The first annual Classic Futurity and Derby barrel race on the May long weekend has ended, but planning for next year is around the last barrel.
Jodie Jamieson, producer for the classic, has already booked the Ponoka Ag Event Centre for the next May long weekend. Her goal is for the classic to become something of a household name.
To make her plan possible she brought with her people who have knowledge and experience of barrel racing and hosting tournaments.
“I couldn’t have surrounded myself with better people. That helps me in the end,” she stated.
Organization was important to Jamieson and everyone involved as approximately 300 barrel racers came to Ponoka to compete. “Rides rattled off real quick.”
As the sand they raced on needed to be raked every fifth rider there was not much room for delay; Jamieson said riders made almost 800 runs over the entire weekend.
Racers sometimes rode more than one horse during the weekend, especially with two categories; the futurity is for horses one to five years old, which have not been entered in a serious competition before Dec. 1 last year; the derby is for horses five to eight years old.
Racers from across Western Canada, as well as a professional rider from Utah, Sue Smith, came to try their skills at the event centre.
“Having someone like Sue Smith compete was a personal highlight,” Jamieson proudly stated.
Riders pushed their horses to be under 18 seconds as the finalists were all under that mark.
There were cash prizes to win with $1,080 for the first and second rounds in the futurity with first place taking $1,400, and in the derby first place won $847.50 in rounds one and two.
Jamieson said much of the classic would not have been completed without the work of Chas Lambert, general manager and Aimee Cripps, office and event assistant of the event centre.
With no horses hurt, riders feeling positive, organized organizers, and hardworking management, Jamieson looks forward to next year and the recognition she can bring to barrel racing.
By Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye