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Madelyn Gregory wins state barrel racing championship

Madelyn Gregory of Troy is the 2021 National Barrel Horse Association Alabama State Youth 3D Barrel Racing Champion.

The 8-year-old won the title at the NBHA Alabama State Show 2021 at the Covington Center Arena in Andalusia July 8-10.

“Maddy” won the prestigious title with a time of 17.104 seconds which, is an outstanding time for a rider in her age group.

She realized she had posted a good time, but she had to wait and watch as other riders posted times.

“I was nervous; I hoped I could win but I had to wait,” Maddy said. “I was so excited when I won. I’m still excited.”

The next best time in Maddie’s 12 and under age division was 17.257, so Maddy had some very close competition.

She credits her win on a good ride and a good horse, her quarter horse, Noel.

“We ride good together,” Maddy said, adding it took a good ride on Saturday for her to qualify for the Sunday race.

“I didn’t qualify for the Sunday race on Friday and I only had one chance to qualify on Saturday,” Maddy said. “I really wanted to ride on Sunday so I knew I would have to do my best.

But, at qualifying on Saturday, Maddy said she was more excited than nervous. She and Noel had a good ride on Saturday and qualified for Sunday’s finals.

“I really wanted to race on Sunday, and I was so excited when I qualified,” she said.  Racing was so much fun.”

What Maddy remembers most about the race is how clean she came around the barrels and the exhilaration of a good finals’ ride. Then, there was the wait to know if she was the champion barrel racer on that day.

Maddy received a championship saddle and belt buckle and, most of all, the title, NBHA Alabama State Show Youth 3D Barrel Racing Champion.

That state championship win will, perhaps, be the most memorable for Maddy but she has her sights set on other races with the possibilities of other titles.

Maddy’s love of horses and her desire to barrel race goes back “a long time, maybe four years.”

Maddy’s parents, Jason and Julie Gregory, share her love of horses. The Gregory family had miniature horses and ponies in the pasture and the family attended rodeo events. The first time Maddy saw girls run barrels, she said, “I want to do that.”

She has taken riding lessons “for a long time,” including barrel racing lessons, and she saddles up just for the fun of the ride. She also enjoys taking lessons and taking care of Noel. “Just being around horses” is the only inspiration Maddy needs to want to keep riding.

She has competed in several area rodeos in barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying and steer roping.

The Gregory family is supportive and encouraging of Maddy’s interest in rodeo and her love of horses. Her parents and her sisters, Olivia and Emily, are “all in” when it comes to rodeo.