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June 2021 issue is now available!


When Fractions of Seconds Count


By Tommy Brannon

Laurie Cooper, professional barrel racer, based at her farm near Humboldt, TN, When Seconds Count, is competing on the road again in July. The Mid-South Horse Review caught up with her in June at the Lone Star Rodeo in Covington, TN to talk to her about her barrel racing plans.

Cooper said that she has high hopes for her horses Perks Panita, aka “Peanut,” and her mare Takin On Fame, aka “Gabby.” She will be traveling to barrel races and rodeos in Wisconsin, Montana, Kansas, and Missouri.  Her primary mount is Peanut, but she said that she needs two horses to compete successfully. She has sold all of her other horses, even her colts, to concentrate on these two. “I have even stopped training others so that I can stay focused on these,” Cooper said. 

She was on the road starting in December competing at PRCA rodeos with the goal to make circuit finals and obtain enough status to qualify for the winter tour rodeos. She and her horses have been taking a break of sorts at home for the past month, training and competing only at local barrel races and rodeos in the mid-south. Even on a break, her horses are fit with well-defined muscle tone and virtually no fat. She said she has given Peanut some time off, working the mare to the next step.

Cooper and Peanut are currently leading in the Lone Star Rodeo standings. She is consistently in the top money – way ahead of most of the competition, as with her smoking 14.334 seconds run on Peanut at the Dynamite Barrel Race recently at the Show Place Arena in Memphis. “We (Laurie and her horses) have accomplished our goals and it is only June. We need to get fired up for the big indoor winter rodeos,” Cooper says.             

Cooper is a student of Judy Myllymaki of Arlee, Montana. She describes Judy as trainer, partner, and mentor. She credits Judy for her 25 years of success in barrel racing. She said that Judy taught her to let the horses tell her when they are tired and when they are ready to go. She added that she met Judy in her mid-twenties and has grown since then. “I have had good horses under me. We really think we have something this time with Peanut. He is 10 years old now and I have had him since he was 3. I trained him and seasoned him. He is my deal!”She also credits and thanks her support team: her husband Keith, Dr. Butler at Huntington Animal, her farrier, James Denton, as well as all of Peanut’s fans. “You know who you are.”    

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