By Tim Kalinowski
The Dunmore Equestrian Society played host to its first major event at its new riding facility on Labour Day last Monday. About 180 riders took part in the first annual Memory Lane Memorial Barrel Race.
The day chosen for the event could not have been more appropriate as the riding academy has been the product of many years of dedicated volunteer labour to get to this point, said Blair Reed, president of the Dunmore Equestrian Society.
“It’s very rewarding for the all the volunteers who have stepped up to the plate and helped out,” said Reed. “It’s kind of a dream come true for a lot of people, and now to see the interest in it— we know it has all been worthwhile.”
Reed felt the Memorial Barrel Race was just the thing to get the new arena started out on the right foot for both the venue and the local community.
“It’s awesome. There’s close to 200 barrel racers here and every one of them has got a trailer. They are going to be buying gas across the road here when they go home. It’s awesome for the community and it’s great to see these young kids here doing the junior barrel racing here as well. That’s the future of the sport. And it all starts here in Dunmore… It’s a great start, for sure.”
Andrea Udall was the main organizer for the event. She said when Memory Lane Memorial Team-Roping organizer George Schreiner originally called her up and asked her to spearhead the Memorial Barrel Race, she couldn’t say no.
“I am so excited to have this facility! I live in Maple Creek, and we don’t have an indoor facility, and I am here to support this spot to build an indoor arena.”
Udall was blown away by the number of riders coming out to this inaugural race. To her mind, it bodes well for the future of her sport and other horse-related activities in southern Alberta and southwest Saskatchewan.
“There are facilities all over Alberta, but southern Alberta has really struggled to have any kind of (riding) facility. Between Swift Current and Calgary there is not much. This will be important place for our entire community.”