Barrel Racers spend Thanksgiving at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center for the 16th Annual Fiddler’s Turkey Run

The16th Annual Fiddler’s Turkey Run Barrel Event, located at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center for the last 13 years, was an adrenaline-charged epicenter of professional barrel racing over the Thanksgiving holiday vacation. Hosting more than 1500 horses and riders from the United States and Canada, all made the trip to Florida seeking their share of more than $80,000 in prize money offered during the event.
Sabra O’Quinn, who is ranked fifth in the world on the women’s barrel racing standings, is also the show organizer for the Fiddler’s Turkey Run: “A lot of big names show up, including barrel racers with the Women’s Pro Rodeo Association. The top twelve in the southeast were all there.”
Among this year’s top finishers were 1D winners (15.186 seconds) Ashtin Locke and Speed Dialin; 2D winners (15.697) Beth Langston and Bogy; 3D winners Deena Lowery on Larks Frosted Bar (16.186); and 4D winners DeAnna Crisafulli and Streakinfortheladies (17.205). Cindy Patrick had the show’s top two fastest Future Fortunes times: 15.062 on Dashin Chicado, and 15.133 on Flit Ta Heaven.
“Jacksonville does a great job giving us a good arena,” said O’Quinn, who says the barrel racing show has been held in Florida for 16 years, but it wasn’t until Jacksonville that its barrel racers found the perfect home.
“The best run show on the East Coast, and great grounds,” added barrel racer and Turkey Run competitor Kris Eisenhut, of KAE Barrel Horses, and founder of The Greg Olson Barrel Race and Futurity.
“Barrel racing keeps growing in popularity. We’ve outgrown all our other venues. As long as the Equestrian Center keeps making improvements we’ll keep coming back,” O’Quinn said, adding how her show office team has helped in that success. “I have a great team and I’m grateful that we can work ‘as one.’” When that happens, things run like a well-greased wheel (or good barrel horse).
The JEC Fiddler’s Turkey Run has evolved into three days of classes and prizes thanks to sponsors including Equine Medical of Ocala, Future Fortunes, Horse Logic Professional, OE Medical Hospital and Triple Crown Feed. “We are always grateful,” she says. “We know we couldn’t have a show without sponsors.”
Perhaps barrel racer Linda Jett Mosley put it best: “I didn’t win any checks and didn’t even make a clean run, except in exhibition, but I still had a great weekend doing what I love. Winning is a lot of fun but the learning is so important. I’m thankful for what I learned, and I’m gonna regroup, rethink and redo my tuning and be more prepared for the next barrel race!”
Next on the calendar of events for the Jacksonville Equestrian Center (where spectator parking and admission are free) is Dressage on the First Coast, December 1-2; USDAA Pals & Paws Dog Agility Trial, December 7-9; and Jacksonville All Breed Horse Show, December 8.
Florida’s Jacksonville Equestrian Center is a favorite among horse lovers and professionals of all breeds and disciplines. Learn more about JEC and how your event or vendor booth can become part of its 2019 calendar at www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call (904) 255-4254.

So much action to be had at the Fiddler’s Turkey Run. (Photo courtesy of SDPhotography)