The Duncan Banner

Features

October 27, 2013

Barrel racing keeps her young

June Holeman wins again

DUNCAN — Hard work and determination to keep going has defined June Holeman. She never set out to be an inspiration to younger women who share her passion for barrel racing. It just happened.

At 70 years old, she still lifts her own hay bales, grooms her horses and she still gets in the saddle. Well, she does more than just get in the saddle. Holeman is still winning races — against girls young enough to be her granddaughters.

Rodeo fans who attended the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Rodeo Finals that was held Oct. 17-19, saw June in action as she raced her way to a win on the second night with a 16.03. On the first night, she raced a 16.46. On the third night, she again raised a loud roar from the crowd as they cheered her on. That was enough to land her an overall award of finals champ.

“I can’t believe it. My husband can’t believe it either, until he sees the buckle,” she said after. Her smile and the bounce in her step spoke volumes.

“My fans are keeping me going. I do have some arthritis and plenty of colts at home to take care of. I should sell some of them,” she said during an interview earlier that day. Holeman travels the roads alone, competing in about 60 races a year. Her husband, Donnell, watches over things at their ranch in Nebraska. He used to calf rope, but doesn’t compete any longer.

After getting kicked by a horse in 2006, June almost had to give up competing. That ranch woman determination spurred her back into the races. She was on the road competing when she was kicked and ended up with a severe life-threatening infection. She spent some time in the Houston hospital. June said her husband does worry about her and she follows his advice.

“I can’t hardly saddle anymore, but my husband says, ‘do your own chores.’”

One might think that she’d cheat being on the road when it comes to the work, but her counterparts said she won’t accept help.

“She’s flat out tough, she does everything,” said Emily Miller, 21, who was in the top 12 for this year’s Prairie Circuit finals, alongside June. Emily laughed and said that they’ve asked her many times if she’d let them help and they just wouldn’t tell. She refuses.

“She loves challenging herself.”

Jessie Eagleberger, 23, also admires June.

“She’s inspiring, being the age she is. She does it by herself, she drives and does everything alone. That’s even hard for someone our age. She’s independent,” Eagleberger said. “To be that competitive, to have that mentality is amazing.”

June began riding horses as a child and eventually that evolved into competing. She started school when she was 4 and therefore, graduated a year early at age 16. Both her parents ranched and taught school, but the schooling wasn’t something June wanted to do. Yet, she’s learned a wealth of lessons being a competitive barrel racer and now the younger generation admit they have a lot to learn from the older racers like Holeman, Florence Youree and the late Mildred Farris, who died earlier this year.

Carol Chesher, a Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) member for 8 years, is a little bit older than Miller and Eagleberger. She, too, has great admiration for Holeman.

“The fact she has the tenacity and finds a way to make it work. It’s about you and your horse working as a team. It’s about getting out there and rodeoing her horse, training,” Chesher said. “These young ones realize they have a support system.”

In 2005, Holeman rode into the National Finals Rodeo with the oldest competitor title and still holds that reign. As much as she loves that memory, the smaller rodeos are just as important. She only joined WPRA as a cardholder in 1994 and recently earned her gold card. She’s competed in Duncan at the Stephens County Fair & Expo Center before, for the Chisholm Trail Stampede Rodeo and was glad to return this year.

“I just barely placed at Hastings, Neb., to get qualified,” she said. “I love Duncan. It’s a nice size town and has everything. The arena has a wonderful ground, too.”

Does she have plans to ‘retire’ anytime soon?

She almost sold her “winning” horse, Hopes Money Boy, a which is “16-2 hands” she said, and bigger than her longtime companion, Sparky. She’s hoping the new horse will help her earn the money for a new trailer, which she said is something she desperately needs.

Retirement isn’t something June even wants to consider.

“This is my way of life. It’s what I work at but it’s getting harder with my arthritis and my left shoulder out. I’m just going to hang on and shut up. I’m on for the ride.”

1
Text Only
Features
  • Sharknado.jpg Sharknado 2 set to attack viewers tonight

    In the face of another "Sharknado" TV movie (the even-more-inane "Sharknado 2: The Second One," premiering Wednesday night on Syfy), there isn't much for a critic to say except to echo what the characters themselves so frequently scream when confronted by a great white shark spinning toward them in a funnel cloud:
    "LOOK OUT!!"

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research

    Opponents of marijuana legalization are rapidly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Simply put, the public understands that however you measure the consequences of marijuana use, the drug is significantly less harmful to users and society than tobacco or alcohol.

    July 30, 2014

  • CATS-DOGS281.jpg Where cats are more popular than dogs in the U.S.-and all over the world

    We all know there are only two types of people in the world: cat people and dog people. But data from market research firm Euromonitor suggest that these differences extend beyond individual preferences and to the realm of geopolitics: it turns out there are cat countries and dog countries, too.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fast food comes to standstill in China

    The shortage of meat is the result of China's latest food scandal, in which a Shanghai supplier allegedly tackled the problem of expired meat by putting it in new packaging and shipping it to fast-food restaurants around the country

    July 28, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 2.21.22 PM.png VIDEO: Dog 'faints' from excitement of seeing owner

    A reunion between a Pennsylvania woman who had been living overseas for two years and her pet schnauzer has gone viral, garnering nearly 20 million views on YouTube.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Darth Vader is polling higher than all potential 2016 presidential candidates

    This week FiveThirtyEight released the results of a poll of Americans' opinions on the "Star Wars" universe. Not surprisingly, Jar Jar Binks is the most reviled character in the series. As Walt Hickey notes, the Gungan from Naboo posted lower favorability numbers than Emperor Palpatine, "the actual personification of evil in the galaxy."

    July 23, 2014

  • Almost half of America's obese youth don't know they're obese

    The good news is that after decades of furious growth, obesity rates finally seem to be leveling off in the U.S.. The bad news is that America's youth still appear to be dangerously unaware of the problem.

    July 23, 2014

  • mama.jpg What we get wrong about millennials living at home

    If the media is to be believed, America is facing a major crisis. "Kids," some age 25, 26, or even 30 years old, are living out of their childhood bedrooms and basements at alarmingly high numbers. The hand-wringing overlooks one problem: It's all overblown.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jimm's Egg Daybreak Diner Vs. Jimmy's Egg: Who takes home the bacon?

    Is Duncan big enough for two breakfast joints?

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • Your chocolate addiction is only going to get more expensive

    For nearly two years, cocoa prices have been on the rise. Finally, that's affecting the price you pay for a bar of chocolate - and there's reason to believe it's only the beginning.

    July 18, 2014

Poll

Should the date for The World's Largest Garage Sale be changed from the third weekend in July to sometime in October to take advantage of cooler weather like we had this past weekend?

No. It's better in the summer cause kids are out of school.
Yes. More shoppers would come during nice fall weather.
Either time is fine.

     View Results
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.