By: Emma Wheeler | WCTV Eyewitness News
July 17, 2018
VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- In South Georgia, a group of local girls are getting ready for their shot to become world champions.
This weekend is the National Barrel Horse Association Youth World Championships and five students from JustAmere Farms in Hahira are competing.
Barrel racing is a sport practiced all over the world. It's a dream for many, but for five Hahira riders, it'll soon be their reality.
"Being able to say that you went to the world championships is something not many people get to say," said racer Camryn Jones.
The riders spend countless hours tacking and training, all with the hopes of qualifying. Now, they'll compete against thousands from around the globe.
"It teaches them to be competitive but to also have an appreciation for the animal and the process," said Amanda Leverett Davis with JustAmere Farms. "As long as you did a little better than the last time you got on that horse, then I'm proud of them."
But, with a teammate on four hooves, racing isn't just a sport; it's a way of life.
"My mom wanted me to start because I've been legally blind since I was four or five," said racer Matisyn Weathers.
"Every one of them has a unique situation," Davis added. "And I think a lot of these girls are very shy, but if you ask them about their horse, they can talk all day.
"So, it has a very therapeutic element to the whole process," Davis continued.
Years of hard work and dedication for a chance to make lifelong memories.
"It really gets your adrenaline going and you can really feel the wind in your hair. You have to be able to bond with a horse to be able to put in that nice run, because if you and your horse don't get along it's not going to turn out as good as you want, there's always going to be that missing piece," Jones said.
"Barrel racing, the friends you make, the bond between you and the horse," said Avery Jones.
A chance to turn and burn (a barrel racing term) against the best of the best.
The NBHA Youth Worlds in Perry, Georgia begins Saturday. The JustAmere girls will be running Sunday and Monday.