For those looking for a little more fast-paced action at this year’s Harvest Fair, multiple equestrian events are ready to ride.
Saturday’s Harvest Fair schedule kicks off with cattle sorting at the Williams Lake Stampede rodeo arena, followed by a reining show from noon to 3 p.m. at the Indoor Trail Riders Arena.
Sunday, the equestrian-themed events wrap up with a gymkhana beginning at 11 a.m. at the outdoor Trail Riders Arena.
LeeAnn Crosina, who is helping to head up the cattle sorting and gymkhana events, said cash will be up for grabs in both events, and added she’s expecting a fun-filled, spectator-friendly weekend.
“In sorting we’re going to do a round robin this year, which is a little bit different,” Crosina said.
Twenty-four riders will be split into four groups and pools of six. Each rider will compete with each of the five other riders in their pool, where each will tally an individual cattle sort total. From there, the top two in each of the four pools with the most cattle sorted in each pool will square off in the final with the payout going to the top riders with the most cattle sorted.
“It’s interesting because they will have to ride with everyone in their little group, which makes it an individual thing as to who gets the most cows at the end of the day,” she said.
Cash payout will be $1,800 split between the top eight competitors.
As for the gymkhana events, they will include barrel racing, pole bending, stake racing, keyhole and speed barrels.
Participants are asked to arrive at 10 a.m. Saturday morning for registration, with the event getting underway around 11 a.m.
The gymkhana will feature participants of all ages, from “little ones right up to over 40,” Crosina said, in five age groups.
“All the entry money will be paid out to competitors,” she said, noting it will cost $25 to enter for the day. “Also, $500 is being added from the Harvest Fair to the pot.”
New this year to the Harvest Fair will be the first ever reining show, hosted by the Williams Lake Reiners.
Members of the Western Canadian Reining Association, this will be the group’s fourth and final show this year.
Laurie Brown, vice president of the WLR, said everyone’s looking forward to this weekend and to being a part of the Harvest Fair for the first time.
“Our club has kind of been off and on for a while, but we’ve been officially running it for three years now,” Brown said.
Saturday’s reining show will be one of the group’s schooling shows where anyone is welcome to enter.
For anyone interested in taking in the show, reining is a judged event designed to show athletic ability for ranch-type horses within a show arena. Riders select a pattern which includes, for example, small, slow circles, fast circles, flying lead changes, roll backs and spins.
“But a big thing about reining is the sliding stops,” Brown said. “It takes a lot of practice, a lot of commitment and something can take years to build up to get to where you want to be.
“This weekend we’ll have two judges in the arena and they’ll judge everyone’s pattern to see what their horsemanship skills are like. They’re looking at a smooth transition between horse and rider.”
Brown added they’re especially excited about the event as multiple youth participants are scheduled to take part.
“It’s just really cool, and amazing to watch,” she said.
Participants are asked to arrive at the Trail Riders Arena for around 11 a.m. for registration. The cost is a $15 chapter fee to the WCRA, plus $10 for each class entered.
“We’re excited,” she said. “We’re hoping to get some new participants out, as we’re still regrowing the club. Reining was really big here in Williams Lake years ago, so we hope to get it back.”