By Janis Blackwell
This month, Equine Superstars and Everyday Heroes introduces you to JoAnn Hess. She is an avid barrel racer from Bonham, Texas. That characteristic alone doesn’t particularly make her unique but added to that fact she is 76-years-old and still going down the road hard does. Hess is one of a growing number of barrel racers who are returning to, or choosing to, continue their barrel racing careers far into what some might call “old age.”
Hess said she had heard all the negative comments and warnings about continuing her beloved sport at her age like how it was “too dangerous” or “who would take care of her if she got hurt” and all the rest. So, she decided “Well maybe they’re right. I could do some of the other things I find interesting.”
So she tried that for a while, and told me, “I hated it.” About that time, she read an article encouraging older people to try something they had always wanted to do and to stay active because it was so much healthier than the alternative. The article gave examples of people doing things more dangerous than barrel racing, so she decided to heck with what everybody else thought, and returned to barrel racing.