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World Championship Advice from a Treasured NBHA Member

We love emails from our members. We love seeing your horses, watching you chase your goals and best of all, watching you cheer each other on. The letter below came from a NBHA member this week. The message is strong and inspiring, so we just had to share. Take joy in the journey! The NBHA Team.


July, 2022

As I’m getting ready to travel to Perry GA at the end of the month to watch my niece Cora Gassner compete in her very first NBHA Youth World Championships, it occurred to me that none if these contestants were even born when the NBHA was created in 1992. This is the 30th year anniversary of the NBHA, and I am extremely proud to have been there from the very beginning.

October 1991, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and because there were no treatments available for MS, my future looked dark. I was told that I would never continue my hobby of barrel racing and that I would eventually spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair. In February 1992 I was attending a banquet for our local club, Central Wisconsin Ropers and Barrel Racers Association and that’s when Rob Blohowiak introduced us to this new organization called the National Barrel Horse Association. The idea of a 3D format was going to revolutionize the sport of barrel racing by giving all levels of riders a chance to compete and win! It was an amazing concept- but to me personally- It gave me HOPE! It gave me something to look forward to and gave me a reason to keep fighting and to keep competing! Because of the NBHA, I never gave up barrel racing!

I was the WI State Director from 1994 to 1999 because I wanted to do my part to promote and support the NBHA and wanted to do my part to make it a success in Wisconsin! Then, I’m proud to say that with my incredible horse DL Nernie, I became a WI lD State Champion in 2002. That same year was the 10-year anniversary of the NBHA and to celebrate, they were asking for nominations for members of the year, family of the year and promoter of the year. Due to a nomination from my friend and travel partner, Margaret, I was honored to be named the 2002 NBHA Person of the year. It was a special moment to share this recognition with the Yoder Family for the Family of the Year and Kenneth Springer, the Promotor of the Year!

I was fortunate to win a second WI State lD title with DL Nernie again in 2006! Once was a dream come true, but twice was and an incredible thrill!! Having 2 state championship titles will be something I will cherish my entire life! Nernie was a huge part of exceeding my dreams and expectations and the NBHA continues to give members the same format to dream, work hard and accomplish!

Now here we are 30 years later, and I am so proud to watch my niece compete in her very first World Championships! It was a joy to watch her compete and to achieve her goals in her very first year as a NBHA member. I am looking forward to attending and watching the Youth World Championships – these competitors are the future of barrel racing, and it fills my heart to still see the NBHA and the D formats fulfilling so many dreams!

My advice to my niece and all the competitors:

Enjoy the journey. Enjoy the ups as well as the downs. Enjoy every challenge and use it to learn and grow! Any defeats will make the next victory that much sweeter! Most importantly, cherish the friends and people you meet along the way – trust me, they become memories to last a lifetime. Take time to thank all the people who make these shows possible for us and ALWAYS appreciate, love, and HUG your horse every day! It takes a team to become successful and these horses are only ours for a short time. 30 years goes faster than you think. God Bless All.”

Be safe and HAVE FUN!!!
Laura (Van Camp) Kimball
WIOl Member #2622