'Try and do it with speed': Top barrel racers in Sask. take over Moose Jaw
In barrel racing, going fast requires a huge amount of trust between horse and rider, a special connection Saskatchewan's top barrel racers are looking to hone in Moose Jaw this week at the Saskatchewan Barrel Racing Association Finals.
All riders know trust is key, but it can take years to build, getting faster with each ride in the process.
“You teach them the pattern, good horsemanship, good responsiveness and then just try and do it with speed,” said Jane Stewart, a barrel racer.
Over 500 racers, and just as many horses, are competing for thousands of dollars in prizes after qualifying for the finals throughout the summer.
“It’s our biggest event we’ve ever had,” said Shasta Hanna, President of the SBRA. “Every year it’s growing and the sport of barrel racing is growing, so it’s really exciting.”
Racers ages four years old and up are competing this week. They’re aiming for speed as they look to race around three barrels in the quickest time possible during their two runs each day.
It doesn’t always go as planned, but Shayanne Bear says when it does, it’s an incredible feeling.
“The most rewarding part about it is when everything finally does come together and you make that run and it’s like, ‘ah, yes, this is why I work hard’,” said Bear.
Each ride lasts between just 13 and 16 seconds.
Stewart says the desire to go faster is what makes the sport fun.
“Every time you make a run, you just know that you can do it faster and so every time you try then you just say, ‘Let me go again, I know I can do it better’,” said Stewart.
The finals wrap up with a full day of racing on Friday at the Moose Jaw Exhibition Grounds.