ending in 0.777, with a clean run, got a free bronc halter.

Many riders were wearing red shirts on Friday. Christy says this is done to remember everyone who’s deployed in the military.

And because of the heat, folks could purchase polo shirts to wear and avoid wearing the required long sleeves. For every shirt sold, the vendor made a $2 donation to St. Jude. They sold over 150 shirts last year, and this year had 70 shirts pre-sold.

Lucky Dog also provided a live web cast of each day’s barrel races. It’s on AM 87.9, but the range is not very far. Folks on the grounds could listen to the broadcasts.

Announcer Lennell Dean
Calling the races was announcer Lennell Dean from Williamston, South Carolina. This was his first time to announce at Lucky Dog, but he announced the St. Jude barrel races in February at the Show Place Arena. His career in announcing reaches from barrel racing to rodeo.

Dean says his family grew crops and had cattle and horses on their farm in Williamston. He says he’s always loved living in the country and can’t imagine himself living anywhere else.

When he was 13, he wanted to start breaking horses and his first was a Walking Horse. But he said this horse was his worst experience and the horse had a bad attitude. It was a real experience trying to get through that horse, but he did.

In high school he became friends with folks who were barrel racers. He would go to their Southern Rose Ranch and hang out, playing with the barrel horses. He says he’s been in the barrel horse world ever since.

In high school he took an audio/video class and announced JV football games. He said his momma told him he’d be a millionaire if he could get paid for running his mouth. So he wanted to get into public speaking in college, but ended up majoring in sports management and got hurt playing football.

Coming home, he got back with the barrel racing and youth rodeo folks. At age 19 he was asked to announce a barrel race, for which he was paid $100. Next thing, he found he could make some serious money announcing, and he’s been doing it for 13 years.

Elaina McKinney, with WRS Kool Memories, was the top winner at this event, taking first in the Open 1D, Runnin’ With the Pack Average Champion, the overall high money champion and the youth high money champion. Elaina also won the Open Average 2D with One Hot Stinson.

On Friday, Elaina swept first and second in the Open 1D and the Youth Sidepot on WRS Kool Memories and Daddys Dollar, respectively (14.420 and 14.465). On Saturday, she had a repeat performance in the Open 1D and Youth Sidepot on these two horses. (14.431 and 14.588) On Sunday, Elaina again took the top prize in the Open 1D and the Youth Sidepot on WRS Kool Memories (14.523). McKinney also won Friday’s, Saturday’s, and Sunday’s Derby with Daddys Dollar (14.465, 14.588, and 14.957). With Elaina running, did anyone else have a chance?

In Saturday’s Pony Race, Addison Davis of Oxford, Miss. won the 1D on her Keebler. Haiven Teel of Jonesboro, Ark. on Ladybug was second; Sheridan Shumpert of Mooreville, Miss. was third on Festus N Fast; and Hayden Boane of Lexington, Tenn. on Taz rounded out the top four.

Find full results of this event and more information about upcoming Lucky Dog barrel races at:

In September, Lucky Dog will be in Tunica, Miss. for the 9th annual 1st Lt. Tyler Parten Memorial, featuring the $10,000 Future Fortunes. They’ll be back in Memphis in early December.

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