The story behind the winner of the Don Laing Trailers barrel racing series is one that may be remembered for years to come.
Organizers at the Calnash Ag Event Centre were abuzz with excitement over a resounding overall win by Jessie Vandenbroek April 16. She moved to Ponoka from British Columbia last year to develop her barrel racing skills.
But Vandenbroek did not have a horse to compete, so she sold her trailer to buy her current horse Mitobility from trainer Dee Butterfield.
Because of her efforts, Vandenbroek won a year lease of a Charmac Lariat three horse trailer, which she said she cannot wait to use. Her mother has been letting Vandenbroek use her trailer for the time being and this win is much needed.
Perhaps even more extraordinary is that her horse, Mitobility, is sight impaired.
“I sold my trailer for a horse that only has one eye,” joked Vandenbroek.
Mitobility can only see out of one eye but Butterfield trained him at a young age to be a barrel racer and Vandenbroek couldn’t be more proud of her horse. “Mitobility’s pretty special to me.”
She said Mitobility is sired by Butterfield’s stud Perfect Possibility.
They have become quite the pair in the last few months and Vandenbroek said the first turn is the most important for Mitobility. If the first barrel is handled correctly, they generally have a solid run. Indeed, they ranked second on the first day of the series and then won the next seven events, solidifying Vandenbroek’s first place overall.
Vandenbroek hopes to continue on her upward climb. She just bought her Canadian Professional Rodeo Association permit and will be competing at professional rodeos with her new trailer in tow.
“I’m going to be hauling it to all the Canadian pro rodeos all summer,” she stated.
This first success for Vandenbroek has also provided her with much needed experience under pressure. Vandenbroek says completion can be stressful and when a person becomes this way, they tense up, which can affect a rider’s control.
Sponsor Inger Laing says she enjoyed sponsoring this barrel racing series for a second year. She suggests it is a good opportunity to get riders into the ag event centre and “to support the young barrel racers.”