The National High Stakes Barrel Racing Series wanted to establish a place for all levels of interest and skill in barrel racing.  Weekend Warriors to daily riders, consistency is the key at NHSBR!

Learn more about “The Ethel Format” and us by clicking below!




SnT Boyd


In the spring of 2015, I was talking to my mom, Ethel Whitcher, on the phone. She was telling me about how consistent her horses had gotten, but she was too scared to go faster.

That got me thinking….

My husband and I participate in the World Series Team Roping events and they are handicapped in a way that we don’t have to be as fast as the pro’s, just as consistent as them, in order to win big BIG money. The World Series Team Roping (WSTR) numbers the ropers, lowest to highest (1-10), based on the ropers ability and then makes contests that cater to combination of the header and the heeler’s number. Usually, they have a 13, 11, 10, 9, and an 8 numbered roping with caps on how high of a number the ropers can be in each. They have $150 entry fee and a 80/20 payout. The team that is most consistent and fastest on 4 head of steers wins.

So with the Divisions already in place in barrel racing, I just needed a way for each runner to be able to only run against those in their division, and for it to pay out big on consistency. That is where “The Ethel” format came from.

At first there was concern that the 1D runner’s would have the smallest prize money based on them traditionally having less runner’s in the 1D. However, after having had several races, we have found that since these runners are having to be consistent on 3 runs, and it’s the average of the 3 runs that pays, there are many runners in that D.

Another concern was from the runners that have a tendency to hit barrels. They just didn’t see how this could pay off for them. That is when we added the consolation round.  Everyone that hits a barrel has a final chance to make a smooth run for fifty percent of the money (which is what many other barrel races pay).  The consolation round becomes a sudden death, fastest on one round and is paid as a traditional 5D.

National High Stakes Barrel Racing’s mission is to put on fun races that cater to every level of rider and horse, to challenge runners to not only have fast but consistent horses, and to make it so that barrel racers are getting a chance to win BIG BIG MONEY!!! Why in the world would we let the team ropers be the only one’s getting in on this kind of dough?!

All of us at National High Stakes Barrel Racing are excited about this next year. We have many races planned and are looking forward to meeting many new people and watching the popularity of this format grow and grow.