Bullet News BRUSSELS –First-time rider Huron County warden Bernie MacLennan will attempt to manoeuvre a cloverleaf pattern atop his steed, foundation quarter horse Buster, in the fastest time during celebrity barrel racing competition tonight.
With two hours of horse riding instruction under his belt, he’ll dust off a pair of cowboy boots and don a wide-brimmed hat to compete against nine other beginner riders during timed barrel racing and pole bending in a makeshift arena created in a field north of McDonald’s Hardware.
The riders are competing for charity during the Brussel’s 140th Homecoming, which has a western theme this year, featuring the Boothill Bash, with a great lineup of horse events. There will also be sanctioned competitions with the Southern Ontario Cattle Sorting Association and the Ontario Reined Cowboy Association, plus beer garden, food and plenty more. For a complete list of events, please click here.
“It’s for a charity and I’m gonna do it,” said MacLellan, who was volunteered for the event. He is also mayor of the Municipality of Huron East, where Brussels in located.
In professional competition, riders come out of the centre of the arena at top speed, before taking the key first barrel, then race to the remaining barrels in times that hover around the dozen-second mark.
MacLellan expects to get his horse up to a lope as he tries to win top prize to donate to Huron County Food County. In addition, he’ll set up a table at the ball diamond at 6:30 p.m. to accept donations.
“Some of these people have competed before. Those who are keener have a tendency to have more errors. Whereas the newer riders are more cautious and there’s penalties for having errors,” said Jo-Anne Workman, a horse woman who gave MacLellan instruction at her farm, Turkey Run Ranch. Knocking over a barrel will cost riders five seconds in competition where professional riders complete the course around a dozen seconds.
“Even if you’re a slow rider, you may be faster than the guy that knocked three down,” she said.
In the second event, pole bending, riders weave a path around six poles set in a line, hoping to complete the task in the fastest time. Again, there is a five-second penalty for each six-foot pole that’s knocked down.
Other competitors include: Carolyn Parks Mintz, author; Bryanne McKague, Teeswater Farmall Tractors; Cory Campbell, Brussels’ Optimists; John Gillis, Brussels’ Lions; Sarah Van Norman, Huron County OPP; Doug Sholdice, Brussels Fire Department; Lisa Thompson, Huron-Bruce MPP; Lisa Glanville, Brussels Legion; and Hannah McCutcheon, Brussels’ Ambassador of the Fair.
Opening ceremonies for Brussels 140th Homecoming will be held at the ball diamond, starting at 7 p.m. Barrel racing and pole bending competition begins at 7:30 p.m.