The fourth annual Trudy Freeman Memorial Race was underway on June 14-16 at the Socorro Rodeo and Sports Complex. A resident of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, Kelly Waide has put on the event for female riders from around the Southwest region to earn both cash and points in multiple barrel racing classes.
Trudy Freeman was a former member of the National Finals Rodeo and passed away before Kelly deciding to organize the all-women’s barrel race in her honor. The first event took place at the Belen Rodeo Grounds before moving to Socorro in 2017, an arena Trudy was never able to attend because it was still under construction during her untimely death.
“After my mom became really sick and was unable to race I decided to put together this event,” she said. “At the moment of her passing I knew I needed to honor her in some way which is how this all started.”
On top of the emotions involved with her mother’s memorial, Kelly was also mourning the death of her husband Corey Freeman. A sufferer of COPD, Corey went through several treatments for pneumonia and heart attack issues before passing away the day before the races took place.
“I just know that he would have wanted me to do this,” Waide said. “It wasn’t a good Wednesday or Thursday obviously, but I wanted to continue to honor my mother who just loved running barrels. So many of these girls you see out here raced with her and it’s important for this younger generation to experience the same joy of being on a saddle.”
With seven horses at home, one of which is a retired Turquoise Circuit competitor, Kelly continues to hit the saddle every day possible.
On the field more than 130 female riders raced around the multiple barrels set up by budding young rodeo enthusiasts in hopes of breaking the current Socorro track record of 16.7 seconds for women’s barrel racing, which still remains after the race.
Garrett Robinson traveled from Las Cruces and was out supporting his nine year old daughter Channing as she rode her horse ‘Easy’. They decided as a family to travel up to Socorro for the weekend event. The Robinson Farm stalls between 20-25 horses at a time throughout the year.
“She’s really into riding horses,” Robinson said. “It’s something that she wanted to do ever since she could walk. Our entire family rides as well so why not support her if she’s having fun. I know my daughter has been working very hard on her technique and I definitely expect a lot of good things from her out there today.”
The main event of Saturday’s race was the big money 5,000 dollar payout split amongst competitors from one to five D levels. A 500 dollar payout was given on Friday and Sunday depending on turnout.
Cheryl Murray and her horse Blazin’ Ruby Rocket were the overall event winners and received a commemorative saddle along with a 3,417 dollar cash hall. Murray's best time came in at 16.761. Jewel Baize and her horse Jolene came in second with a race of 17.282 and a cash hall of 870 dollars and a Buckle Trophy Cup award.