Many Rim Country residents saddle up their horses, put on their spurs and kick up dust every Tuesday evening at the Payson Event Center.
The 7D Barrel and Pole Series has a place for everyone, no matter their experience. Participants can simply get out and exercise, perfect and develop their skills — or their horse’s skills — or compete for ribbons and other prizes.
“A huge community event,” said Kaprice Bachtell, Event Center coordinator.
This Tuesday night event is a seven-division buckle series determined by points and times, not by age, explained Bachtell. Every week, the top three barrel and pole winners in each division earns a ribbon. At the end of the season, the top rider in each division will receive a belt buckle, while the others will get different awards, such as saddle blankets.
Interestingly, Bachtell said people drive in from Mesa, Queen Creek and Taylor to participate. Bachtell said she enjoys Tuesday evenings because it brings “the community together.”
Right now, Tuesday nights feature an average of 40 barrel racers and 20 riders who run poles. Bachtell hopes to see an increase in participants as the season continues. Some of those who are currently joining in the fun are as young as 5 years old.
“Beginners ... [and] pros can come out — it’s welcome to everybody,” Bachtell said.
Bachtell said the books open at 4 p.m., “time onlys” run from 4:15 p.m. to 6 p.m., and the competitions start around 6:30.
Registration is available online, or you can come down and register at the Parks, Recreation and Tourism office, located in Green Valley Park.
“I’m really excited about this season. I am thankful for all the participants coming out and supporting our programs,” concluded Bachtell.