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Barrel Racing

A Decade at the Colorado Classic

Year 10 at the Colorado Classic will be bigger and better than ever.

Jones knows that it is her support system that makes the dream work. The team works
hard year round to ensure the best event possible for competitors.

Ten years ago, when Kayla Jones saw a gap in the futurity scene, she stepped up to the plate. Being a barrel racer herself, she understood there was a desire from the competitors in the Colorado area for a localized, high paying, quality run futurity.

With 2013 being her first year on the futurity scene, she came back from Washington with the desire to bring that caliber of event to her home state. To attract the number she wanted, Kayla knew she needed to focus on gathering up enough added money, and find safe ground and a facility that could accommodate both horses and riders.

“I went to Washington, the Dakotas, and some Wyoming [futurities] but it just kind of baffled me that we didn’t have one in Colorado,” says Kayla. “We had really good facilities, great barrel races, and really good horses but we just didn’t have a futurity.”

Jones soon took the conversation to Facebook to see if there would be any interest in the event she was envisioning. There was a resounding ‘YES’ that rang from the Rocky Mountain region of barrel racers.

With the birth of the Colorado Classic, Jones also opened the door for stallion owners to participate in her barrel race by incorporating the stallion incentive and auction. “My stallion auction has grown into a monster of itself that I’m very thankful for,” Jones said. “If you would have asked me 10 years ago if I thought I would have had 230 some stallions, I would be like, NO!” 

Jones saw the value the stallions playing a role in the success of the Colorado Classic Futurity. By offering a yearly stallion auction, Jones saw a way to help stallion owners promote and grow their programs as well as give breeders a chance to snag some amazing breedings at a potentially discounted rate.

“My motto behind everything is that I want it to be the most affordable, but the biggest bang for your buck,” Jones said. “I’ve stayed true to that and now, this year is bigger than ever before.” Originally Jones ran the stallion auction on Facebook. In recent years Jones made the investment into her website to host the auction, making it more professional and user friendly.

The couple-thousand-dollar investment really took the auction to the next level and helped the stallion program grow. “Stallions can either pay a reference sire fee or they can donate

a breeding to the auction. Whatever best fits their program,” Kayla says, “I wanted it to be something that someone’s stud can be a part of that might have one or two foals a year and they can come and run for big money alongside some of the bigger names.”

The first event was held in 2014, and there were many learning curves that Jones and her team needed to overcome. One of the biggest lessons Jones has come to know, is to account for stalling.

Getting the ground as safe as possible has also been a huge focus for the Colorado Classic at all locations they have held the event. Bringing in her own ground crew has made a world

of difference in keeping the ground as safe and fast as possible for the young horses that lack some self preservation skills. “These horses are young, and their feet can move so much

faster than their brain,” says Jones. Jones and her team have learned over the years what it takes to make the ground great for their events, and they are always willing to go the extra mile to make it happen.

With the growth of the event comes the growth of added money. The money added to the Colorado Classic purse comes from the amazing sponsors Kayla and her team are able to connect with.

“Sponsorship is huge,” says Jones. “We want to give value to our sponsors by getting their name in front of the girls who come from all over the country.” Just like the stallion auction, Jones wants the sponsors of her race to feel like they are getting the most bang for their buck. She makes it a priority to showcase sponsorships in ways that will get them brand recognition, such as putting logos on barrels so that they get more exposure when pictures are posted on Facebook.

This year will be the third year the event is held in Montrose, Colorado with more added money than ever. In conjunction with the Colorado Classic, competitors have the option to come the week prior to the event to compete in the Run At The Rose race produced by Jones’ best friend Taylor Hildreth, who has been an instrumental part of the Colorado Classic from the start. 

Speaking of bang for your buck, The event this year will feature an added Royal Crown side pot, along with Future Fortunes, Triple Crown 100, Select Stallion Stakes, and WRPA PESI money.

As barrel racers, we know your vacation time is spent going to events. The Colorado Classic and Run at the Rose offers competitors the chance to spend a week in beautiful Colorado hitting two events with great added money in the same location. Now that is a bang for your buck.

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