Jackpot barrel race celebrates spooky season

·3 min read

The Headless Horseman will be riding through Westman this Hallows’ Eve celebrating the sinister season with a special Halloween Barrel Racing Jackpot.

“We’re hoping that we get the riders and horses decorated up in costumes and coming out to race barrels,” said Lucky Break Ranch owner Kim Richardson. “Let’s decorate them up and have some fun.”

It is the first time Lucky Break Ranch has hosted a costumed barrel race. Richardson said she was inspired to bring her two favourite things — Halloween and horses — together for one event.

“Halloween is the [most fun] time of the year, it’s my favourite holiday. It’s the one day you can be anything you want to be and no one will judge you,” Richardson said.

The ranch held its first barrel race in early October and found success during the jackpot, she said, adding the Halloween event is a bittersweet experience because it will mark the last race at the ranch before winter.

Richardson is creating a costume for her race and is working with her horse to ensure he is comfortable wearing it.

“We did the headless horseman with my black horse,” Richardson said with a laugh.

A costume parade featuring competitors’ Halloween creations will take place after the jackpot around 1 p.m.

“Use your imagination [for the costumes]; get out and have some fun,” she said.

Along with the jackpots, the barrel race will feature a competition for the best horse and rider costume with prizes, and spectators may be invited to race in the arena on their own.

It’s exciting to host barrel races once again, Richardson said. The biggest difference at Lucky Break Ranch is the event is outside in a more rural setting.

“We’re out in the country — it’s quiet, it’s relaxing,” Richardson said.

For those looking to sign up for the event, contact Richardson with your first and last name, the name of the horse that will be racing and competition division: peewee, youth, open or exhibition. The registration fee is $10 to $30 depending on the division.

Races begin at 11 a.m. Sunday with toonie runs, before moving into jackpots.

Spectators are encouraged to come out and enjoy the show, she said, but cautioned to check in ahead of time because capacity limits are in place at the ranch. Attendance priority will be given to competitors during the race.

If the event finds success, Richardson hopes it can become an annual event at the ranch — as long as the weather holds up.

Barrel racing competitors saw many events shut down in 2020 and 2021. Richardson said they are glad to be able to gather, while following public health measures, to celebrate a sport they love.

Richardson added the race also serves as an important opportunity for the horses to get the feel of going to a new place, meeting new horses and animals and racing in an unfamiliar ring, while giving riders a chance to reconnect with others.

“We need that as people. We’re not meant to be cooped up. Like horses, people are herd animals, too. We need to be able to do stuff like this,” Richardson said. “We can’t just sit around … and think we’re going to keep our mental health.”

Lucky Break Ranch has been operating for seven years. Barrel racing jackpots are a new addition to the acreage thanks to a recently constructed outdoor arena.

“It’s a huge arena. You could have two standard patterns out there and still have room,” Richardson said. “It’s only right to share it and get people out and doing stuff.”

The goal at Lucky Break Ranch is to bring people together, Richardson said, explaining they have facilitated different horse events, including jackpots, summer camps, trail rides and equine therapy.

Keep an eye on the Lucky Break Ranch Facebook page for more details or any changes to the upcoming Halloween Barrel Racing Jackpot.

» ckemp@brandonsun.com

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Chelsea Kemp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun

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