The Nolan Watters Memorial Barrel Race – Year 4 only keeps getting better.

The Nolan Watters Memorial Barrel Race was created to raise awareness and help open up conversations about suicide and depression. The 4th annual event did not disappoint. Hosting close to 1,000 runs over the 3 days in October came as no surprise to founder David Renier. After he lost his life partner Nolan Watters to suicide in October of 2015, Renier made the decision to host an event which brings awareness to mental illness and suicide, as well as its prevention.

The Nolan Watters Memorial with $16,000 added, WCBRA approved, Epic two-day Barrel Race was a success. “Thanks to the support from key sponsors like Renew Gold, Spurr Ranch, The Rowdy Rose, Boot Barn, Professional Choice, Pala Casino, Bernardo Winery, Equerry’s, HorseLogic, Western Lifestyle Insurnace, our amazing board of directors and the horse community, we were able to offer a race like no other in California once again,” exclaims Renier.

Held at Riverside Rancheros in Riverside, CA, on October 18, 19 and 20, 2019, the event boasted 992 entries over the three days. It paid out $83,447 and gave away over $30,000 worth of awards. Each day, division champions were awarded a beautiful Rowdy Rose buckle along with a hefty check. All five divisions paid to 13th place, and average prizes were awarded down to 5th. Additionally, each day had $5,500 added, with $5,000 added to the average. The cause was certainly enough to bring in the crowds of people, but the awards and money were an added bonus. “Our numbers stay high because we offer great payouts and awards. Having the whole weekend be WCBRA approved is huge, because our riders can literally get almost half their qualification runs in just one weekend!” says co-founder Virginia McClintock. The weather was a perfect 80 degrees all weekend which made the event even better. “Love and be loved” was the theme of this weekend, and everyone who attended kept up those spirits and smiles. Nolan’s loving and caring nature was evident all weekend as people remembered their friend as well as others that lost their fight against depression. “Great event! Thank you to all the volunteers that put this event on for all of us and the awesome cause it supports! I watched all of you work throughout the weekend and was amazed how organized and professional your whole group was!!! Thank you!!!!” exclaims Kevin Hale.

The Friday night 5D warm up race kicked off the event with 180 riders, paying out $8,060. Payton Schoeppach on The Mafia Boss took home $501 winning the 1D with a very fast time of 15.537, setting the pace for the weekend.

Saturday started at 8:00am with 373 riders and a payout of $23,777. Shannon Clawson riding Here Comes The Queen (A Regal Choice x Queenly Dream), laid out a blistering time of 15.226 on Saturday beating out her competition by over 4 tenths, leaving only 4 riders in the 1D. She won $1,857.00, and a beautiful Rowdy Rose buckle.

Shannon and the 10 year old mare have had a tough couple years. She got the mare as a 2 year old from her brother, John Firth, and trained the Queen herself. Two years ago the Queen got Uvitis which turned into Glaucoma causing her to lose her right eye. It’s been a long road to recovery but with time and patience, Shannon has brought her rodeo mare back to the top. “The event is always amazing and the staff are over the top,” exclaims Clawson.

Wendy Platts was 2nd in the 1D with a 15.659 on Frenchmans Bitof Luck, earning her $1716 for the day. Wendy and her daughter Rylea Platts traveled from Arizona for the 2nd time. This trip bringing six horses to enter, the mother and daughter team won $7,121 for the weekend. Wendy took the Sunday 1D win with a 15.592 on Frenchmans Bitof Luck which secured the 1D Average for them as well. She took home a Coleman mini bike and a wagon full of goodies donated by our amazing sposnors.

Kristen Weaver-Brown on JW Miz Guyded took home the 2nd place win in the Average as well as the 4th place on Diana LeFort’s horse La Lucci and taking home $5,564 for the weekend.

The average champions had their choice of a set of Les Schwab of Temecula tires or a Coleman mini bike. 3rd place in the average went home with a Back on Track blankets donated by Sherri Kastilahn Law Services, Equerry’s Choice, Phytosana, Renew Gold Bisquits, Healthy Coat, Flair Strips and so much more.

The average pot was $16,655 this year with 370 riders participating. 2D Average winner was Parker Asam on her trusty steed Fairlea Whataboutbob taking home $728. Jennifer Duke on Okie Dokie Time took the 3D win earning $633. 4D was a tie with Jamie LaFortune on SL Lauras Fame and Christina Curley on Whinnie each taking home $540. Ella Hale on Percentage of Gold took home the 5D average with and a check for $443.

