Author Topic: Barrel Racers?  (Read 2296 times)  

Offline Stagewalker

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Barrel Racers?
« on: February 12, 2018, 02:46:12 PM »
How many of you know what a barrel racer is? Around here, (Central Florida) I can describe a character as a "barrel racer" and almost instantly everyone knows that the person is 97% likely to be female and in her teens or twenties. She is an equestrian and was probably brought up in a ranching family. Does this translate to anyone other than in the rural US? Can I use it in a description of a novel?

FWIW... a female equestrian from a wealthier family would be more likely to get into dressage or jumpers.

For those of you who don't know what barrel racing is, the typical description is "Pretty women on fast horses, what's not to like?"

Thank you.

Bob Cherny


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Offline ShayneRutherford

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2018, 02:56:27 PM »
I live in Ontario, Canada, and I definitely know what barrel racing is.
     

Offline Becca Mills

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2018, 02:58:08 PM »
I would get it, but I grew up with horses (not the rural/rodeo scene, but I'm at least vaguely family with most equestrian sports). I'm not sure how much detail "barrel racer" would carry for most U.S. readers, much less for others around the world. I think I'd find a way to include a slug of info about the character, rather relying on the one term to carry everything.

Offline Stagewalker

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2018, 03:16:00 PM »
Becca, That's what I was afraid of. I used the term on a local merchant and he instantly got it.

Thanks!

Bob


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Online Sam Kates

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2018, 03:18:58 PM »
UK here - I'd see that term and picture a bloke sitting in a wooden barrel floating down a river, a little like in the Hobbit films.
    
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Offline gilesxbecker

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2018, 03:31:35 PM »
I think most Americans get it. How is your story going? I started something on barrel racers once but I got bogged down in the competition levels, AQHA versus jackpot, points etc. etc.

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Offline hjordisa

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2018, 03:34:00 PM »
CO, some horses, ranchers, and equestrians around growing up, but it was never much my thing. I got it once I knew we were talking about horses, but was drawing a blank just from the words.

Offline TonyU

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2018, 03:38:58 PM »
I've never been around horses (I thought a pony was a young horse when I was in high school), never attended a riding competition, etc. but I know what a barrel racer is.

Offline D A Bale

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2018, 03:53:58 PM »
Same - I know what it is but never been around it.

Offline Jena H

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2018, 04:25:51 PM »
Like others, I don't have any direct experience with rodeos, but I've heard enough about them to know what a barrel racer is.  I've seen it on TV a number of times over the years.  (I'm in the US, FWIW... east coast.)
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Offline abgwriter

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2018, 04:29:41 PM »
I read about it in a book and that's why I know, but otherwise, I would have to google it (I live in Miami, BTW)
 

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Offline Monique

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2018, 05:25:17 PM »
I watch Heartland; I know what it is. :) I'm sure in context, it will be pretty clear.

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Offline LovingLife139

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2018, 06:19:21 PM »
I live in the suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio, and I grew up on the back of a horse (anywhere in Ohio is usually thirty minutes or less away from farmland, ha). I definitely know what a barrel racer is because I was one. My father has even been an invited participant of Quarter Horse Congress a few times in the past, though that's held farther up north. I don't ride horses anymore, but whenever I mention being a barrel racer in the past people generally know what it is. If the term doesn't ring a bell, explaining what barrel racers do definitely does (perhaps an idea for your novel?).

Now, the term "pole bender" definitely doesn't ring as many bells, and when I tell people I used to run flag races as well they have no idea what I'm talking about. But barrel racing is definitely one of the most recognized forms of Western horse sports.

Good luck with your novel!  :D

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Offline weeble

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2018, 07:04:53 PM »
I'm from the hunter/jumper world but definitely know what a barrel racer is...

Offline kw3000

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2018, 07:17:34 PM »
Rural Canadians will definitely know what that is, and especially in the west.

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Offline Annie B

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2018, 07:40:06 PM »
I know what it is but that's because I used to do it in my 4-H competitions (despite being mainly a 3 day eventer/show jumper).  I think anyone familiar with horses in the USA will...

Offline JulianneQJohnson

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2018, 07:48:25 PM »
I'm in Indiana.  If you used the term 'barrel racer' I would think you meant a horse that does barrel racing.  I would have no idea what that term meant if applied to a person.


