The first Copper Spring Classic Barrel Races will be held at the Circle L Arena near Belgrade, MT, on June 2-3, with more than 200 contestants expected for this benefit event that is planned to help needy ranch families.
With contestants expected from Montana and a number of western states, the two-day classic features not only barrel races, but a horsemanship and barrel racing clinic, exhibitions and cowboy church services. Admission is free.
On June 2, the schedule includes a free horsemanship-barrel racing clinic, along with exhibitions, a 4D 'Chinks and Church Race' with $1,000 added, and a cowboy church service.
On June 3, the day begins with exhibitions from 7-11 a.m., followed by a church service, Peewee race at 12:30 p.m. and the Open 5D races at 1 p.m. - with $5,000 added - along with a Women's Professional Rodeo Association (WRPA) and a youth side pot.
The event is being sanctioned by the WPRA, Northwest Barrel Racing Association (NWBRA) and the "U" Barrel Racing Championships (UBRC).
Organizers are Lisa Anderson of Bozeman, MT, and Lana Tibbetts of Terry, MT, expect a large turnout of contestants for the open barrel race.
Anderson, trains and competes on Copper Spring Ranch's speed-bred barrel horses at rodeos, barrel futurities and derbies in the west and serves as an assistant manager of the ranch.
Planned as an annual event, the Classic is following a long-standing popular tradition in the southwest where rodeo events are combined with benefits to assist needy ranch families of western heritage. At the same time, the Copper Spring Classic provides the vehicle for giving Christian ministry to horse community participants.
"We've been involved in events like this in Texas and have enjoyed the combination of the Christian fellowship and rodeo competition with hundreds of like-minded ranch families who share our common values," Anderson said.
In conjunction with the Classic preparation, two nationally recognized arena preparation and barrel racing production experts from D and G Barrel Productions of Henrietta, TX, were at Copper Spring Ranch and Circle L Arena to provide suggestions for ground work for the event. They were Phil Goostree and Chuck Dunn who have worked together to produce major events for over thirty years like the World Barrel Futurity, Oklahoma City, OK; the Rose Place in San Antonio, TX and the Heart of Texas Barrel Race at Waco, TX.
The experts said both the outdoor and indoor arenas at Circle L were being managed by owner Rod Cline with practices that followed the recommended procedures.
For quality arena ground preparation, Goostree said several factors need to be considered.
For one he said, the proper grooming equipment needs to be used in the correct fashion.
"Our goal," he said, "is to make the arena as best as it is possible for both the first horse to run and last horse in the arena."
Goostree said they are looking for ground that is comfortable and a little loose on tope and firmer down below for a couple inches when the horses run around the barrels.
"A lot of arenas will have two inches of and right under that a hard pan which doesn't provide a sound footing," he noted. "You have to break up the hard pan so the horses can get into it and they don't end up sliding and slipping."
Along with that factor, the arena "dirt" needs to be the right mix of clay, sand and the correct moisture content, he said.
The Western Family Crisis Fund (WFCF) is the beneficiary of this new event. Founded by Bridger Community Ministries-Bozeman First Baptist Church, the WFCF exists to help farming and ranching families of Western Heritage in Montana who are struggling financially and need emergency help. All donations to the fund are tax deductible.
For additional information about the Classic, go to www.copperspringranch.com or call the ranch at 406-585-7008 for additional information.
- Copper Springs Ranch