Town Barrel Racing, Pole Bending Series Begins Next Week

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In founding the Buckle Series of barrel racing and pole bending, Charlene Hunt hopes to fill a void in the Rim country recreation scene.

"We want to take care of the needs of the local horse people," she said. "We'll provide for them and if they (the series) go over well, we can open it up statewide."

With the first event not slated until June 4, Hunt says she has no way to gauge how the inaugural series will be received.

But, her best guess is that the events will grow in popularity throughout the summer.

Competitions begin at 7 p.m., June 4, 11, 18, 25 and July 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 at the Payson Event Center.

Registration will begin at 6 p.m. The entry fee is $5 per rider for either barrels or poles. If contestants wish to compete for time only, the fee is $3.

Riders will participate in one of three age groups -- 12-years-and-under, 13-years to 17-years or 18-years-and-over.

Because the event is town-sponsored, the jackpot format of awarding prize money normally associated with such events cannot be held. Instead, the P&R department will award prizes the conclusion of the series.

"Buckles will be given at the final event to the winners of both barrels and pole bending," Hunt said. "Other awards will be given for second through fifth places."

For those who participate in all nine of the events, but do not place in the top-five, Hunt will award consolation prizes.

For those unfamiliar with the sport of pole bending, Hunt said it's an event that requires riders to weave their horses through a series of six poles spaced 21 feet apart. As in barrel racing, the contestants with the quickest times are declared winners.

Complete event rules are available at the parks and recreation department at Green Valley Park.

Call Hunt at 474-5242, ext 358 for more information.

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