Offline Jeff Tanyard

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2018, 08:06:10 PM »
Nope.  Never grew up around horses or around anyone who owned horses, so I'm not familiar with the lingo.  I've probably heard the term before, but I couldn't tell you what it means.
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Offline cathywalker

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2018, 08:24:05 PM »
I live in Ontario, Canada and definitely know what you mean when you say barrel racer. It's a common and understood term around here.

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #19 on: February 12, 2018, 08:25:00 PM »
UK here - I'd see that term and picture a bloke sitting in a wooden barrel floating down a river, a little like in the Hobbit films.
LOL I did have that image flash before my eyes, but with horses thrown in the mix, I immediately got the image of horses racing around barrels and shaving it really close in heart panic inducing moments to get fast times. US here, and I've ridden a horse before and seen some rodeo stuff and know what dressage is.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2018, 08:29:08 PM by C. Gold »

Offline JRTomlin

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #20 on: February 12, 2018, 08:34:47 PM »
I suggest putting it in some kind of context and not just throwing it out there. I can't say I got the right picture although I knew it had to do with horses.

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Offline azebra

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #21 on: February 12, 2018, 08:42:51 PM »
It's foreign to me. I thought maybe it was one of those people who got in a barrel and jumped over a waterfall. We'd call them part of the pony club set.


Offline IWFerguson

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #22 on: February 12, 2018, 11:43:48 PM »
I immediately thought of hobbits. The book couldn't have known, but the extreme (and extremely silly) emphasis put on the scene by the movie made me think they were pre-marketing an upcoming video game. Which stuck the "racing" idea into my head, even though the term from the book was "barrel-rider" not barrel racer. My cousin rides horses and she jumps wooden hurdles (not sure what they're called), and that's about the extent of what I know about it.
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Offline Lydniz

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #23 on: February 13, 2018, 12:58:38 AM »
I'm in the UK and my first mental image was of Niagara Falls.

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #24 on: February 13, 2018, 03:09:10 AM »
I'm in the UK, and have never heard the expression before.

I thought it sounded like two things -

1. People getting into a barrel and racing down a hill.

2. A term for seeing who can be fastest to 'scrape the barrel'.

Thanks for the explanation, though!

Offline Marty South

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #25 on: February 13, 2018, 03:36:01 AM »
I'm in the UK and my first mental image was of Niagara Falls.

I'm in the US, and that was my first thought, too. (Although I did grow up near the falls, so that might factor in.) I would not have known it had to do with horses.

Offline Jena H

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #26 on: February 13, 2018, 04:52:51 AM »
Yeah, I agree with others...  a simple line or two of general context should give readers an idea of what barrel racing is.  Of course, I'm assuming that if the term is important enough that its inclusion is deemed necessary, the context will already be in the story, like if some scene(s) take place at a rodeo, or one is being discussed.  If the term barrel racing is NOT that important or integral to the story (i.e., you're just using the term as a description of something completely unrelated) then I'd use a different description.
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Offline Stagewalker

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #27 on: February 13, 2018, 01:52:10 PM »
Colleagues,

Thank you for your thoughts. The context is well established in the story, but I was hoping to use the term in the short blurb to market the book. Based on your comments, that is not as good an idea as it at first seemed.

I just think referring to her as an "equestrian" does not adequately establish that she is a "Florida Cracker" cowgirl and not a wealthy "horsy set" amateur. Still looking for the right word...

Thanks again.

Bob


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Offline Monique

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #28 on: February 13, 2018, 01:58:54 PM »
I like Florida Cracker even though I don't know what it is. I suppose someone will think it's racist. eta: I looked it up, so this is historical?

Anyway, maybe something like "She was a Florida Cracker/barrel racer, a cowgirl more comfortable in a barn than a ball." If you can afford to give that sort of context in the blurb, it will work.

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Offline JRTomlin

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #29 on: February 13, 2018, 02:03:41 PM »
I like Florida Cracker even though I don't know what it is. I suppose someone will think it's racist. eta: I looked it up, so this is historical?

Anyway, maybe something like "She was a Florida Cracker/barrel racer, a cowgirl more comfortable in a barn than a ball." If you can afford to give that sort of context in the blurb, it will work.
"Cracker" isn't racist but it is a pejorative, insulting, elitist term for poor whites in the South. I would strongly suggest not using that term.

