Youth world barrel racing draws thousands - - Jackson, MS

Youth world barrel racing draws thousands

By Cheryl Lasseter - bio | email

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - The Mississippi State Fairgrounds is setting the stage for the youth world championships in barrel horse racing, a sport that's not for the faint of heart.

Contestants come from all over the world to kick up dirt at the Kirk Fordice Equine Center on the fairgrounds.  90 percent of them are girls, and they have this in common.

"Most of all, guts," said National Barrel Horse Association Executive Director Sherry Gulmer.  "If you have three trash cans and a horse with some spirit and a child with some spirit, you can do it."

This is the 2010 Youth Barrel horse World Championships, a big event for the competitors, the families who are cheering them on and the City of Jackson itself.

About 3,000 people converge here at the fairgrounds for the eight-day competition, which is expected to rake in about $1.8 million for the City of Jackson.

"All the motels around are completely full.  Restaurants are staying pretty well packed," said State Fairgrounds Commission Director Billy Orr.

Visitors who aren't staying in hotels are living in their own trailers on site.  The fairgrounds has become a small village where everyone feels at home, even 14-year-old Jordin Moore.

"I live in Holland, Queensland, Australia," said Moore.

She's here with four other Australian teammates, and it's her first time overseas.

"It's definitely not as big as over here, but there are in a normal day, 30-40 competitors.  Here it's just huge," said Moore.  "I was definitely nervous when I first went because I've only run the horse a few times.  Today (Wednesday) I'm more excited.  I wanna get it done, see how I go.

Moore hopes to survive the elimination round to make it to the finals on Saturday.

1,800 competitors will be whittled down to about 300, all looking to claim the title of world champion.

The barrel horse championships may be the largest convention in Jackson this year.

The Fairgrounds Commission had to set up 1,800 horse stables just to accommodate all of the animals.

The finals will take place on Saturday, and tickets run about eight dollars.

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