Over 200 riders showed up from across B.C. for the BC Barrel Racing Association’s Stampede Warm Up Race this weekend.
Riders and their horses billeted overnight for this weekend-long event just two weeks away from the Williams Lake Stampede at the end of June. Members of the public and the riders’ families lined the bleachers to cheer them on through this event.
Organizer Lori Rankin, a longtime barrel race organizer in and around the lakecity, said that they started hosting the event about seven years ago and that it usually attracts about 200 riders or more every year. She said that overall, she felt the event had gone really good and that the organizers were thankful for the beautiful weather they enjoyed.
After the fire seasons of 2017 and 2018, however, many of the barrel racers wanted to do something more on this weekend.
“The girls wanted to do something to celebrate that Williams Lake survived the fires, so we had the first After Burn last year. It’s a slot race where the entry fees are higher than a normal barrel race, so the pot is really large,” Rankin explained.
At this year’s After Burn on Sunday, June 16, all 200 riders will be competing against one another for the $30,000 payout, Rankin said. The races kick off at 10 a.m. and should run for about five hours, with Rankin predicting they’ll be done around 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
“(Rode and barrel racing is) a really good fun family event, so if you’re looking for something to do that’s interesting, fun and competitive, come on down,” Rankin said.
Rankin wished to thank the sponsors of both the warm-up race and the After Burn, with almost $4,000 contributed to the event by local buisnesses alone.