Thursday, 04 April 2013 09:22

Barrel racing jackpot finals set for April 6 in Oyen

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Deborah Jones and her horse Bailey compete in the Open category at the barrel racing jackpots. Deborah Jones and her horse Bailey compete in the Open category at the barrel racing jackpots. Photo submitted

Thanks to the support of businesses and individuals, there are a lot of great prizes up for grabs at the finals for the winter barrel racing series held at the Crossroads Centre in Oyen.


The barrel racing jackpots, which are dual sanctioned by the Alberta and Saskatchewan Barrel Racing Associations are hosted by Deborah Jones. She was the person who came up with the idea four years ago to host a barrel racing series and Oyen’s facility proved to be ideal.
“I strive to make them bigger and better every year,” says Jones, about her finals scheduled for the April 6 weekend.
To qualify to compete in her finals, competitors have had to attend five out of eight of her jackpots. There are a lot of prizes up for grabs including cash, buckles and gear including saddles. The winter series starts in October and runs until the beginning of April.
“I’ve been working hard on the sponsorship and I’m lucky to have people donating,” explains Jones.
Her events attract barrel racers of a variety of skill levels from beginners to experts. That’s because they are set up as a 3D system. Pro-riders would be considered 1D, while those posting slower times rounding the barrels would fall into 2D and 3D respectively. Each level has the same prize payout, and either first to third place receives money or in the youth category the top two spots earn cash.
Peewees are those riders age eight and under, youth are 16 and under while open attracts anyone over the age of 17.
“They get the thrill of competing and they come back,” says Jones.
Competition is more fair as those of similar skill levels are competing against one another.
“It helps build skills and builds self-esteem.”
Those in the open category pay $30 to compete in each jackpot, youth pay $20 and peewees $10. From entry fees some money goes toward the cost of the arena rental and association fees, but the rest is paid out in prize money.
“I promote to have a creative and friendly atmosphere of competition for all ages,” says Jones.
Her formula seems to be working. She attracts between 50 to 55 attendees from throughout southeast and east-central Alberta and southwest Saskatchewan including Leader, Maple Creek, Kindersley, Medicine Hat, Stettler, Drumheller, Provost and Chauvin.
Jones has always been a “horse person.” She herself barrel races and always helps other people with their horses. She brings her two grandchildren with her to the jackpots in Oyen, making the 50-minute drive one way as she lives between Kindersley and Oyen.
“I’m trying to promote a quality activity for families and kids, so kids have a place to start (barrel racing),” explains Jones. “I love doing it.”
She also likes what individuals can learn from the sport.
“You learn to be respectful of animals and other people around you. There’s good camaraderie. Everybody hopes and roots for everybody else.”
Jones also offers clinics on barrel racing and horsemanship and has brought in professional barrel racer Deb Renger to share her expertise.
“She’s an awesome person and a great representative of the sport,” says Jones, about the five-time Canadian Barrel Racing champion.
The Crossroads Centre has turned out to be a great venue for the jackpots. Jones says the facility is central for many of the riders she attracts and is available for use. Many other riding facilities have limited openings for events during the winter months.
“I get a lot of nice comments from people in the area. They’re happy I’m promoting this family-oriented event.”
For more information about the jackpots held at the Crossroads Centre, phone Jones at 403-577-0053.
More information about barrel racing jackpots is available online on either the ABRA website (www.albertabarrel racingassociation.com) under the “jackpots” link or SBRA (www.sask barrelracing.ca) website under the “jackpot listing” link.

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Rose Sanchez

Assistant Managing Editor

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