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Equestrians set to hoof it at this year's county fair
Gymkhana events take place Friday

DMS Events/Courtesy -- Dante Bravo takes a turn around the gymkhana barrel-racing course at DMS Events in February. DMS founder Danielle Sorace has been in charge of the Mohave County Fair’s Gymkhana event for the last four years. This year’s fair gymkhana will start at 4 p.m. Friday at the rodeo arena.

DMS Events/Courtesy -- Dante Bravo takes a turn around the gymkhana barrel-racing course at DMS Events in February. DMS founder Danielle Sorace has been in charge of the Mohave County Fair’s Gymkhana event for the last four years. This year’s fair gymkhana will start at 4 p.m. Friday at the rodeo arena.

KINGMAN - The fair is one of the few places where Mohave County equestrians can really show their stuff, especially at the Gymkhana event.

The Gymkhana event tests the skills of both horse and rider with an event similar to a rodeo, said organizer Danielle Sorace.

Horse and rider must navigate through a barrel-racing course, a pole-bending course and two riding patterns, which change from year to year. This year's riding patterns are the "key hole" and the "big S," she said.

When she took over the fair event four years ago, not too many people were aware of it, she said. "We had maybe 20 to 25 people (who entered)."

The event, which has been running for more than 20 years, was about to be dropped from the fair's schedule, but with the help of sponsors, the event has been able to offer great prizes such as saddles, blankets, halters and gift cards to the winners, she said. This has drawn more interest in the event. Last year, 45 riders entered the event. This year Sorace is hoping for 50 riders.

"It's a lot of work," she admitted, but not something she is unfamiliar with. She also runs DMS Events, a local gymkhana event organization. And for some riders, it's the only time they get to compete, she said.

This year's event is open to riders of all ages. Riders are separated into four groups: age 10 and under, ages 11 to 14, ages 15 to 18, and ages 19 and up. Prizes are awarded to the top eight finishers in each age group: first-place winners receive a saddle, second-place winners receive a buckle, third-place winners receive a halter and lead,

fourth-place winners receive a horse blanket, and fifth- through eighth-place winners will receive a gift card to Boot Barn in Kingman.

The event starts at 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 17, in the rodeo arena at the fairgrounds.

Riders who have not signed up for the gymkhana can do so between 3 and 3:45 p.m. on Friday.

The entrance fee on Friday is $45 plus a $15 office fee.

Riders can also sign up for individual events such as barrel racing or pole bending.

The fee for individual events is $15. The first 48 riders will receive a free T-shirt.

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