Fifty-three-year-old Monticello resident Wendy Brandt competed in her first horse race at the age of 4.
She’s still racing horses — including in the upcoming Dash for Canyon Cash Extreme Barrel Race and Independence Day Rally happening on July 6 and 7 in Moab.
Brandt co-founded the equine event with her husband, Jeff Brandt, and Moab residents Marc Lindsay and Nicci Theron.
The first Dash for Canyon Cash race was held in March with riders coming from Utah and Colorado, and some from Arizona and New Mexico, to the Old Spanish Trail arena, 3641 S. U.S. Highway 191.
There’s no charge for spectators to come to the arena to watch the horse racing.
In July, “we’re hoping for 70 to 100 runners,” Brandt said.
There will be four different divisions of barrel racing, as well as a peewee class for children 7 and under, a novice horse race for people whose horses have won $1,000 or less since the beginning of the year and a jackpot race. There’s also a pole-bending race event.
Brandt said she plans to compete in the open, novice, jackpot and barrel racing events.
During the barrel race, equestrians quickly navigate their horses around three barrels placed in a clover-leaf pattern “like you see in the rodeos,” Brandt said.
The poles event has riders racing around six poles set up in a row and spaced 21-feet apart. The horses weave in and out to the end, and then weave back through to the beginning, Brandt said.
“We’re hoping to grow and expand,” she said. “It would help the equine industry in Moab and surrounding area. Barrel racing in other cities draws 300 to 500 contestants.”
To grow the business, Brandt said she is looking for local sponsors.
“We’re doing this for the community of Moab; it’s a great event to have here,” Lindsay said. “It attracts a lot of people.”
The amount of money that winners can earn depends on the number of participants, and sponsors, he said.
The fee to race in the open event is $50; for the novice horse it’s $30; Jackpot is $35; the poles event is $30; and the peewee ride is $10.
“There’s a formula where usually 70% of proceeds get distributed, with additional money
coming from sponsors,” Lindsay said. “It can be anywhere between $5,000 to $10,000, depending on the number of entrants.”
Additionally, the Dash for Canyon Cash event is co-sanctioned with Extreme Barrel Racing club in Price, Utah, meaning that riders can earn points toward events and win prizes at the end of the year, he said.
On both days, ride times begin at 10:30 a.m. with a fee of $10. Exhibitions are $5 and start at 11 a.m. These events give riders an opportunity to introduce their horse to the arena, Brandt said.
Open riding is at 12:10 p.m., followed by the peewee event at 12:45 p.m. Starting at 1 p.m. is the open race, followed by the Jackpot, novice and poles events. All participants must wear Western attire.
Riders can pre-register for Dash for Canyon Cash by July 5 at saddlebook.com/events/399. For a complete set of rules and the schedule, visit the website. Equestrians can also register the day of the event prior to 11 a.m.