Like many insulting terms, it is sometime used self-descriptively with pride. However, that doesn't make it a good idea for someone else to use it and assume they won't cause offense, especially since outside Florida and Georgia I don't think it's ever (or at least not frequently) used that way.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2018, 03:27:28 PM by JRTomlin »

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Offline rchapman1

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #30 on: February 13, 2018, 02:08:06 PM »
I'm an Aussie - and yes, I know what a barrel racer is!  I'm sure you'd be using it in context anyway so that would define it.
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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #31 on: February 13, 2018, 02:45:21 PM »
I'm familiar with barrel racing...but clearly some aren't. How about "Rodeo girl?"

Please don't use cracker. Just...don't.

Offline Jena H

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #32 on: February 13, 2018, 03:33:38 PM »
I'm familiar with barrel racing...but clearly some aren't. How about "Rodeo girl?"

Please don't use cracker. Just...don't.

I had never heard the term "Florida cracker" before, and yes, unless context is absolutely clear, one might easily jump to an incorrect connection to the unpleasant definition of the word.  It's easy enough to google the term (as I did) to find out what it is, but if someone doesn't already know or 'get' the term, they're really not going to bother looking it up to see what it does mean.  Bottom line:  you might either turn off or confuse a lot of potential readers.  Sounds like it's a state-specific term.


Also, from my five whole minutes of looking up the term, I don't know what the "modern" version of Florida Cracker (as found on Wikipedia) has to do with barrel racing or any other rodeo/horse activity.    ???
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Offline cathywalker

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #33 on: February 13, 2018, 03:49:12 PM »
You could always call her a "Starfisher"   ;D

Just kidding. You don't want to do that, though it is a recognized term for many barrel racers and if you want to know why just google some images of barrel racers.

Good luck figuring out the proper term.

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #34 on: February 13, 2018, 03:52:01 PM »
Also, from my five whole minutes of looking up the term, I don't know what the "modern" version of Florida Cracker (as found on Wikipedia) has to do with barrel racing or any other rodeo/horse activity.    ???

They were cowboys. A different kind of cowboy than the western type, but cowboys nonetheless - hence horse activity.
It was a pejorative that was taken as a badge of pride (like Yankee for example) although in modern times it has become negative again in some areas.
I am sure there are many proud crackers who are also proud members of DAR.
It signifies a settler rather than an immigrant; somebody who worked the land and created something from nothing.

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #35 on: February 13, 2018, 04:02:41 PM »
I live in Monterey County, home to the Salinas Rodeo, which is the biggest rodeo on the west coast. I've seen plenty of barrel racing. Pretty cool event, actually. Some amazing riding. A few girls in my church compete in it at the junior level.

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Offline Jena H

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #36 on: February 13, 2018, 04:20:26 PM »
They were cowboys. A different kind of cowboy than the western type, but cowboys nonetheless - hence horse activity.
It was a pejorative that was taken as a badge of pride (like Yankee for example) although in modern times it has become negative again in some areas.
I am sure there are many proud crackers who are also proud members of DAR.
It signifies a settler rather than an immigrant; somebody who worked the land and created something from nothing.

I had the impression that the OP's book is contemporary (although I don't know for sure).  My five minutes' investigation tells me that the term "Florida cracker" has a contemporary meaning that is quite different from the historical one.
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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #37 on: February 13, 2018, 07:20:38 PM »
I had the impression that the OP's book is contemporary (although I don't know for sure).  My five minutes' investigation tells me that the term "Florida cracker" has a contemporary meaning that is quite different from the historical one.
Would you believe Urban Dictionary?
https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Florida%20Cracker
They even have their own horse breed:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_Cracker_Horse

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #38 on: February 13, 2018, 07:30:01 PM »
I did some barrel racing when I was VERY young.

I haven't kept up with the sport at all and didn't realize the competitions are mostly female.

I think you may be right about not describing her as an "equestrian." Although technically correct, the connotations are wrong.




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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #39 on: February 13, 2018, 07:58:36 PM »
I've never been around horses (I thought a pony was a young horse when I was in high school), never attended a riding competition, etc. but I know what a barrel racer is.

