Million +4

The Story Behind The Glory

Million Dollar Cowboy Pete Oen shares his journey as a first generation barrel racer starting against the odds and earning the million ‘the hard way'.

Pete Oen Pony

While your family was and is very supportive and instrumental to your success you and Stacy are not only 1st generation barrel racers but also really started from the ground up.

Ideally the quickest way to be successful in barrel racing is to purchase a horse that is successful and learn FROM the horse. When finances and opportunities do not allow for that luxury we learn WITH the horse.

Not coming from a horse family – how did you get started on the right track?

NRHA Hall of Famer Mike Flarida gets the credit for being my first mentor as well as for introducing me to the AQHA Congress. Mom was stay at home mom and also did babysitting for Mike Flarida. I clearly remember one afternoon Stacy called out “Mom there is a cowboy at the door”. Stacy had been wanting a horse and the door was open for her to work and learn from NRHA Hall of Famer Mr Mike Flarida.

Mike & Linda Invited us to the farm. (In Ohio we call them farms while in the south we call them ranches.)

Mike alerted mom and dad that if we were going to do well at the annual 4-H Show we would need to show more than once a year. My parents jumped in full force and became very involved in the 4-H program for quite a few years. My parents borrowed a truck and 2 horse trailer and hauled us around and were very active in the 4-H youth program.

We learned horsemanship, balance and posture from the pleasure riding which came in handy for the speed events that I preferred to compete in.

I learned about Congress when we used to go watch Mike show in the reining. And in turn we would watch the barrel racing.

Those people were my heros although I didn't even really know them.

I also learned just by watching and being around Troy Crumrine when I worked for him as a helper, cleaning stalls… It was not a riding position, but educational none the less.

We moved up from the borrowed truck and trailer to motor home and 2 horse bumper trailer and continued to compete locally until my parents got burnt out and sold everything except our tack.
In 8th grade I announced I wanted a horse again. We went to the local sale barn and got a palomino weanling gelding, still in the stall with the mother.

For my 16th birthday my dad set me up to hit the road. My dad can do about anything with steel and my grandpa is very handy with wood, so they bought a stock trailer with center gate and converted it into a 2 horse straight load with small living quarters and found me an ancient but loaded up dually. My mom questioned sending me out on my own and dad quickly responded “He’s got to start sometime.”

By now that weanling colt from the sale was riding nice and I was able to sell for a nice profit and move on to my next project 'Bodoc Salono'.

Bodoc Salono and I worked hard in the field behind the house with no turned up dirt. We killed the grass with our many trips through the pattern and just rode on a hard dirt path.

In 1995 Bodoc Salona and I earned the AQHA Congress Jr Poles Championship title and on 4/11/97 he contributed the first ‘deposit’ to my EquiStat earnings placing 4th in the 1D at the Turn N Burn Classic.

I was in High School at the time and I recall my friends discussing which college they would go to and I announced I was not going to college and that I was going to train horses for a living.

Pete Oen Bodoc Salona 1997 AQHA Congress
Pete Oen 2011 AQHA Congress

I had been working for the city part time while attending high school and secured a full time position right out of high school. I continued working for the city for about 3 years while training at night.

I was able to build an indoor arena to work out of and had a few boarders to help out with expenses.

I quit my full time job at 21 and started living my dream.

In 2011 my training career got the kick start I needed when I purchased Famous Blue Eyes and All Fame No Bull from Bo Hill.

I set a goal to earn $100,000 on those horses and they earned us $110,000.

The Million

I can honestly say I earned that million dollars the “hard way” as the big money slot races have eluded me to date. The largest single win check would be the $31,724.00 earned by Guys Dashing Jet at the Diamonds and Dirt Futurity in 2017. Ironically it was the Diamonds and Dirt Futurity that also pushed my earnings over the million with a check earned by Perks of Being Famous for $9,413 and SR Moonshine OnRocks for $6,476.00.

Guys Dashing Jet contributed the most $ by horse contributing $135,000 towards the million. She is amazing and I save her for the big shows. She does not go to jackpots. “I think you can take the heart of one by running too much”.

Four Straight Futurity Titles

Shortly after hitting the million dollar mark, your team also put in the books 4 Major Futurity Titles in a Row with the Sand Cup Futurity, VGBRA, VGBRA SIP and the BBR. Tell us a little bit about each of these futurities and the horses that made those wins possible.
Pete Oen and SR Moonshine OnRocks Sand Cup Futurity Champion
The Sand Cup Futurity is a 2D 1 second split futurity with a 2 run average. Champion: SR Moonshine OnRocks owned by Valerie Smith-Rebholz.
Pete Oen &Perks of Being Famous VGBRA Futurity Champion
VGBRA Open Futurity is also a 2D Futurity with 2 run average won by Perks of Being Famous owned and trained by Monica McClung. She also won the SIP Futurity (stallion incentive program)
Pete Oen and Perks of Being Famous BBR Futurity Champion
BBR aka Better Barrel Races is a Straight 1D Futurity. Perksof Being Famous also won the Futurity Average Champion here.

We talked about the wisdom gained by experience in your journey which we will share that in our next story. What else do you credit to your success?


Owners, Sponsors, Tyler, Kelsey, My Parents, Clients, Josh Harvey... Everybody on my team is very competent and good at their job!

I could not do this alone. There is no way.

Stay tuned...

In our next feature with Pete he shares a bit of what he has learned through his journey, including staying ‘fresh’, training methods and thoughts. We will also feature some tips to those just getting into Barrel Racing as well as those considering the Barrel Racing Futurity route.

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The Story Behind The Glory Series

We published a couple other stories you may like:

 Dona Kay 'RULES' THE D & D Barrel Race in Waco March 3-5, 2017

  Wanda Johnson & Dreams First Flash

If you'd like to submit a story please email [email protected]

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