By GWEN SISSON
Thereâ€™s nothing quite like sitting on the front row during a barrel racing event at the Mississippi Horse Park.
With a little dirt flying in the air, visitors are up close to the action as the horse and rider take the turns to be timed. It is fast and furious.
And this weekendâ€™s barrel racing event will be no exception. Free admission makes this an outing for the whole family at the Mississippi Horse Park.
The Saturday race begins at noon and Sundayâ€™s race begins at 11 a.m. Organizers said it is hard to tell how many will participate at this time because contestants can register the day of the events. The event begins on Saturday at noon and typically 50 or more horses can run per hour until the last contestant rides.
Jennifer Brignac of the Mississippi Horse Park said organizers are excited to bring this event to the Starkville community.
â€śThe eventÂ is attracting barrel racers from all over the Southeast and beyond,â€ť Brignac said. â€śMany are coming from north of us and anticipating some drier grounds. They are really looking forward to being able to ride and enjoy some nicer weather for a few days.â€ť
â€śWe have been looking forward to this weekend since we booked it,â€ť said Bricklee Miller, facility manager of the Mississippi Horse Park. â€śWe are expecting it to be a huge success.â€ť
The weekend events will also feature a dog race held each day after the barrel races are finished. Saturdayâ€™s dog race will begin around 2 p.m. and featureÂ large dog matches with dogs measuring over 18 inches tall. Sundayâ€™s dog race will begin around 1 p.m. and will featureÂ small dog matches with dogs measuring under 18 inches.
Organizers said the dogs will be racing on the arena floor and will only be allowed on the arena floor during the races.
The event is expected to be broadcast over the Internet worldwide via live web cast at http://www.visworks.com. Mississippi Horse Park officials said they are expecting a sell out of bothÂ RV spots and horse stalls.
There will be concession stands and vendors on the grounds. For the full schedule of barrel racing, visit the Lucky Dog website at www.luckydograces.com.
For more information, including directions, contact the MS Horse Park at 325-9350 or go to the Facebook page at MS Horse Park.