Kersley Horse Club rides for Kelly Garvin

Barrel and pole racers got together to raise funds for one of their own, Kelly Garvin, who is in the hospital.

A good community, while nice to have in good times, is indispensable when times take a darker turn. It is during those darker turnings that a tight community will lend support and prove its value over and over again.

Like any good community then, the Quesnel barrel racers have stepped up to take care of one of their own.

Kelly Garvin has been around the Kersley Horse Club long enough that she has become an intrinsic part of it. Most recently she’s been involved through her daughter.

“Kelly and her famous smile became a familiar site in the grandstands, cheering for all the competitors as well as her daughters,” Melissa Sword wrote in an email.

Garvin showed great determination working with her daughter’s horses to get them in podium-winning shape. Now though, she faces a much more difficult challenge in the sickness which has her in the hospital.

In this time of need her community rallied around her, doing what they do best: racing horses. This time, though, they had a purpose bigger than winning, Chelsea Brears, president of the Kersley Horse Club and one of the organizers of the event, said.

“From very young, doubling with mom, to grandmothers and grandfathers, we rode for Kelly Garvin this weekend and we are proud,” Brears said.

The outpouring of love and help from the community at the fundraiser was great enough to shock Brears.

“It was unreal–we were blown away,” she said.

Saturday and Sunday riders paid their fees to compete in barrel racing and poles, many of whom either had no intention of racing, the fee then, in effect, becoming a donation, or waived their right to their winnings, donating them, instead, to

Kelly Garvin and her family.

The riding fees, however, weren’t the only donations to the family.

There was also a silent auction people could bid on, with products from local retailers.

The money from those who didn’t ride, or waived their cash prizes, along with the silent auction, was approximately $8,000 dollars, Brears said.

In and around the barrel racing, others did their part to push that total up higher.

The waiting staff of Mr. Mikes donated tips, Robyn Mumford donated half of the price she was asking for photos during the event and, finally, Tom and Melissa Sword donated a horse to be auctioned off.

All told the donations, including the riding fees and silent auction, have piled up to over $11,000, though the number is still not set in stone as there is still some math that needs to be done.

Participants in the fundraiser were more varied than the average barrel race would suggest. Mother, with young children in front of them on the horse, trotted their way around barrels. Cowboys who had never barrel raced tried their hands at the unknown sport, while ladies who were comfortable on a fast horse held the reins for children and jogged around the barrels beside them. On Sunday they

did away with horses entirely to run the course and see how those horse felt.

So, though the cause was serious, the mood at the fundraiser felt joyful.

“We tried to keep it light for the family,” Brears said.

Adding later, “It wasn’t for the book – it was just about making money for the family”

And, as the family faces a long, expensive battle the money will help alleviate financial woes so the Garvin family can focus on what’s important.

Brears visited Garvin after the event to tell her the good news and give her a card from the Kersley club.

“She gave us a big smile,” said Brears.

If you want to help keep that smile on Garvin’s face you can donate at the Credit Union, who has set up an account for her. Donations should be made out ot the the Kelly Garvin Healing Fund, the account number for which is 80313536. Bracelets are being sold

at the Credit Union and also at Attitude South Hair salon. The bracelets are $5 and say ‘Fight Like a Mom Kelly Garvin’.

More photos on A23.

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