Kenna Squires has won a lot of barrel races in a long and lucrative career in the saddle . . . but until June 20, 2021, she’d never won a red Ford Mustang. That changed at the conclusion of the 2021 edition of Destrys Free4All Barrel Race, held June 18-20 at the Somervell County Expo Center in Glen Rose, Texas.
Photography credit: IMAGEHOUNDS
Kenna Squires has won a lot of barrel races in a long and lucrative career in the saddle…but until June 20, 2021, she’d never won a red Ford Mustang. That changed at the conclusion of the 2021 edition of Destry’s Free4All Barrel Race, held June 18-20 at the Somervell County Expo Center in Glen Rose, Texas.
Photography credit: IMAGEHOUNDS
Squires won the Free4All 1D Championship. Riding her phenomenal mare NB Ladybird, Squires ran a 14.654, the fastest time of nearly 1,800 entries over the weekend. That win earned her one of 27 keys handed out to division, incentive and drawing winners—and only one key opened the car.
“It was really cool. We’ll chalk it up to it never happened before and will never happen again.”Kenna Squires
Destry’s Free4 All is named for Destry Fleming, who is part of the UWinMore group who produces several big barrel races each year. The race is known for being a happening with lots of fun things built alongside the actual barrel race. It is run in “sessions,” two Friday and Saturday and one on Sunday, making for three full days of racing.
Kenna attends nearly every year, unless she’s left the Texas summer heat to go rodeoing. “I try to go if I’m home,” said Squires, who lives about four hours away in Fredonia, Texas. “They always make it fun, they have the best ground guys and run everything in a timely fashion.”
In 2021, Destry’s handed out their largest payout ever with $85,000 in cash and prizes. The race was run in a 6D format—divisional barrel races handicap using time off of the winning time with half second splits.
Each entry is given two chances to run for the big money and Squires and Birdie made the most of the chance, winning not only first place but also third with a second run of 14.797 seconds, picking up checks worth $3,997.
“They sent her to me late in her three-old year as a futurity prospect and I just couldn’t pass up the chance to have a Dolly baby,” Squires said. Birdie’s dam is TR Dashing Badger, aka Dolly, who carried Jill Moody to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) championships in 2008 and 2010. “She looks a lot like her momma and acts like her in a lot of ways too.”
Squires was also a fan of another Wrangler NFR horse, Heza Bug Leo by Shawne Bug Leo who is Birdie’s sire and owned by Nickelbar Ranch, Crystal and Radley Nichols. The Nichols also own Birdie, who is now seven.
The gritty mare’s big win at Destry’s nearly didn’t happen, however. “She had a throat surgery earlier this year that had severe complications,” Squires said. “She was on a feeding tube for two weeks. She nearly died.”
Now fully recovered, Birdie is back to her winning ways and transitioning into pro rodeos too. “She’s figuring it out this summer, she’s done well,” Squires said. “She’s got everything you need for a rodeo horse: she eats, drinks and rests on the road and doesn’t waste time doing anything unnecessary.” Birdie certainly made the most of her effort at Destry’s.
In addition to a large payout, each D winner was awarded an Ed and Martha Wright trophy saddle. Each of the 6D’s paid 15 places with prizes given down to 11th. The race also offered age incentives for both the horse and rider along with added adventures like the daily chicken hunt for a cash bonus. But no prize was bigger or more exciting for people who make their living going fast than that shiny new Mustang.
Photography credit: IMAGEHOUNDS
“A few years back, Destry did a cash cube,” Squires said. “The races are always real extravagant and I’m generally not there for the fun stuff, I’m back to the trailer and headed out,” she joked. That year Squires had done well enough to have a chance to win time in the cash cube but she’d left the race early.
“I went home and missed it!” she laughed. “I was like, dang, I’ve been waiting since I was a little kid for a chance at the cash cube!” Making sure there was no repeat in 2021, Squires had Birdie set up in a pen in the shade so she could wait for the chance at the Mustang. “Crystal and Radley’s daughter just turned fifteen,” Squires explained. “So, when I was going up there [to try her key] I said, this would be a cool present.”
The Nichols agreed but the whole group was still in shock when Squires’ key was the Lucky Key. “My husband and I would’ve looked like a can of busted biscuits in that thing,” Squires joked. “It needed to go to someone to drive around the Sonic.”
Maddie Nichols has already given the car a name according to Squires, who said she couldn’t get used to it when she had to drive her truck to pull the horse trailer. Not to say she didn’t like the idea.
“It did feel good to sit in it!”
High schooler Jada Trosper was the Reserve 1D champion and also won the Youth incentive aboard her gelding Sun N Sevens. Noah Grimes claimed the Adult incentive win aboard California Clone while Squires was the champ in the Mature incentive.
For the horse incentives, the Futurity win went to Thomaz ridden by Valinda Moore who also won the Senior Horse incentive with Famous Dr John. Trosper and Seven won the Open Horse incentive. Elizabeth Sbrusch and SJR Diamonds Cash won the Big Spender side pot and Candie Wolf and Kitnic won the Paint Barrel Racing Incentive Program side pot.
About the Author
Jolee Jordan is a freelance writer, rodeo rider and collector of obscure rodeo historical facts. She’s been an active competitor in Pro Rodeo for two decades competing in barrel racing, team roping and breakaway roping. The 2018 WPRA Media Award winner, she has covered the sport of rodeo as a journalist nearly as long, writing for the Women’s Pro Rodeo News, ProRodeo Sports News, Barrel Horse News, Barrel Racing Report among others and spending a few years as a color analyst for Pro Rodeo Live. She enjoys spending time with her family, husband Allan and parents Dolli and Darrell and makes her home in Kingman, Arizona when not living in her trailer at a rodeo.