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2nd annual barrel race set for July 21

By: Scott McLendon

The Tom Harbin Agricultural Center will host the second annual Luverne Barrel Race on July 21 beginning at 5:30 p.m.

“We had this last year and it went over really well, so we thought we would try it again,” said head organizer Jenna Thomas. “I am the secretary for a different type of rodeo event and there are a ton of girls in the area who barrel race. They aren’t really at the level where they can travel several hours to compete, but they wanted somewhere to go; they wanted somewhere to be able to compete. Last year I told them if they will help me put this together, I will do it for them. I have all the equipment and know how to do it.”

There will be two different barrel races. One is an open race, which has no limitation for entrants. The second type of race will be a youth barrel race. This race is for those who are 18 or younger.

“Last year I was really nervous about having a good turnout, but we had around 80 entries, which is very good for something like this. It was run really well and we had no major malfunctions,” Thomas said. “Everybody was happy when they left. Hopefully this year we’ll have that many and maybe more. For the most part this is a girl’s sport, but we do have guys who compete; it’s not limited to just women.”

Entrants who wish to compete in the open barrel race can expect to be charged a $30 fee. Those wishing to take part in the youth race will be charged a $20 fee.

“We don’t pre-enter people,” said Thomas. “This is an event where they show up and enter that night. That’s in case we get rained out or something; we wont have to refund money or anything. I think we can at least get the same turnout as last year, but I’m hoping for about 100 entrants.”

Vendors will be in attendance at the race. Thomas has stated that there isn’t a vendor fee, but vendors are responsible for everything they need.

Tents are discouraged from the event. A tent that isn’t securely fastened to the ground is susceptible to being moved by the wind, which would in turn spook the horses.

“If there’s somebody that wants to come set something up that they want to spread the word about, we’re all for it,” said Thomas. “Each person will be responsible for bringing their own horse. Last year we had people come from West Georgia, Phenix City and Auburn.”

The prizes for first place are cash payouts. For the open barrel race the payout is $500. Winning the youth barrel race will earn you $100.

Both victors will receive a portion of their entry fee along with the payout.

“This year we also have some really cool halters to lead your horses with for the prizes. Being able to offer that prize money and those things helps to draw a bigger crowd.”

The event is absolutely free of charge for spectators. This event is pinned as family friendly as there is no alcohol is involved. A concessions stand will be on site to quench any thirst or quell any hunger that may arise.

“It’s a fun laid back atmosphere for a Friday night. It starts at 8 p.m. because the horses can’t handle running in the heat of the day. We try to push it back as late as we can for it to be cooler for the horses.”