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High-stakes race

Sulphur Rock woman wins title at AQHA World Championship

By Lisa Burnett

This article was published December 15, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.


Brenda Jackson of Sulphur Springs received the Reserve World Champion title in the Amateur Stake Race for her second-place showing at the American Quarter Horse World Championship Show in Oklahoma City in November.

When the American Quarter Horse Association added the Amateur Stake Race to classes in the association’s world championship show in 2012, Brenda Jackson of Sulphur Rock knew what she wanted to do.

Her daughter had competed in the class at the youth level, but Jackson had kept her horse practicing the style of racing.

“I kept her horse tuned up, and I kept thinking to myself, ‘This would be a fun class to ride in,’” Jackson said.

The stake race is a timed competition consisting of markers set on either side of a center line. Contestants are given a running start to complete a figure-eight pattern, and they must cross the center line between upright markers and head to either the right or left of the first pole.

They must then make a 180-degree turn, head to the second pole, turn around in the opposite direction and head to the center line to stop the clock, according to the American Quarter Horse Association’s website.

Jackson received the Reserve World Champion Title in the Amateur Stake Race for her second-place showing at the American Quarter Horse World Championship Show in Oklahoma City in November.

“When you get to the finals, it’s a combination [of times],” Jackson said. “You have a preliminary competition, and the top 15 competitors [from the preliminary] go to the finals.”

Stake-race times from the preliminary and final competition are combined to determine a world-title winner.

“In the prelims, I ran an 8.65, and I came back in fifth place,” she said. “In the finals, I ran a 7.995.”

Her combined time was 16.645 seconds, putting her in second place just behind JanAnn Harmon of Danville, who had a combined time of 16.633 seconds and won the World Champion Title in the Amateur Stake Race.

Along with her new title, Jackson received a belt buckle, a trophy, a leather jacket, a horse blanket, a check and a silver medallion.

Jackson grew up around horses and did some horse shows when she was younger, she said. She clinched the

Reserve World Champion Title in Amateur Pole Bending in 1990.

“I’ve been doing it for a while,” she said.

Though she’s been competing in horse shows most of her life, Jackson said stake racing is a lot of fun.

“I love the speed of it,” she said. “It’s just a fun class. It doesn’t take long, but you’ve got to get out there and get it done.”

Jackson has already qualified to compete in the American Quarter Horse Association World Show next year.

“Each class has a certain number of points you have to get before you can show in that class,” she said. “You have a time period that you’ve got to get the points, and when that deadline hits, if you start showing after that deadline, you’re qualifying for the next year.”

Sometimes, Jackson’s actively competitive lifestyle takes people by surprise, she said.

“People will ask me, ‘You mean you’re still riding?’” she said. “I’m not dead yet. I enjoy it, and I don’t see any need to retire.”

Staff writer Lisa Burnett can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or

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