Youth equestrians make time at the National Barrel Horse Assoc. District Finals in Soldotna.
The rainy weather broke just long enough last week for the National Barrel Horse Association (NBHA) to hold the Alaska District Finals Championship in Soldotna. “It was rainy last year too, but we’ve worked hard to get the grounds ready and with the help of our member volunteers and Alaska Sureseal we’re in good shape and ready to race,” said Karen Jensen, AK 01 District Director prior to opening ceremonies. Riders ranged in age from 11 to adults, with youth 18 and under competing and adults 18 and over in a separate class. According to Jensen club member, they have been riding every Wednesday night to beat their times and qualify for the District Finals. “We doubled our membership this year and these kids have been working their butts off every Wednesday to improve their times, they ride almost every day throughout the summer to prepare for the Wednesday night races,” said Jensen.
District riders were running for a new saddle and a chance to compete in the State Championships, “Due to our generous sponsors we will be able to purchase 8 saddles for the champions in each division and awards through 5th place in each division,” said Jensen. Shawnacee Brooks, a Skyview senior was competing for the first time this year, “My horse is a mixed Arabian and he does okay when he wants to do okay, so hopefully today he’ll do okay, I’m going to ride hard and push him. I’ve been riding for 5 years but this my first time to compete in the NBHA finals,” said Brooks, who went on to win the 4D District Championship. Other 1st place finisher's were Mellissa Fowler, Amber Davis, JoAnn McWhorter, Brandi Aldridge, Jake Fowler, Ciarra McKenzie, and Brittney Morris. Reserve champions were Becky West, Chelsey Hackett, Beth Fowler, Tina Williamson, Ciarra McKenzie, Kassy Ferganchick, Laura McKenna, Cheyenne McGrane, and Nathan Carrico.
Saddles and other awards will be presented at the Soldotna Equestrian Assoc. awards banquet. The NBHA State Finals will be held at the Soldotna Equestrian Assoc. Park Saturday, September 16, at 1:00pm and the public is welcome to attend. Interested barrel racers or anyone wishing to learn more about NBHA may log on to www.nbha.com or call AK 01district director, Karen Jensen at 262-7070.
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