McCor­mack Park to host bar­rel race series

Mansfield Courier - - COURIER | OPINIONS/PEOPLE -

MER­RI­JIG will host its first ever bar­rel rac­ing series when the first of five events is held next month.

Or­gan­ised and run by out­go­ing Rodeo Queen of Aus­tralia, La­toya Wards, the Mer­ri­jig Bar­rel Rac­ing Series (MBRS) will see com­peti­tors given the op­por­tu­nity to run their horses for buckle, cash and other prizes – and all in a re­laxed fam­ily friendly at­mos­phere.

“Bar­rel rac­ing is a grow­ing sport with rid­ers of all lev­els and ages hav­ing a go and start­ing to com­pete in rodeos,” Ms Wards ex­plained.

“By run­ning a series - es­pe­cially at this time of the year with the Christ­mas rodeos ap­proach­ing - it also gives a lot of rid­ers the chance to prac­tice and run mul­ti­ple horses in prepa­ra­tion for the rodeo sea­son.”

Al­though the series is open to all rider abil­ity lev­els, from the pro­fes­sional to the begin­ner, Ms Wards said she was par­tic­u­larly keen to see lo­cal Mans­field rid­ers try their luck for the first time.

“You don’t have to be a rid­ing su­per­star – I’d love to see lo­cal kids on their Shet­land ponies just come out for a bit of fun.”

The MBRS will be held at McCor­mack Park, and the first two events, known as rounds, are sched­uled for Oc­to­ber 22 and 23.

The round one event will be on the Satur­day, and will start from 2pm, with the Sun­day event kick­ing off at 9am.

“For the Mer­ri­jig series we have af­fil­i­ated with Rodeo Ser­vices As­so­ci­a­tion which doesn’t re­quire a mem­ber­ship to com­pete,” Ms Wards said.

“This means that any­one can en­ter - male, fe­male, all horse types and rid­ers of ev­ery age.”

Each day of com­pe­ti­tion starts with led rid­ers, fol­lowed by un­der 8s, un­der 13s, ju­nior di­vi­sional and then the first sec­tion of open rid­ers.

Within the cat­e­gories, Ms Wards said ev­ery ef­fort would be made to group rid­ers into abil­ity lev­els so it was an even play­ing field.

“Be­cause we call the open bar­rel race a “di­vi­sional”, it means you are com­pet­ing against rid­ers of the same times and level as you,” she ex­plained.

“So a new­comer to the sport may still win a prize as all times are listed from fastest to slow­est and di­vided into four di­vi­sions.”

The cost of the MBRS has also been de­signed to at­tract rid­ers who may be new to the sport, with the led and un­der eight rid­ers pay­ing $10 for two runs, and just $2 there­after.

The un­der 13 rid­ers are $15 for two runs, with $10 payable for each horse af­ter that, and it in­creases slightly for each cat­e­gory from there.

All funds raised from the com­pe­ti­tions will be used to fund prizes and im­prove fu­ture events.

“The MBRS will run as a five event series, which means there will be five sep­a­rate days of com­pe­ti­tion,” Ms Wards said.

“But, rid­ers who at­tend j ust three of the events will be el­i­gi­ble to take home an over­all rider buckle, which is re­ally ex­cit­ing, par­tic­u­larly for the younger kids.”

There is free camp­ing avail­able on site for those who re­quire it, and there is also the op­por­tu­nity for a lo­cal char­ity group to man the event bar­be­cue – and take home the funds raised.

“I just want peo­ple to come out and have a go - bar­rel rac­ing is a good sport to get into be­cause any­one can do it and even though we are com­pet­ing against each other we sup­port each other,” Ms Wards said.

“I want this to be a fam­ily friendly series - we try to cater for fam­i­lies and the kids as much as pos­si­ble.

“On the last round we will also run a novelty bar­rel race for the par­ents who haven’t com­peted in the series, which is just for a bit of fun.”

The third and fourth events in the series will be held on Novem­ber 5 and 6, and the fi­nal round will be the first week­end in De­cem­ber.

For more de­tails, or to en­ter, you can go to the Mer­ri­jig Bar­rel Rac­ing page, or con­tact La­toya di­rectly at [email protected]

BAR­REL FUN: A new event, to be held at McCor­mack Park, will see rid­ers of all ages com­pete in a five event bar­rel race series. Pic­tured is a rider in the Open Ladies event at the Mer­ri­jig Rodeo.

QUEEN OF THE RODEO: Out­go­ing Aus­tralian Rodeo Queen, La­toya Wards, will run the Mer­ri­jig Bar­rel Race Series at her home ground, McCor­mack Park, where she is pic­tured ear­lier this year.

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