Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s daughter: 'I’ve always liked going fast'

awoolen@macon.comOctober 29, 2012 

  • If you go

    Where: Reaves Arena, Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter, Perry
    When: Through Saturday. Show begins at 8 a.m. each day. Halloween concert today at 6 p.m. Wednesday for armband holders and contestants featuring the band Homegrown and a costume contest.
    Cost: Spectator armbands available on site $35 for the week or $10 per day. No charge for children 5 years of age and under.
    For additional show information and entry form visit www.nbha.com or call (706) 823-3728.

PERRY -- At the age of 3, Taylor Earnhardt Putnam was riding horses.

Her father, seven-time NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt Sr., would take his youngest daughter trail riding.

Now 23, Earnhardt Putnam is making a name for herself on the barrel racing circuit. She has been barrel racing for about 10 years, after a friend introduced her to the sport.

“I’ve always liked going fast,” Earnhardt Putnam said before her run Sunday on Lightning Twister.

“It’s just in my nature.”

With his explosive speed and attitude, the paint gelding, called Tee for short, is aptly named.

Sunday morning started her show week with Tee, which she has owned for eight years, at the National Barrel Horse Association’s World Championship event being held this week at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter.

Their first round, Tee knocked down the first barrel with his hip which resulted in no-time for the ride.

She also will be competing this week with another horse, Packin’ Sixes Cowboy.

Earnhardt Putnam’s goal is to become a respected barrel horse trainer and breeder.

She said her husband, Brandon Putnam, and her mother, Teresa Earnhardt, will be her partners in the business.

The name of the venture is “to be announced,” Earnhart Putnam said with a laugh, saying it would have to be an agreement among the three partners.

Brandon Putnam also rides and the couple met through his sister, Carrie Putnam, who barrel races.

Carrie Putnam is also competing at the World Championships this week with two horses.

The newlyweds are planning to start team roping together. They normally are at a rodeo every weekend and Earnhardt Putnam usually attends two to three big barrel racing shows a year.

With nearly 1,500 competitors this week, Earnhardt Putnam still hopes to make it in the finals.

To get there, she is competing against some of the best in the business.

Madeleine Green, media relations for the show, said each division from the D1 fastest times to the slower D5, split up by run times, has its own champion.

In the open division, each winner receives a horse trailer.

The show will give out $350,000 in cash and prizes.

“It’s really good how they split it into divisions so everyone has an equal chance to win something,” she said.

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