Although Shianne Votava competed in her last barrel race at the Marion County Fair with her quarter horse, Docs EZ Diamond, she shows no signs of slowing down.
Votava, a senior FFA member and 2019 graduate of Pella High School, received a $300 fair scholarship and won the Senior Barrel Racing Championship this year. Votava finished with a personal best of 16.501, the same exact time she ran, and won, with Docs EZ Diamond two years ago. She also won Champion Barrel Racing at the 2018 Iowa State Fair and will be participating again for the last time.
“Seeing the progress that I’ve had throughout the multitude of years that I’ve done county fairs has been really cool,” said Votava. “Especially getting to do it on different horses. It really builds confidence in my horsemanship.”
Votava started participating in the Marion County Fair during her sophomore year of high school but has been competing in county fairs since she was eight years old. This year, she showed Docs EZ Diamond and Slideshow Bob, participating in ranch horse pleasure, reining, barrels, flags and poles.
Originally from the suburbs of Chicago, Votava started riding horses at the age of seven but has been around horses her entire life. Votava and her family got into the horse industry with the help of her grandfather, who used to harness racehorses.
“My parents originally didn’t want horses,” said Votava with a laugh. “But I’m kind of that curse. Since then, it’s kind of spiraled out of control.”
Votava will attend Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College in Miami, Oklahoma this fall. She earned a scholarship to participate in horse judging at the college and will be following a pre-veterinarian track. She then plans to transfer to Iowa State University to obtain a degree in Veterinary Medicine.