Four division finals for barrel racers

The Alberta Barrel Racing Association (ABRA) provincial finals are coming to the Calnash Trucking Ag Event Centre and bringing

The Alberta Barrel Racing Association (ABRA) provincial finals are coming to the Calnash Trucking Ag Event Centre and bringing more than 500 racers.

The ABRA mandates riders competing in the finals have already run a minimum number of races; nine for the open and six for the youth divisions.

ABRA runs its finals on a four-division system with one split second difference.

The fastest rider is the winner of the first division. For the second division the rider with one more second to their time than the first division winner wins second division.

The third and fourth division winners are the riders who came in with a two-and three-second slower time than the first division winner.

“You don’t necessarily have to be the fastest barrel racer to win,” Jill McDougall, provincial secretary of the association.

District director Sheryl Makofka says the four-division system has done a lot to help barrel racers advance. “Four-division was created so pro and people just starting out could compete on equal ground with someone of the same calibre as them.”

The top 15 spots of each division get paid and the divisions are paid equally.

“There’s a couple hundred thousand in payouts,” said McDougall. Prizes for the finals include blankets, jewelry, watches and buckles.

The ABRA finals run from Aug. 23 to 26.

For the last 10 years they’ve been held in Camrose but have switched to Ponoka partly because of the ag event centre. McDougall says it’s been confirmed the finals will be held in Ponoka next year too.