A Fruitvale woman is in the hunt for a berth in the Calgary Stampede.
Amateur barrel racer Hunter Weishaupt will compete at the Calgary Stampede Ladies Barrel Racing Qualifier at the Daines Rodeo Ranch in Innisfail, AB, June 27-28, for a chance to ride in the world’s greatest rodeo.
“It would mean the world to me If I got to compete in the Calgary Stampede,” Hunter told the Times. “I have always dreamed of running there since I was a little girl and an opportunity like this never happens.”
The 19-year-old rider along with her horse Mika will race against the top amateurs in Canada and the Pacific Northwest, with up to 400 riders competing.
Barrel racing is one of the most thrilling rodeo events, and one in which only women compete. Competitors explode off the start on horseback and circle three barrels in a cloverleaf pattern. A downed barrel results in a five-second penalty and an incorrect pattern means disqualification.
The rider and horse must work in tandem, maxing out the horse’s speed and agility with the incredible horsemanship skills of the rider.
The event format is based on a first Go Round, progressive semi-finals and final. Calgary Stampede Qualified positions will be based on a three-run average, with the top five advancing to the Stampede, where they’ll run against the world’s top professional riders.
An experienced and eminently skilled rider, Hunter has been competing in barrel racing and rodeo since she was 10, but was slowed last year by the pandemic when rodeos across Canada were shut down for the season.
The unprecedented Innisfail event is the result of COVID, which the Stampede organized as a one-time event for amateurs to enter.
The rare opportunity to ride in the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth” does come at a cost and Hunter is looking for more community support to help her get to the show.
“With your help this may be a reality for a small-town local girl to run with the big dogs at the largest rodeo in the world,” she said.
If successful, sponsors’ logos will get prime real estate on Hunter’s rodeo shirts and on her trailer, in addition to a large sign thanking her sponsors on her stall.
“I want to thank all my sponsors,” added Hunter. “I have been wanting to attend the stampede just as a spectator, but if my first time at the stampede is myself competing in it that would be a dream come true!”
The Calgary Stampede runs July 9 to 18.
For more info on supporting Hunter and Mika, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.