LUMBERTON — Hundreds of riders and their horses will be racing into the Southeastern North Carolina Agriculture Center on Friday for the first of two Winter Team Roping and Barrel Racing Series events held by the Eleven Bar East Ranch of Sanford.
The first event runs from Friday through Sunday and will feature team roping beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday, team roping beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, and a barrel racing exhibition beginning at 10 a.m. on Sunday followed by the barrel racing show at 2 p.m. that day. The second weekend of the event will be held Feb. 15 through Feb. 17.
Participants will compete for $8,000 cash and prizes, including eight Maynard Buckles awarded to the top barrel racers and three High Point Saddles awarded to the top team ropers.
Chad Shepard, manager of Eleven Bar East Ranch, expects to have about 500 team ropers and about 200 barrel racers participate in this year’s events. There is no cost to attend.
“You know it’s going to be good for a family, for people, to come out and watch and enjoy and to see some really nice horses,” Shepard said.
During the barrel racing competition, a rider and a horse attempt to complete a clover-leaf pattern around barrels in the fastest time. The event tests a horse’s athletic ability and the rider’s horsemanship.
During the roping competition, teams of two riders compete to rope a steer in the fastest time. One of the riders is a “header” who ropes the front of the steer, and the other, a “healer,” binds the hind feet.
Cecil Jackson, vice president of the Border Belt Horseman’s Association, said that riders and their horses will come from as far away as Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia and Florida. He said some local people will also be competing.
“I think it gives the people a chance to see what roping and barrel racing is and it takes two people to do the roping,” Jackson said. “It’s a team effort and it kind of gives them the old history on how they went out west and roped the cattle. It’s exciting to see how these guys and how talented they are.”
For information, or to reserve stalls and camper hookups, call Shepard at 813-477-4740.