How old were you when you started showing/competing? And how long had you been riding? Who helped you get started, or did you just wing it? I'd love to get into roping, penning or barrel racing (for fun, not really competing) but I'm not sure how/when you get started. Are there ways, even in the beginning, if you can tell if someone would be a good fit for any of those?
The first photo evidence of me on a horse, I think was when I was 1 1/2 years old, although I know my mom rode and held me in front of the saddle many times before that. I started riding my own horse at age 2 or 3 (based on photos and what my moms tells me, as I don't actually remember) but I DO remember my first horse show when I was 4 years old. I did the western pleasure (the only showing event they had) and did most of the gaming events like barrels, poles, cup and water, etc.
I got into horses because my mom grew up with them too, so I feel really lucky that it was just natural for us to ride horse!
We always went to 3 or 4 fun horse shows throughout the year. When I hit about age 13 is when I started to get serious with it and tried to learn all I can about anything I could. And I started to push my mom and take us to more shows (it is just my mom and I who do horses in the family. My dad never really did and my brothers eventually lost interest to things with engines.) and we got into doing more things and traveling farther to shows. We mostly like to do gaming and barrel racing, but we do go to local showing shows with all the western events like pleasure, halter, trail, reining, etc).
So for me, it just kind of came along hand-and-hand to ride and go to shows.
And you won't know if you like any of those events unless you try it! You don't have to be the best or win everytime, just as long as you have fun while doing it.
For anything, you can always go to shows first and just watch. And you can talk to people and make connections, because that is the best way to get into contact with the people you are going to need help from (trainers, mentors, traveling buddies, etc).
Roping, for sure, you need to learn HOW to rope from the ground first, before you try to do it from a horse. So that would probably be best to track down a trainer to teach you to rope. You don't want to show up at a jackpot roping if you've never even touched a rope before and if your horse has never been in the box before, just because I guarantee you won't catch anything.
So that you would want to practice first and then start out by going to practice ropings, which lots of arenas hold.
Team penning, you of course, need a team to compete with. So again, it might be best to go and watch one first and talk to people and find out who would be willing to add you to their team and/or teach you how to team pen.
Barrel racing would probably be the event that you could just show up at and wing it, just because most barrel races also have exhibition rides that you can do at any pace for practice. Of course, it always helps to practice the pattern at home first, but out of the 3 that you are interested in, this one would be the most feasible to just wing it.