Step into Barrel Racing Fashion

Photo courtesy of Sundial Show Clothing

Speed. Adrenalin. Concentration. Two hearts beating together. This is the fascinating world of Barrel Racing. In such a really spectacular sport, how much does fashion count? And how can you combine style with safety? To find out more about it, I interviewed Kaitlin Lorman, owner and designer of Sundial Show Clothing, from Cleveland, Ohio. Kaitlin gave me some really interesting information about Barrel Racing fashion. Are you courious? Than go on reading 😉


What is appropriate to wear at the shows for Barrel Racing?

Kaitlin: According to the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association rulebook,  “Long sleeve shirts that are collared and have either buttons, snaps or full length zipper on the front of the shirt, jeans without holes, western boots and western hat (helmets are acceptable for all WPRA competitions) must be worn for all rodeo performances and slack. Contestant’s appearance must be neat, clean and professional. Any contestant whose appearance is deemed unprofessional will be fined.” Barrel Racing is all about speed and agility; in an appearance that lasts less than 20 seconds, you really want to make your time in the pen count. As the rider, you need to be unrestricted to allow yourself full range of motion  and remain lightweight as you are acting as a jockey in a very intense race.


What do Barrel Racers want to wear?

Kaitlin: Barrel racers want to be noticed. It’s a quick spin around the “cloverleaf” pattern and to have a standout style that’s going to get you noticed is a bonus! Many riders sport trophy buckles and tack that they’ve won from competitions. It’s also very common to see gear with company branding on it, as the top racers receive sponsorship from various types of companies. Getting themselves noticed is one of the best ways to earn these sponsorships.


Is there a style that is more appropriate than others for Barrel Racing?

Kaitlin: Safety is quite important in this high-speed sport. Styles that emphasize safety of the horse and rider are encouraged. Lightweight, moisture-wicking stretch styles (like Sundial’s) are best as they do not restrict the rider’s range of motion and remain looking clean and polished even at high speeds, whereas other fabrics may appear baggy and come untucked during the race.


What is going to be “in” for Barrel Racing in 2018?

Kaitlin: Barrel Racing is always about extreme styles as those who compete in such an intense sport like to push the limits. Fringe has remained popular and will continue to be a sought after style in 2018. Repeating patterns have replaced tie-dye for the new year and you’ll see many riders sparkling as they gallop through the alleyway with glitter and Swarovski accents on their tack, accessories, and clothing.


Is the use of accessories (earrings, necklaces, etc) encouraged? If yes, which ones are the most popular? 

Kaitlin: Wearing bling is certainly part of this event, but designs that are lightweight and comfortable are more important than anything. You’ll mostly see earrings as bracelets and necklaces are generally hidden underneath riding apparel. Earrings that are featherweight and have lots of sparkle are the most popular designs. It’s important that they do not catch on your hair or clothing. Sundial’s earrings are designed with this in mind! One of the more popular barrel racing accessories is also the painted/patterned hat or helmet, which can be customized to match the rest of a rider’s ensemble. Hats also feature painted feather accessories as a perfect finishing & interchangeable touch. You’ll also often see riders race with their hair down, blowing in the breeze. It’s very common for barrel racers to experiment with different hair colors as an additional accessory.


Are there any colors which are more popular than others?

Kaitlin: Pink, black, and blue are certainly some of the most popular colors featured in this sport… But each and every color of the rainbow is represented and revered by the barrel racers. Coordinating tack sets, boots, and outfits are a must.


Are fringes and/or chains appropriate for Barrel Racing?

Kaitlin: Fringe is becoming increasingly more popular in the Barrel Racing world as you certainly get the most bang for your buck with fringe at high speeds. Chains are not generally seen as they can pose a safety hazard from getting caught or whipped by a chain accent. You’ll see new and exciting designs of fringe for 2018, like our beaded fringe available on our Celeste and Signature Classic Black.


I checked several photos of barrel racers and no one is wearing chaps, why?

Kaitlin: Sometimes it is important for barrel racers to manoeuvre their legs to avoid knocking down barrels. Chaps are just another item to weigh you down and restrict your movement during the race. Some riders wear knee or chin guards to protect themselves in case they knock a barrel. Coordinating jeans are a huge style in Barrel Racing.


Would you like to add something to the interview?

Kaitlin: Barrel racing is a sport any rider can participate in, and it can be very rewarding. I encourage everyone to at least give this adrenaline rush a try even just for fun… You may just fall in love. One of the best parts of the sport is that you can express your individuality, and it is highly encouraged. Sundial is designed to help you express yourself in both a classy and comfortable way. We are a brand all about cowgirl confidence. Our designs are truly cut from a different cloth-expertly tailored from lightweight & fun fabrics, accented by genuine Swarovski crystals with cooling comfort & stretch for the perfect fit. Being in the saddle is about having a good time and experimenting with rodeo events can certainly be a great way to get us all out of our shell and remember what it’s like to let loose!

I would like to thank Kaitlin with all my heart for her time, her kindness and for having answered to all my question even if I am not a Barrel Racing Expert. Thank you Kaitlin!


It is interesting to find out how fashion change from one discipline to the other: Barrel Racing, Reining, All Around. But in all those disciplines the interest for fashion is high. Fashion in the show pen is fundamental to be notice, to express yourself as a competitor and as a rider and, why not, to have fun.

When you stand at the cone, you walk to the centre or you enter the arena at a full speed, what you are wearing is going to get you noticed. Always. Do you agree?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.