by Catherine Madera
Were it not for the arena walls, the hard riding, gun-toting cowgirl on horseback could have been lifted straight from the pages of a history book. Raw horse-power, guns, and plenty of fun are part of the recipe making up the fastest growing equestrian sport in the nation: mounted shooting. It is just one of the extreme sports featured at the Northwest Washington Horse Expo coming to Lynden, Washington October 5-7. Headlined by Cowboy Hall of Fame clinician Craig Cameron and his Extreme Cowboy Racing, the expo promises to be an inspiring weekend celebrating equine lifestyle and cowboy culture.
A First for Everything
For over a hundred years, thousands in northwest Washington crowd the fairgrounds each August for a week that is jam-packed with outstanding exhibits and entertainment. And with its free horse show attracting 1,000 visitors per day, it was only natural the fairgrounds planned an all-equine event that featured the best. Clearly, the northwest loves horses.
“The Northwest Washington Fair Association is about more than just a six day event in August,” says fair manager Jim Baron. “We want to bring events to the residents that are of interest and may not be available if we did not make the effort to help organize them. We are always asking the question, “what can we do that would be of value to local citizens that is not now available?”
According to Baron and the fair board, the Horse Expo is an answer to that question.
The Cowboy Inside
One of the greatest things about equine expos is that they offer something to both horse owners and horse enthusiasts—those who may not own a horse but have the heart of a cowgirl or cowboy. Extreme Cowboy Racing is an example of something that appeals to anyone who appreciates the bond between horse and rider. A fast-paced, fun event that showcases advanced horsemanship, it is very popular with spectators. First created by Texan Craig Cameron and Ryan Dohrn, the popularity of this sport proves what Cameron believes—“Everybody has a little cowboy inside.”
The expo will feature at least 7 different venues with activities going on all day. Even if you aren’t a cowboy style rider, a wide variety of clinicians will be exhibiting at the expo, truly providing something for everyone. Traditional western style horsemanship and cowboy tradition will be offered by Craig Cameron and Brent Rollins brings some vaquero style techniques with ranch roping. In addition, cow work and reining clinics will be offered by Whatcom County’s own Allison Trimble. A new shooter clinic presented by Heather Gastelum, president of Western Washington Mounted Shooters, will introduce newcomers to this exciting sport. The club is part of the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association.
English style disciplines and all-around horsemanship methods won’t be neglected at the Northwest Horse Expo. Get inspired in your equine partnership by motivational speaker and founder of Resistance Free Horsemanship, Richard Shrake and learn sound, all-around principles for horse training from popular clinician Raye Lochert. Further your English riding skills with show jumping Olympic champion Greg Best. In addition, Whatcom County’s own Kimberly Barber will prove dressage is just “training,” suitable for every horse, as she shares western dressage. Rick Brighton will also be presenting on gaited horses. Give your horsemanship journey a boost by attending a clinic as a spectator or participant and visit the website to sign up to “Ride with the Pros.”
“A horse expo should support and help build and strengthen the horse industry. My goal is to continue to bring high quality horsemen and women to our region to share their unique outlook and horsemanship skills,” says Maryjo Turnbull, the Facility and Equine Events Coordinator. “Personal growth through horsemanship is the miracle that horses offer us.”
Rain or shine, it’s always warm around a cowboy’s campfire. A truly unique and exciting offering at the Northwest Horse Expo is The Encampment, a display put together by the Back Country Horsemen of Washington. There will be wall tents, packing demos with mules and mules on display, Dutch oven cooking demos and sampling, cowboy campfire and music.
After the excitement of extreme equine sports, expo attendees will have the option of unwinding with a bit of shopping at the Equine Emporium which will feature vendors with fencing equipment, trailers, clothing (western & English ), helmets, horse therapy products, nutrition, home décor, and a variety of refreshments including great food, an espresso stand, and kettle corn. In addition, a Book Corral will showcase equine-related books by northwest authors. They include Washington State Governor’s Writers Award winner and a PEN West Center Award finalist Jana Harris who will offer brief presentations on “Writing Horses.”
For more information on the Northwest Horse Expo, including up-to-the-minute events being added, please visit www.nwwafair.com. Save money by purchasing tickets early!
Published September 2012 Issue