Nearly 2,000 children from all around the world congregated in Perry to compete for their chance at running the fastest time around three barrels.
The National Barrel Horse Association Youth World Championship is being held this week at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter from July 19-25 with the final rounds being held Saturday afternoon.
“This is our largest show in the U.S.,” said NBHA national show manager Paul Stanley.
Already the record for the fastest time in Reaves Arena was set with a 14.428, which was run by Michael Duffie of South Carolina on his horse Reclaim Fame.
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The youth division is made up of riders 12 and under with the teen division for riders ages 13-18. Both groups were up in numbers this year from the previous year.
“I think a lot of it can be attributed to the facility,” Stanley said.
He went on to say that a lot of people used this week as a time for a family vacation. Many stay on the show grounds in RVs or horse trailers and socialize at night, bringing swimming pools and large televisions.
Although Monica Gordon didn’t have to travel very far, the 12-year-old was still excited about attending her third youth world event.
“This is the highlight of her year,” said her mother Katie Gordon.
The Gordons just moved from Elko to Unadilla and still keep their horses in Elko.
Monica Gordon brought three horses to try her run at the final day at the chance to be one of the 150 called back for the youth. The teen division will take the top 200 times.
While on her mother’s gray mare, Good Time Nonstop, Monica was a little nervous in the holding area. Minnie, as she is called in the barn, was a bit antsy, and Monica had only ridden the horse a few times.
On her gelding, UGA Saint Patrick on Sunday, she ran a 15.098.
Nineteen riders from the local area will compete in Perry this week along with others from across the U.S. and other countries.
Panama, Brazil, Canada, France and Australia will be represented at the championships.
Each rider has two chances to qualify for the finals. The show has about 700 runs each day during the week.
Wednesday night is free for the public, which includes a parade of states and countries as well as guest speaker, world-renowned barrel racer Martha Josey.
All of the fun and practice comes down to one thing: winning it all.
“The goal is to get to Saturday afternoon,” Stanley said.
To watch the show live, visit www.barrelhorsenews.com/bhn-webcasts.