Kira Stowell displaying her buckle winning form as she manoeuvres her horse through the poles. Karen Powell photo

Quesnel Rodeo kicks off with gymkhana event

Winners took home shiny belt buckles for their efforts

The Quesnel Rodeo hosted its first every gymkhana at Alex Fraser Park on Thursday night (July 19) to kick off the weekend’s festivities.

The threat of a thunderstorm and the draw of Crash To Pass up the hill resulted in a fairly quiet affair for the equestrians.

Just 11 contestants took part in the event, which drew a small crowd of supporters who were barely noticeable on the park’s bandstands.

That didn’t stop the participants from North Cariboo and Bouchie Lake’s gymkhana clubs from giving it their all, however.

Riders and their horses put forth their best efforts in every event, which included pole-bending, keyhole racing and barrel racing.

Overall winners took home a shiny belt buckle for their achievements, while runners-up were able to take home some prize money to offset their entry fee into the competition.

READ MORE: Quesnel Rodeo celebrates 53 years of rough and tumble fun

Kira Stowell placed first overall for competitors aged seven to 12, Janae Whittet won for 13-17 and Lonnie Stowell claimed victory for the 18 and over group.

Whittet, 14, is from Quesnel and loves barrel racing and English riding.

She wore a purple checkered shirt and was a natural at navigating her horse around barrels as well as pushing it when it came time to race back to the line.

“I feel it went pretty good actually,” she says when asked about her performance.

“It was probably one of my better runs and getting the big prize is exciting.”

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Janae Whittet, 14, whips around a barrel during Thursday’s Gymkhana event at Alex Fraser Park. Ronan O’Doherty photo

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