The Saskatchewan Barrel Racing Association will be taking over the Moose Jaw Exhibition Grounds for their Provincial Finals during Aug. 14-16, with a record number of talented barrel racers ready to compete.
This is the first year the SBRA has hosted their finals in Moose Jaw in around 20 years, and SBRA president Shasta Hanna credits the venue change to the convenience of the facilities here.
“There's lots of extra parking and it's all grass, and the facility workers are really great to work with, they've been nothing but helpful,” said Hanna. “The central-ness of Moose Jaw [is also great] too, we're bringing it back to central Saskatchewan.”
Competitors will take to the arena beginning Aug. 14 with the Barrel Bonanza, a separate competition featuring offspring from nominated Saskatchewan stallions. Over 60 barrel racers are signed up to take part in the Barrel Bonanza this year, before things move on to the provincial runs.
With approximately 500 barrel racers, aged four to over 50, set to take a shot at a provincial title and 695 runs scheduled throughout the three days, the grounds are expecting to see over 1,200 people visit the event — and Moose Jaw.
The Open event will see 459 barrel racers compete, as well as 130 Youth racers set to ride and 45 Peewee racers — the next generation of barrel racers getting their start in the fast-paced sport.
Competitors in each age category will take a shot at clocking in one of the top times, for a chance to win up to $10,000 in cash and other impressive prizes — including saddles, valued at about $2,500 and champion belt buckles.
Hanna finds the sport is on the rise in Saskatchewan as of late and is looking forward to seeing it continue in the future.
Attendance to the event is free, and everyone is welcome to come down to the Exhibition Grounds to experience the fast-paced sport kicking up dust across the prairies.
The event will have runs happening from 7 a.m. to about 8 p.m. on Aug. 14 and 15, with a shorter day on Aug. 16, running from 8 a.m. to about 4 p.m. Final awards in each age category will be presented following the wrap up of events on the last day.
“Come out and have a good time, enjoy the horses and all the therapeutic [vibes] that comes from being around horses,” said Hanna.