Tracey Bruens and Dakota compete in the opening double header of the Don Laing Barrel Racing Series

Tracey Bruens and Dakota compete in the opening double header of the Don Laing Barrel Racing Series

Don Laing Trailer Series kicks off with barrel racing double-header

For the third consecutive year, the Don Laing Trailer Barrel Racing Series is giving hundreds of hard working racers

For the third consecutive year, the Don Laing Trailer Barrel Racing Series is giving hundreds of hard working racers the opportunity to win a trailer for a year.

The gate opened on this year’s series with a double-header jackpot that took place at the Calnash Ag Event Centre on Sunday, Jan. 11.

“There is a horse trailer from Don Laing that is awarded to the high-point winner of the series,” said co-ordinator Sherry Gummow.

“You get points from placing in the jackpots,” she explained.

This year the competitors will see a difference in the structure of the event that will better even the arena for all. In the past, the series has run divisions from one to three, with 1D racing the fastest horses and 3D seeing a lot of newcomers to the sport. However the winner in the third division would not collect as many points as the winner in the first division. This year all winners will be awarded equally.

“We’re pretty excited and I think the barrel racers are too, that we’re doing it that way,” said Gummow.

“It’s nice for those that are new to the sport to have the opportunity to win something,” she added.

A double header runs two separate jackpots in one weekend, allowing racers to earn double the points while cutting down on travel time. The first event saw barrel racers from as far away a Sherwood Park compete, but Gummow says in the past they have come from as far as Montana and Texas.

The Sunday event saw a total of 175 runs, but in other years jackpots have had up to 300 runs.

Competitors wanting to run register at the beginning of each jackpot, but need to attend a minimum of seven to be eligible for the trailer.

The event also holds a youth division to help groom the sports up-and-coming stars. While youth racers are not eligible to win the trailer, they can win other prizes along the way and take the jackpot just as seriously at their older counterparts.

Gummow says the fasted time posted at the double-header jackpot in all divisions came from youth racer Justine Elliot, who is 13 or 14 years old. She finished her pattern and crossed the finish line in 17.606 seconds.

The next double-header jackpots take place on Feb. 1, March 1 and March 8. The singles of the series are held on Jan. 21, Feb. 11 and 18 and April 1. The finals take place on April 15.