By Madison Fleck
For Ponoka News
Barrel racers competed in the fifth annual Leather N Lace barrel racing event July 23 to 24 at the Ponoka Calnash Ag Event Centre.
Contestants from across Canada and the U.S. participated in a variety of races including the Open Jackpot, Splash and Dash, The Vegas, and The Runaway Slot. In The Runaway, racers purchase slots for $750 for a guaranteed a payout.
Top riders in each of the three divisions received cash prizes totaling just over $100,000. This year’s Runaway 1D winner was seventeen-year-old Taylor Manning, a three-year competitor at the Canadian finals, on her horse Just Moves Like Jagger.
“My weekend was really good,” said Manning, “It was great to be back rodeoing.”
Another popular event was the Splash and Dash, which sees competitors race in the typical clover leaf pattern, but with a twist. Each barrel is equipped with a red solo cup of wine. Racers must cover all the barrels and drink at least one of the three cups, all while staying on their horses.
“The record time this year was about 18.6 seconds,” said Laciee Shock, president of Leather N Lace. “That’s impressive.”
Proceeds from the Splash and Dash went towards the Ponoka Food Bank, an organization greatly endorsed by Shock.
Shock likes to run her races professionally, so contestants can “relax and enjoy the event” without having to worry about being behind schedule. The event had a large turnout, with 426 entries for the Friday race, 346 entries on Saturday, 94 entries to The Vegas, and 17 entries for the Splash and Dash.
“It went amazing,” said Shock. “I think everyone needed something positive.”
Shock says it has been great to be able to come together at the Leather N Lace Race without pandemic restrictions.
“It’s given people an opportunity to come out and gather with friends and have some fun.”