The winner of yesterday’s Cowboy Militia top is Whitney Karr! (I promise, not rigged! Totally randomly generated from random.org!)
Enter to win polo wraps from Bar N LLC today!
If you’ve been lucky enough to go to a show or rodeo in Ohio, Pennsylvania, or West Virginia in the past two years, you’ve noticed an explosion of high-fashion Western gear for horse and rider. The barrel racers in the Tri-State area are as well dressed as any across the country, and there’s one person who started this high-end (but affordable) revolution: Nikki Ward Cowden of Bar N LLC.
A barrel racer who grew up rodeoing and barrel racing in the area, Nikki decided that when it was time for her to head out on her own, she’d open a tack shop that would both serve the community and bring the best of the West to the East. With tack designer Renee Clair Bearss of Cowboy Couture, Nikki started to draw crowds to her booths at local shows, all dying for custom tack sets previously unattainable in the area.
From gorgeous tack sets, Nikki has moved to supplying a full line of supplements, Wade Saddle Pads, and much, much more. Read what Nikki has to say about her business in the second day of my “Favorite Things” series! Then, find out how to win a set of custom polo wraps from Bar N LLC below!
When did you start Bar N LLC?
We started in October 2009.
What sparked your desire to own/run this business?
I grew up in a family business, my dad was very successful. He built it all from scratch at a young age, and my mom is a very hard worker. I love to be busy all of the time and boy I am… I guess it just came honestly.
I have always bought and sold horses (since I was honestly like 10!) and odds and ends. I love it. Growing up in a family business it is very hard to actually go work for other people! This was the best option for me. I did go to college and graduate with a Bachelors in Education, and it was something I had to do for myself but this was definitely God’s plan for me… sales.
I also wanted to bring what was “hot” to our area… there are stores around but no one has anything that is in style or that is really catchy. I like quality, some would say high maintenance, but are we not all that way?! Needless to say I wanted to promote product that I use, would recommend and that is just top of the line. I don’t want girls to have to go to Texas to get what’s hot or new, I want them to come to me!
What is it about the Ohio/Pennsylvania barrel racing community that you love?
I really love that competition out West is very tough, some of the toughest around, and there are horses in Ohio and competitors that can go anywhere in the country and be competitive. So I feel that we have the opportunity to be among some of the best competition. I would rather go to a barrel race where there are really tough horses and know where I really stand, rather than haul and compete where I know I will do well. I am competitive and I just really appreciate that in our area we have horses that are top competitors!
What’s new for the summer of 2011 with Bar N LLC?
We are so very blessed… we keep growing! I was actually contemplating going very small this year! God keeps blessing us with sales! There is a complete new line of Cowboy Couture, people will go nuts over it! I have to say I love Renee from Cowboy Couture I will stand by her and her products until the end. She stands behind it and I love that! I am so excited for the new designs.
We as of the first of April are now Hyaluronex Dealers and I have to say of all joint supplements on the market I support this one and believe it is the best oral supplement! I used this years ago on my Brodie horse and boy it kept him going great!
We will always have a full line of our custom polo wraps Our new addition also is Wade Saddle Pads, I think Gary Wade is just the greatest man and he has a great business and great line of products! I love these pads, they are gorgeous, do not compress and I am just really liking them! Not to mention so is everyone else! Also, Iconoclast Boots, Ward Heid and Grant are wonderful, they stand behind their products and I again love to deal with those that stand behind a product! These boots provide so much support to a leg, it is amazing! I personally use them and find them outstanding! When they first came out they had some stitching issues, and they have fixed those issues and actually was exchanging boots if they had fallen apart… that says it all for me about a company especially this day in age! If I have it for sale you better believe I like it, I use it and it is high quality or it will not be here! SA Walls Stirrups also ROCK OUT, this is an amazing design and we also have a full line of those!
What are your hottest selling items?
Our “hottest” seller is hands down probably a tie Polos and Cowboy Couture! I pick the patterns for our polos I try to keep them fresh and hot! As for Cowboy Couture it speaks for itself!
At which local show do people tend to buy the most?
My biggest shows… that’s funny. They are normally the shows with a hundred or less in the open! I love the fact that everyone in the area supports our
business! I really try to help people out, and they really really do support us, we could not do it with out them! I go to a lot of Ohio and some West Virginia shows and boy everyone is looking to see what I have with me! It’s really great, it can get over whelming at times, but it is so much fun! I love to have people running up to me… “What do you have in stock?!” LOL. It’s so surreal.
In what ways do you give back to the community?
I will donate products to clubs, people, etc. I also do love charity, so in that aspect I ALWAYS try to with the extra money send it to Light of Life Mission, or Feed the Children. It is important to me to give back, we are so very blessed and I started this business so that I could give back. God keeps blessing me abundantly so I will keep passing it on! This year I am planning to do a Vacation Bible School Barrel Racing Clinic with a few girls. I am really geared to do this, I think it will be great for everyone and I think we will get a lot of interest! We are planning for August 2011, I feel great about this and I really look forward to helping those in our area and barrel racing community!
What are your goals for your company?
Oh dear… my goals are actually to open a store in our area with all of the stuff I carry and more! That is actually in the planning process… I want to build a store that is successful, and like I said a place where girls do not have to go to Texas to get the coolest stuff! I also strive to stay very competitive in pricing, I do not want people to feel over whelmed when buying things. I want it to be the coolest, hottest stuff and HIGH quality but affordable! I also look forward in the future to owning a farm with an indoor and outdoor where I can give lessons, take training horses and have a program for young people to keep them out of trouble and geared toward the right things in life and not drugs, alcohol and other activities in life they should not be experiencing. I really really love to help those in need, and I truly believe that we will be able to do this sometime in the future. This day in age parents are really busy and focused on careers and the teens get into things they should not be because they really just do not have a home life. I think horses are a great way into people’s hearts, and it is a learning, bonding process and would keep those children on the right track.
Now, what you’ve all been waiting for! You can win a set of polo wraps from Bar N LLC by answering this question below in the comments section
beneath this post. You might have to look back in earlier editions of The Barrel Racing Blog to find the answer. Remember, subscribers who answer the question correctly are entered twice to win! You’ll have until midnight EST tonight to comment, and we’ll announce the winner here at 10 a.m. Wednesday morning! We’ll use random.org to draw the winner.
Question: What horse did Laura Lee Thomas ride to the APRA Barrel Racing Championship and IPRA/APRA Horse of the Year in 2010?