2/26/2014 5:25:39 PM
70-Year Old Arcadia Barrel Racer Competing For $1 Million

By Brandon Peoples

A chance-in-a-lifetime journey that began in Arcadia, Neb. will take one local rodeo competitor to Arlington, Texas this weekend with $1 million on the line.


June Holeman of Arcadia will compete this Sunday against some of the top barrel racers in the world for a chance at $1 million at RFD-TV's The American Rodeo at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys. The American takes place March 2 and will be broadcast live on RFD-TV at 2 p.m.

Holeman is a notable competitor, primarily because of her age. She became the oldest competitor at the National Finals Rodeo in 2005. Now at age 70, Holeman continues to shine on the rodeo circuit. She intends to continue competing until she can't do it anymore. Holeman says her body feels very good this year and she's gotten rid of some ailments.

"I enjoy competing, it's just harder on this particular horse. He's so big and strong and has some bad quirks. I've found a few things to kind of help me this year. I'm walking better than I used to and got rid of a back problem I had so really I'm feeling pretty good this year," said Holeman.

The road to the American was not an easy one for Holeman. The horse she is riding is one she has raised. He is a 7-year old horse named Holt's Money Boy. She explains that he is the strongest horse she's been on.

"Because he's what they call a weaver, he's super strong because he does the elephant weave all the time. He's a freak. There aren't many of them, but they are not only super strong but also super smart when they aren't going berzerk," said Holeman. "They have to have a buddy with them all the time. I had somebody tie his girlfriend the other day so now all I've got is a pony and he finally started to bond with it. Yesterday was not a good day for him."

With the world looking on this Sunday as she competes on the biggest stage, Holeman says the journey has been a dream come true. She wasn't sure how things would turn out, but so far so good. 

"It's still a dream really. My daughter insisted that I try for it so she paid half of the original entry fee which was at Lincoln and that worked out. I didn't dream this would work out at Mesquite. The horse did much better than I expected," said Holeman. "He threw a shoe the other day and was laying and but we've got his new shoes on him and he seems to be doing much better now."

Holeman qualified for The American by placing fourth in the top 10 at last weekend's semifinal in Mesquite, Texas with earnings of $7,365. The American consists of the top 10 barrel racers in the world free of entry fees as well as the 10 contestants that qualified through the qualifiers and semifinals and the exemption and exemption match winner. There will be two runs. All 21 competitors will have one run, with the top four after that run moving on to a shootout round that will determine the champion and reserve champion. The champion will win $100,000 and the reserve champion will win $25,000. In the case that the champion came from the "not" top-10, they will place themselves in a pot for the chance to win $1 million. Holeman says winning would be life changing for her family.

"It would probably change our lives. I drive this little rig and I'd probably have to get a new rig. My pickup has 290,000 miles on it and my trailer's got more and it would mean a change of lifestyle," said Holeman.

Holeman will compete Sunday at AT&T Stadium. The competition begins at 2 p.m. and will be broadcast live on the RFD-TV network (Channel 49 on Great Plains Cable TV).


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