PERRY -- For the first time, the National Barrel Horse Association Youth World Championships are being held at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter in Perry.
With 1,750 competitors from five countries and 41 U.S. states, the event is the largest horse show the agricenter has ever hosted.
Weve got all 1,772 stalls rented, said Jim Floyd, agriculture and youth director at the fairgrounds.
The line to get into the center Saturday was backed up to Elko Road at most times during the day.
The staff at the fairgrounds volunteered to help during the check-in day. Executive Director Randy Moore was standing at a corner of the site directing traffic. Foster Rhodes, vice chairman of the Georgia Agricultural Exposition Authority, was selling shavings for the stalls.
About 6,500 bags of shavings had been sold in the first two days. Floyd expected the number to double by the end of the show.
Sherry Fulmer, executive director of the NBHA, estimated there were 10,000 people in attendance Monday.
She said by the end of the show, almost 50,000 would have attended the seven-day event.
The championship is a culmination of events for youths ages 5 through 18.
The top five riders in a district qualified by points to be invited to the world youth event.
Our contestants are delighted to be here, Fulmer said.
Riders compete in a cloverleaf pattern around three barrels. Contestants are not judged; the rides are based on time.
Winners receive a horse trailer, saddle and belt buckle.
The top 300 horse/rider combinations will participate in Saturdays finals, which start at noon.
From the smallest participant to the high school student, the show features the top riders from the world in attendance with the best horses.
We call it the greatest show on hooves, Fulmer said.
The cost is $10 per person, per day.
For additional information, call (706) 823-3728 or visit www.nbha.com.