For the first time this year we opened up a seperate youth race. Youth 16 years and younger could enter the open and carry over to the youth or they could just enter the youth class. The youth class is designed to make sure that all levels of youth contestants have a chance. The 4D format with full second splits ensures that even beginners have the opportunity to win. This ramped up the youth class quite a bit with 111 entries each day. Addison Escobar won the Youth class on Saturday with a 15.878 on Royal Ramblin Rose winning $307. Masyn Powers on Dashin Ta Roses came in a close 2nd with a 15.885. Sunday Masyn came back consistent with a 15.860 to take the win and secured her 1D Youth average title.

The 2019 Equerry’s Youth Challenge, sponsored by Equerry’s Animal Health Solutions and created by the Board, challenged all the kids to get sponsorships outside the horse community all year long. Fourteen kids participated this year, and they were given raffle tickets for some amazing prizes. Raelyn Benadom, Grace Benadom, Lily Ann Sjem, Maddy Munson, Emily Frakes, Allison Frakes, Stella Miles, Bella Pate, Serena Contreras, Jersi Laughton, Samantha Dye, Johanna Hagerstrom, Peyton Russel, Haylee Hurst and Lexi Isklander brought in over $5,500 in sponsorships! The board and our awesome sponsors made sure the kids had some great raffle prizes like Troxel helmets, power paks, Professionals Choice tack, art sets, head phones, Renew Gold Bisquits, and so much more. Nine of the kids brought in over $500 each and were given one raffle ticket for the grand prize drawing of the Equerry’s mini bike, Nintendo Switch, Sonos One speaker and more. “These kids worked hard, and we were so proud of them,” said Denise Munson, “there is nothing harder than asking for money, and they did such an amazing job. I wish I could have given them all a mini bike! I can’t thank Russ at Equerry’s enough for helping us at least give every one of them something really cool.”

There were many activities throughout the weekend that added to this Epic event. The Rowdy Rose donated t-shirts and hats and Back on Track donated their new Liniment for the fastest rider in every drag for the entire weekend. “People love to win something, so making it so one person in every drag can win a prize makes them happy” said Munson, “I’ve never had every fast drag award get picked up and they were gone Sunday!” Not only did exhibitors get to run their horses for a chance at $16,000 in prize money, but other happenings made the occasion even more exciting. Saturday evening HorseLogic hosted the annual taco social party. Thanks to HorseLogic’s support, riders and family were able to enjoy a taco dinner while watching the Xtreme Million qualifier and getting their final bids on the Silent auction. Once again on Saturday from noon until 8:00 P.M., the silent auction was held and coordinated by volunteer, Jeannie Malone, who had spent a year gathering up items. She did an amazing job setting them all into a beautiful presentation to help earn money for the cause. The silent auction made almost $5,000 and included some amazing items donated by the community and companies to ensure a great turn out for this worthy cause.

This year Tana Castro organized a new twist to the auction bringing in several large raffle items; contestants and spectators bought tickets and dropped them in the bucket of the item they hoped to win. Thanks to some wonderful sponsors there were some pretty amazing items. Riverside County Les Schwab dealers came together and donated a set of 4 tires. Other great items were a complete trailer/camping package, a custom wood bench made by Bob Jones and a fire pit full of goodies. This was a big hit with the crowd, who had a lot of fun buying tickets in hopes of winning their favorite item.

New for 2019 was the Saturday night Triple Threat. Contestants signed up to show off their skills in breakaway, barrels and goat tying. A huge crowd came out to watch the 30 entries all race to see who was the fastest. It was a very fun night watching and there was some tough competitiors out there giving it their all from riders age 15 to 60 years old. Taking the top spot with a 31.57 was Brianna Leslie winning $600 and a buckle. 2nd place was Jordan Jara with a 33.20 and Destri Davenport took 3rd with a 33.40. Thank you Jeremy and Robyn Gorham for supplying the cattle and goats. Thank you Ed and Tana Castro and Professional’s Choice for sponsoring this fun event!

“Big Thank You to everyone who was involved in putting this race on. Having water up top for the day parking =So grateful. The jumbo tron t.v.’s were so awesome!! The production/staff of this race is just amazing…can’t wait to continue coming every year to support you guys, “ said Ashley Crowder Ferguson.

