When Angie Barcus was a little girl, she spent her days riding horses through the Tonganoxie countryside and dreamed of competing in the rodeo circuit.
Wednesday night she recognized that dream.
Barcus,17, was one of several Kansas and Missouri teen-agers who competed in the first round of the 1993 Mo-Kan Youth Rodeo Finals at the American Royal Livestock, Horse Show and Rodeo in Kansas City, Mo.
The second round will be at 7 p.m. today at Hale Arena. The American Royal began Wednesday and will run until Nov. 20.
To participate in the youth rodeo finals, competitors must end the regular rodeo circuit with a ranking in the top 15. Going into Wednesday night's finals, Barcus was ranked ninth in both events.
As she waited to compete, Barcus acknowledged she was nervous. And, with more than three hours until her events -- barrel racing and goat tying -- Barcus would have plenty of time to think about the upcoming competition.
In barrel racing, contestants are timed as they ride in a clover-leaf formation around three barrels. In goat tying, contestants are timed as they ride into the arena, jump off their horse, throw a goat to the ground and tie three of its legs.
Not an easy task.
However, for Barcus, it has become almost second nature.
"I've been riding horses ever since my mom began carrying me on the front of her saddle," Barcus said.
By the age of 2, Barcus' parents led her around on Lancer, her first horse. She rode solo by the time she was 4 and began showing horses when she was 10 years old.
A member of Future Farmers of America, the 5-foot, 3-inch, freckle-faced Tonganoxie High School junior admits horseback riding is an addiction.
"Riding is how I get away," she said. "It's how I be myself. When I'm out there, I know what's going on."
She proved her point Wednesday night as she spurred her quarter horse, Bo, into the arena.
Dirt and sawdust flew through the air as the girl and horse, working as one unit, maneuvered among the barrels. Quickly the pair raced through the formation, weaving and cutting between the barrels before dashing for the finish line.
Just as quickly as she began, Barcus was finished. She shook her head in disappointment at her time -- 16.226 seconds.
"It was a clean run," she said. "But we could do better."
She shook her head before she nodded decisively.
"Tomorrow night," she said, "we're going to do better,"