Buckle Series A Thursday Night Hit

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Record numbers of participants and spectators are turning out for the Town of Payson Buckle Series of barrel racing and pole bending events.

"Attendance has almost doubled from what it was last year," said Parks and Recreation Special Events Coordinator Charlene Hunt.

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Barrel racing is popular Thursday evening activity at the Payson Event Center. The weekly races are sponsored by the parks and recreation department.

She estimates that for each competition, about 85 racers turn out.

The racing began in early June at the Payson Event Center and will continue at 7 p.m. each Thursday until July 29.

Books open for registration at 6 p.m. The registration fee is $5 Following the final competition, Hunt will award custom-made California Gist buckles to the winners in each of the five age groups.

"We have five more races before the final winners will be announced," Hunt said.

She also anticipates that after a brief recess from competition, the events will start up again in September, but will be held on Wednesday evenings.

For this year's series, Hunt added two age groups to the divisions that were used last year in the series' inaugural competition.

The five age groups are now 8-years-and-under, 9 to 12-years, 13 to 17-years, 18 to 39 years and 40-years-and-over.

The most popular age group is the 13 to 17-years division that drew 24 contestants to the June 24 competition.

In that division, Candace Bullard is leading the barrel racing and Amber Marshall is the pace setter in pole bending.

Among the 8-years-and-under racers, Chelsie Stodghill is the front runner in both the barrels and pole bending.

Skye McNeeley currently is in first place in the 9-12-years barrels and pole bending. Among the 18 contestants entered in the 18-39-years division, Chancy Brown leads in barrels and Riley Miller is first in pole bending.

Melanie McNeeley leads the 40-years-and-over barrel racers and Deanna Hale is top dog among the pole benders.

More individual standings

Standings through 6-24-04

8 and Under:

Barrels: Bryce Stodghill, 2nd; Taylor Randall, 3rd; Cassidy Tidwell and Ali Tenney, 4th and 5th; Julie Gibson and Kelsy Tidwell, tied for 6th and 7th. Pole Bending: Chelsie Stodghill, 1st; Taylor Randall, 2nd,; Bryce Stodghill, 3rd; Cassidy Tidwell, 4th; Julie Gibson, 5th; Kelsy Tidwell, 6th; Ali Tenney and Rachel Turner, tied for 7th.

9-12 Years:

Barrels: Cierra Tidwell and Emma Randall (tie for 2nd, 3rd place); Randi Brown, 4th; Destiny Wagenknechi, 5th; Scout Harper, 6th; Christy Kundelay, 7th. Pole Bending: Emma Randall, 2nd; Randi Brown, 3rd; Cierra Tidwell, 4th; Kevin Waterman, 5th; Scout Harper, 6th; Valynda Belcher, 7th.

13-17 Years:

Barrels: Whitney Mathews, 2nd; Breianon Miller, 3rd; Amber Marshall, 4th; Sami Novak, 5th; Amanda Haworth, 6th; Kayce Waterman, 7th. Pole Bending Candace Bullard, 2nd; Kayce Waterman, 3rd; Cydney Figueroa, 4th; Breianon Waterman, 5th; Jordynn Runzo and Jessy Wedell, tied for 6th and 7th.

18-39 Years:

Barrels: Lori Brown, 2nd; Jessie Brown, Riley Miller, Megan Ward and Tammy Young, tied for 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th; Lindi Parker, 7th. Pole Bending: Riley Miller, 1st; Lori Brown, 2nd; Chancy Brown, 3rd; Lindi Parker, 4th; Megan Ward, 5th; Jessie Brown and Falicia D'Addabbo, tied for 6th and 7th.

40 and Over:

Barrels: Deanna Hale, 2nd; Sally Wills, 3rd; Leslie Thompson and April Barner (tied for 4th and 5th); Peggy Randall and Dee Dee Stodghill, (tied for 6th and 7th). Pole Bending: Melanie McNeeley, 2nd; April Barner, 3rd; Leslie Thompson, 4th; Sally Wills, 5th; Dee Dee Stodghill, 6th; Margaret Parker and Peggy Randall (tied for 7th).

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