The Board of Directors, including David Renier, Denise Munson, Virginia McClintock, Tana Castro, and Jamie Harris, workied like a “well-oiled machine.” As Munson says, the board was the driving force behind the event and assured that everything went off without a hitch. The event couldn’t happen without the help of some amazing volunteers who assisted in all of the “behind-the-scenes” action. “We had so many wonderful people that helped us with everything from office work to picking up trash,” says Munson. “Without them this event would not happen. We can’t thank them enough.” Cody Bray prepped the course and ran the tractor all weekend,, 12 hour days, making sure that the ground was perfect for each and every rider. Tina Shaw spent 12 hours a day in the office writing times and making sure things ran quickly. Rachael Ross and Adam Horde ran the office impeccably the entire weekend, helping check riders in, answering questions, doing payouts, and so much more. “ I love helping, and for such a great cause. I look forward to it every year and look forward to the next one.” Adam says. Adam of Cabrillo Home Mortgage was a sponsor once again but this year went big with the Jumbotron outside the arena entrance. Riders could not only watch in bigger than life size whoever was running but they also could see the next 15 riders and the fast time. Props AV were gracious enough to hook us up with the Jumbotron and extra TV’s around the grounds and in the bar so everyone could watch the race.

The Nolan Watters Memorial partnered once again with the “With Hope Foundation”; both nonprofit organizations are dedicated to suicide prevention through improving mental health support services and education throughout our community. “With Hope” provides services such as programs for school-age students to educate about mental illness.

S.A.W., Save a Warrior, will still be in their donation fold. Twenty-two veterans lose their battle with depression every day. S.A.W. is a nationally-recognized program, offering novel, judgment-free solutions to returning Veterans, Active Duty Service Members, and First Responders with Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS).

Photos and videos are so important to barrel racers everywhere. This event had the best of both. Mark Blakely who takes his personal time to sit for hours to shoot each and every rider. “Mark’s photos make an event so much more special,” says Denise, “We all appreciate him more than he knows. It’s so wonderful to see Facebook lit up for weeks after this event with the Nolan barrels on all his photos.” There may have been over 500 riders and spectators at the event all weekend; thanks to Jeff Frietas of hundreds more were able to watch the event from home with his live webcast all three days. Jeff offers riders a professional quality video of their run in regular and slow motion for only $15. He also had his timing reports available to show contestants how their run compares with the top three riders each day. Julie Lane gives thanks, “Thank you Denise Munson, Virginia McClintock, Barbara Patton and your magnificent army for putting on such a great race! And very special thanks to David Renier who turned tragedy into an EPIC fundraiser for such a great cause!!”

“These charities truly save lives and that is why we do this event,” Board of Director member and event coordinator Denise Munson says. “We are so excited to have raised $30,000+ again this year, and it feels awesome knowing that all our hard work will help so many.” Some of the money raised from the event will be used to support therapy for people who are unable to afford the help they need. “We were saddened this year by so many people that have lost loved ones to this horrible disease,” says Munson, “ we can’t stress enough the importance of helping those who suffer from mental illness or depression.”

This event is so much more than just a barrel race. “Thanks for a splendid 3 days of fun and racing. Everything was very smoothly ran. Thanks for getting me unstuck on Friday night and providing me options to park. Everyone was very friendly and I enjoyed the free breakfast. Oh, the goodies in the contestant bag was great as well. This is my 1st year being able to attend all 3 days, I look forward to next year already. Ember and I may have not been a world bearer today but I loved that we had improvements. Congratulations to all the winners!” says Sydney Najduch. Everyone who attends this epic event is there to support the cause, and you can feel the energy flow throughout the entire weekend. “Paiz and I would love to just say thank you to everyone for such a fun race for a great cause… I can’t imagine the hard work that goes into putting this event on but it’s much appreciated.” from Stacey Hart. Love and be loved.

Thank you to our Epic Sponsors: Renew Gold, Spurr Ranch, Professional Choice, HorseLogic, Western Lifestyle Insurance, Sherri Kastilahn law Services, Bernardo Winery, Toyota of San Bernardino, Bootbarn, The Rowdy Rose, Horseman’s News, Horse Logic, Luther Construction, Healthy Coat, Summit Equipment, Creekside Vet, Oxy-Gen, Equerry’s, Diamond Bar Arena, Horseman’s News and so many more.

