Racing in the Rockies Barrel racing series wrapping up for the summer |

Racing in the Rockies Barrel racing series wrapping up for the summer

Allison Ildefonso
Special to the Free Press
Sophia Wiltfang of Fruita competes in a barrel racing contest in Craig, Colo. in June.
Verl Luppes Photography |

Racing in the Rockies’ Summer Barrel Series is coming to an end, with its second-to-last race weekend on Aug. 29-30 at the Mesa County Fairgrounds, located at 2785 Highway 50 in Grand Junction.

Terri Gold, who grew up with horses and competing in rodeos, started Racing in the Rockies about 15 years ago. She produces races across the Western Slope, predominantly all at county fairgrounds.

Barrel racing is a timed event that involves an individual and their horse racing a cloverleaf pattern around three barrels, where the fastest time wins. Saturday’s events will begin at 4 p.m. with practice runs and ride sessions, an hour of arena prep starting at 6 p.m. and competitions at 7 p.m. Sunday’s competitions will begin at 10 a.m.

“Each girl is riding a horse that they’ve either trained, or bought trained, and it’s a race against the clock,” said Mary Anderson, who has raced horses for 47 years and has been with Racing in the Rockies since its’ beginning. “(Each race is) about 15 to 17 seconds worth of excitement.”

Competitions are broken up into several divisions, including open class, senior class and youth class, with paybacks for each group of people. Participants pay their entry fee, with an additional $500 of prize money added to those fees each day. Prize money is split up depending on each participant’s placings and divisions, and then is paid back to competition winners.

“We all are like a family,” Anderson said. “We all race together and we encourage and cheer for each other, and everybody helps each other, which doesn’t always happen in some competitive sports.”

The last competition in the Summer Barrel Series will take place at Rifle’s Garfield County Fairgrounds Sept. 19-20.

“We’ve been keeping points all year, and the individuals that have the highest amount of points in their divisions will win trophy saddles, buckles [and] awards,” Gold said. “We probably give away about $10,000 at the conclusion of that race to those who have participated all summer.”

Entry fees are $50 per day, per person, and can be completed online at Anyone is welcome to compete; however, experience riding and racing a horse is advisable.

“We always welcome new faces,” Gold said.

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