I would just like to say that I thought the same thing. I did not learn differently about ponies for many decades.

Offline Jena H

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #40 on: February 13, 2018, 07:59:52 PM »
Would you believe Urban Dictionary?
https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Florida%20Cracker
They even have their own horse breed:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_Cracker_Horse

Yes, I agree.  The UD definition confirms that current usage of the term has little relevance to horses, only mentioning them once in a casual example.  As for Wikipedia, I looked up "Florida Cracker" (sans the word horse) and that page gives an Historic as well as a Modern usage of the term.  The modern usage doesn't even mention horses.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_cracker
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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #41 on: February 14, 2018, 11:39:36 AM »
Yes, I agree.  The UD definition confirms that current usage of the term has little relevance to horses, only mentioning them once in a casual example.  As for Wikipedia, I looked up "Florida Cracker" (sans the word horse) and that page gives an Historic as well as a Modern usage of the term.  The modern usage doesn't even mention horses.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_cracker

Well, the OP said:
SNIP I just think referring to her as an "equestrian" does not adequately establish that she is a "Florida Cracker" cowgirl and not a wealthy "horsy set" amateur. SNIP
That is to say, she's a cowgirl, not an eventer.
So, if you look at Cowgirl Magazine:
https://cowgirlmagazine.com/great-florida-cattle-drive/
You'll find any number of Florida Cracker Cowgirls. In fact the women outnumbered the men in the cattle drive of 2017.
So yes, Florida Cracker Cowgirl is most definitely a modern usage (whether you admit it or not). It is hardly their fault nor mine that others have put the term to a nasty and pejorative use. :)

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #42 on: February 14, 2018, 12:54:24 PM »
Never heard of that. However, I can bet that my female friends into horses have heard that term.

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Offline Jena H

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #43 on: February 14, 2018, 04:36:38 PM »
Never heard of that. However, I can bet that my female friends into horses have heard that term.

Maybe not, if they don't live in Florida.   ;)
Jena

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #44 on: February 14, 2018, 05:10:01 PM »
Well, the OP said:That is to say, she's a cowgirl, not an eventer.
So, if you look at Cowgirl Magazine:
https://cowgirlmagazine.com/great-florida-cattle-drive/
You'll find any number of Florida Cracker Cowgirls. In fact the women outnumbered the men in the cattle drive of 2017.
So yes, Florida Cracker Cowgirl is most definitely a modern usage (whether you admit it or not). It is hardly their fault nor mine that others have put the term to a nasty and pejorative use. :)

No, it's not your fault but it is still true that in much of the South 'cracker' is a pejorative, therefore I'd suggest not using it in a blurb. It isn't as though the blurb is likely to be read only by people acquainted with a non-pejorative use or that it can put it in context. I could see using it in the novel itself where it would be in context, but the blurb is a different case.

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Offline Stagewalker

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #45 on: February 14, 2018, 05:18:34 PM »
I think I may have misled some of you. The term "Florida Cracker" does have ambiguous connotations even here in Florida. I would not use it in the book's description for the reasons mentioned. However, in the sequel when they are driving a herd of sick dragons as if they were cattle, they marvel at the incongruity of a family of "Florida Crackers" driving the dragon down a road in Northen Canada.

I am familiar with the term "Starfisher" but I think that it is even less well known than "barrel racer".

The book is contemporary. In fact, it is set in in 2015 "someplace in Central Florida".

I may use the term "Junior Rodeo Competitor" which would be appropriate for her age and disposition. "Junior Rodeo" would set her apart from the rich girl horsey set.

Thank you all for your thoughts.

Bob


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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #46 on: February 15, 2018, 03:22:44 PM »
No, it's not your fault but it is still true that in much of the South 'cracker' is a pejorative, therefore I'd suggest not using it in a blurb. It isn't as though the blurb is likely to be read only by people acquainted with a non-pejorative use or that it can put it in context. I could see using it in the novel itself where it would be in context, but the blurb is a different case.
Now that I will concede.

Offline David Brian

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #47 on: February 15, 2018, 04:21:37 PM »
UK here - I'd see that term and picture a bloke sitting in a wooden barrel floating down a river, a little like in the Hobbit films.

