From fair to barrels, Perry readies for horse championships

awoolen@macon.comOctober 23, 2013 

PERRY -- Once the Georgia National Fair is finished, workers do not breathe a sigh of relief. That’s because they have a little more than a week to get ready for the World Championships of the National Barrel Horse Association.

The show is so large, the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter has to put up a temporary building for an extra 253 horse stalls.

More than 1,200 horses and their riders are scheduled to start arriving Saturday.

“It’s about the same as last year,” said Jim Floyd of the number of entries the fairgrounds has received for the stalls.

The concrete floor of Reaves Arena also needed a bit of work for the show.

About 130 truckloads of dirt were brought into the arena to fill it with about 14 inches of dirt.

The first loads consisted of clay, which was the bottom layer and dumped into three different spots where the barrels would go.

“It’s a lot more trouble but well worth it for the footing because whoever wins here is the world champion,” said Gary Glasscock, director of operations at the fairgrounds. He has been working with fairs since 1979 and was with the Florida State Fair before moving to Georgia.

It takes nearly two days to be able to get the footing back into Reaves and then leveled out, Glasscock said. Workers have 12-hour shifts to get ready for the show.

This is the fourth year the championships have been held in Perry.

Vendors will also be available during the show in the Multipurpose Livestock building.

The show estimates $300,000 will be paid to winners during the seven-day event, which starts Sunday.

Spectator arm bands are $35 for the week or $8 per day. Children 6 and under are free. The racing starts at 8 a.m. each day.

For more information call 706-823-3728 or visit www.nbha.com.

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