Barrel racers strip down for bikini run

When it comes to barrel racing if you think you’ve seen it all, think again; Ponoka hosted its first bikini barrel racing event Jan. 12.

More than 20 ladies competed in the bikini barrel racing event Jan. 12 at the ag event centre.

More than 20 ladies competed in the bikini barrel racing event Jan. 12 at the ag event centre.

When it comes to barrel racing if you think you’ve seen it all, think again; Ponoka hosted its first bikini barrel racing event Jan. 12.

More than 20 contestants entered the competition for $500 in first prize winnings at the ag event centre during the Don Laing Trailer Series.

Ag event centre manager Chas Lambert heard about bikini barrel races in Manitoba but never had a chance to organize one. Sponsored by the Bra Lounge in Red Deer, Lambert feels the first attempt went well considering the time of year.

“I spoke to Sheena (Johnson) at the Bra Lounge and she thought it was a perfect fit.”

Despite not having a large crowd to watch, he is considering hosting another one when the weather is warmer.

“These are events that we could host in the summertime and we could have more entries,” Lambert said. He has also received positive feedback from those who were a part of the event and commends the riders for riding as fast as possible.

“Those girls went for broke, they didn’t hold up at all.”

Lambert feels many of these events would not be possible without support from the businesses in town. “It’s outstanding that we have the sponsorship we do in the town of Ponoka.”

This was a first for Steph Shippy, from Lacombe, winner of the bikini barrel race with 18.281 seconds. She kept her coat on to stay warm just before riding. She had no issues with pinched legs but kept shin guards on to protect her from the barrels.

Shippy considered what to do if she lost her top but it never happened so she did not have to worry about it.

Shippy’s roommate, Coby Auclair, was not going to enter but the entry fee was paid by her grandmother and family, which changed her mind.

“I initially thought, ‘No way!’”

Despite being slightly nervous, Auclair was glad to enter and placed second with 18.498 seconds and $190 cash and a $150 gift card to the Bra Lounge.

“I was in, I’m glad I did it.”

Shippy joked with another friend “you know you’re in Canada when you have a bikini barrel race mid-January.”

If another event such as this happens Shippy intends to compete again.

“It was fun.”

The weekend also hosted peewees, youth and open barrel racing and a barrel relay in which a rider goes first and then a foot runner follows the horse.

Series points after the kickoff weekend

• First: Dena Millard and Lightening- 100.

• Second: Sasha Schuffelmaier and LD – 70.

• Third: Lacey Stanton and Tipsy – 60.

• Fourth: Janice Waltze and Stellar – 50.

• Fifth: KR Robinson and Quick, also Jody Elliot and Cuda – 40 each.