Same. :D

ETA. And we used to own horses.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2018, 04:23:36 PM by David Brian »


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Offline gilesxbecker

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #48 on: February 15, 2018, 05:34:44 PM »
I think I may have misled some of you. The term "Florida Cracker" does have ambiguous connotations even here in Florida. I would not use it in the book's description for the reasons mentioned. However, in the sequel when they are driving a herd of sick dragons as if they were cattle, they marvel at the incongruity of a family of "Florida Crackers" driving the dragon down a road in Northen Canada.

I am familiar with the term "Starfisher" but I think that it is even less well known than "barrel racer".

The book is contemporary. In fact, it is set in in 2015 "someplace in Central Florida".

I may use the term "Junior Rodeo Competitor" which would be appropriate for her age and disposition. "Junior Rodeo" would set her apart from the rich girl horsey set.



Thank you all for your thoughts.

Bob

Yes, I would just say she is a country girl who rides rodeo "fast as a comet" or something like that. Agree to avoid cracker and barrel racer. Barrel racing started (I think) in the 'Fifties or earlier when women were forbidden to ride bulls or broncs. There were several deaths, if I remember correctly.  So they set up barrel racing in the three-barrel configuration for women only, also pole-bending (set of about eight poles in a line to be run in-and-out). In your blurb phrases like "a will to win", and "a love of speed" and "fierce competition" might liven it up.   

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Offline gilesxbecker

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #49 on: February 15, 2018, 05:36:19 PM »
I meant several deaths when women were allowed to ride bulls and broncs.

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Offline Vinny OHare

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #50 on: February 16, 2018, 11:57:08 AM »
I go to barrel races every weekend. Kind of my hobby to get away from the keyboard.

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #51 on: February 16, 2018, 02:04:46 PM »
Who is your audience?

If you think your audience is everyone who reads, you are mistaken. The Brits don't understand barrel racing, and no amount of explanation will get them to care. It is rodeo, and Brits don't rodeo. (Brazilians do, but they stick to PBR and bronc riding.) You cannot make barrel racing comprehensible to Brits without a massive info dump, and that will kill forward movement of the plot dead, dead, dead. Info dump is a DQ. You knocked the barrel over.

Your audience is the people who see 'Barrel Racer' and get images of a five-foot-nothing cowgirl exploding out of the gate on an eighteen-hand Appaloosa who has to wait half a minute after she crosses the wire to hear her time 'cause all three barrels are still spinning. All the explanation is in those two words, and that's all they need.

Offline horst5

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #52 on: February 17, 2018, 08:55:30 AM »
Never heard of it.
I might relate the term to beer drinking competitions.
And, if teenage girls run in, or around barrels ?  Why?
Where on earth does a horse enter the picture?
You have me confused.

Offline Jena H

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #53 on: February 17, 2018, 09:05:31 AM »
Never heard of it.
I might relate the term to beer drinking competitions.
And, if teenage girls run in, or around barrels ?  Why?
Where on earth does a horse enter the picture?
You have me confused.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barrel_racing
Jena

Offline Andie

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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #54 on: February 17, 2018, 03:40:47 PM »
I think your target audience will know what barrel racing is.


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Re: Barrel Racers?
« Reply #55 on: February 18, 2018, 03:41:14 AM »
Who is your audience?

If you think your audience is everyone who reads, you are mistaken. The Brits don't understand barrel racing, and no amount of explanation will get them to care. It is rodeo, and Brits don't rodeo. (Brazilians do, but they stick to PBR and bronc riding.) You cannot make barrel racing comprehensible to Brits without a massive info dump, and that will kill forward movement of the plot dead, dead, dead. Info dump is a DQ. You knocked the barrel over.

Your audience is the people who see 'Barrel Racer' and get images of a five-foot-nothing cowgirl exploding out of the gate on an eighteen-hand Appaloosa who has to wait half a minute after she crosses the wire to hear her time 'cause all three barrels are still spinning. All the explanation is in those two words, and that's all they need.


Yup - this was my first thought too. If you are aiming at selling to the rodeo/horse set of readers you can be sure that they'll know what a barrel racer is. They're your market.

As for me, yup, I know what a barrel racer is - but I also know that a lot of the young millennial types who are sitting at work in my lunch room politely chatting about quinoa and avocado toast, wouldn't know a barrel racer if she galloped across their man bun!!!