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West Fargo barrel racer competes in world championships

PERRY, Ga. - When it comes to barrel racing, Kayli Sturlaugson doesn't horse around.

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Kayli Sturlaugson barrel racing. Photo courtesy James Phifer / Rodeobum.com

PERRY, Ga. – When it comes to barrel racing, Kayli Sturlaugson doesn't horse around.

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Kayli Sturlaugson barrel racing. Photo courtesy James Phifer / Rodeobum.com

The West Fargo 17-year-old is now racing in the National Barrel Horse Association Youth World Championships. In her first go-around Tuesday, Kayli posted a time of 15.804, racing in a semi-cloverleaf pattern around three barrels. That's a half second behind the leader in her division. The top 15 riders in each of the five divisions make the finals. Overall, Kayli's first time puts her at 156 in the field of 1,107 riders age 13 and up. On Wednesday, she said she and her horse, HJ Hex, have a chance to make the finals by eliminating a couple of mistakes in their second go-around Thursday night. "I'm doin' good. I have a positive attitude. Everything has gone super, super well," Kayli said. "I think we have a pretty good shot at getting in." Kayli has been barrel racing for 10 years, but she's gotten serious at "chasing cans" the past two years, her mother Mandii Sturlaugson said. Kayli won at the district and state levels last August and September, winning a saddle and a spot in this year's national event, Mandii said. "This is the farthest we've traveled to chase, but it's one you can't miss," Mandii said. "She is certainly holding her own down here and it has been amazing." Kayli bought HJ six years ago after seeing him race at the North Dakota Horse Park in Fargo, Mandii said. All the then 4-year-old quarterhorse knew was how to run straight. It was two years before Kayli had him trained to barrel race, Mandii said. He's "a lover. He's one of those horses that gets very, very nervous. As a rider, you have to be there to tell him it's going to be OK. Going into the run he was terrified." Kayli said. Kayli, who graduated this spring from West Fargo High School, will attend North Dakota State University this fall. She doesn't know her major yet, but she plans to join the rodeo team. "I really like the rush," Kayli said of barrel racing. "It's an event that a horse can be really natural in. It's just something I just really took a liking to." In the meantime, she's waiting on a chance to get into the finals. "I can only pray for the best. Honestly, our first one (go-around) was very good," Kayli said.

Related Topics: WEST FARGO
Helmut Schmidt is a reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead's business news team. Readers can reach him by email at hschmidt@forumcomm.com, or by calling (701) 241-5583.
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