Open Average Results

5D Average Winners

1D Placings                                  

1st 31.251 $791.00         Wendy Platts on Frenchmans Bitof Luck

2nd 31.399 $708.00         Kristen Weaver-Brown on JW Miz Guyded

3rd 31.635 $583.00         Shannon Clawson on Here Is The Queen

4th 31.677 $500.00         Kristen Weaver-Brown on La Lucci

5th 31.745 $396.00         Masyn Powers on Dashin Ta Roses

6th 31.800 $291.00         Sam Carpenter on Sweet Spring Music

7th 31.863 $250.00         Kim Raze on Boots

8th 31.901 $208.00         Wendy Platts on Guys Best Bet

9th 31.946 $167.00         Rebecca Arnold on Key Game

10th 31.957 $146.00         Kristen Weaver-Brown on SR Fame has Perks

11th 31.981 $125.00         Paloma Alvarado on Exclusivley Ella

2D Placings                                  

1st 32.254 $728.00         Parker Asam on Fairlea Whataboutbob

2nd 32.271 $651.00         Stephanie Daehne on Catch Some Reyes

3rd 32.276 $536.00         Shelby Swayne on VF Princess Corona

4th 32.327 $460.00         Tana Castro on MH All D Cows

5th 32.361 $364.00         Connie Posey on Wheelin Turbolena

6th 32.378 $268.00         Winter Guesman on A Classy Stel

7th 32.421 $230.00         Emily Backes on A starbucks N FireRB

8th 32.479 $192.00         Jacque Hannon on Cahin N On Fame

9th 32.500 $153.00         Denise Munson on CEO Casanova

10th 32.512 $134.00        Sarah Rohay on CC Cuervo

11th 32.552 $115.00         Rebekah Shearer on Spencer

 3D Placings       

1st 33.254 $633.00         Jennifer Duke on Okie Dokie Time

2nd 33.267 $566.00         Ashley Ferguson on Bling

3rd 33.272 $466.00         Leanea Gordon on Leo’s Black Peper

4th 33.294 $400.00         Ariel Hale on Dirty Starlight

5th 33.297 $316.00         Makayla Cozatt on Bellas Blue Cloud

6th 33.309 $233.00        Ashlyn Muto on Reggie

7th 33.330 $200.00         Cookie Scane on Betty Boop Biankus

8th 33.349 $167.00         Mkenzie Monfort on Smart Chica Zoom

9th 33.362 $133.00         Ruby Robbins on Legends Jr Miss

10th 33.396 $117.00         Jersi Laughton on Jetta

11th 33.413 $ 50.00         Kathy Branco on Just N Thenickoftime

Tie   33.413 $ 50.00         Carolyn J Thomas on My Silent Eclipse

4D Placings   

1st 34.254 $540.00         Jamie LaFortune on SL Lauras Fame

Tie   34.254 $540.00         Christina Dekoning on Whinnie

3rd 34.260 $420.00         Scout Magill on Zippity

4th 34.265 $360.00         Lennie Meyer on Eli

5th 34.333 $285.00         Kendall Webb on Chevy

6th 34.340 $210.00         Lane York on Dun it

7th 34.341 $180.00         Rachel Owens-Sarno on Biscuits

8th 34.371 $150.00         Barbara Arrendondo on Milkshake

9th 34.377 $120.00         Caleigh Copeland on Gracie is Amazing Dash

10th 34.406 $105.00         Linda Travis on Frosted My Glass

11th 34.413 $ 90.00         Ashley Witty on Cookie

5D Placings      

1st 35.278 $443.00         Ella Hale on Percentage of Gold

2nd 35.299 $396.00         Julie Lane on Little Pine Fire

3rd 35.304 $326.00         Rachel Ward on CR Okies Be Tuff

4th 35.348 $280.00         Karen Tusler on Elliedoc

5th 35.357 $222.00         Ruby Lightfoot on Breezin

6th 35.360 $163.00         Destri Devenport on Frenchmans Gold Moon

7th 35.369 $140.00         Olivia Verbeek on Peanut

8th 35.399 $117.00         Britney Edwards on Kn Special Bear

9th 35.416 $ 93.00        Cassie Howell on CR Dynastia Fame

10th 35.459 $ 82.00         Cyndi Pais on Tuckers French Twist

11th 35.460 $ 70.00         Letitia Peterson on Dox Haidas Star