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Worldwide audience to watch NBHA Youth World Championships

JACKSON, Miss. — All eyes of horse lovers around the world during July 19-26 will be on Jackson for the 16th annual National Barrel Horse Association Youth World Championships.

That’s because the 2008 event officially has registered more than 1,700 individual riders and their horses competing for cash prizes, Tex Tan saddles, Gist buckles and all the paraphernalia that equine enthusiasts could possibly want.

“We know it will be the largest youth barrel race ever held,” said Show Manager Sherry Fulmer, “and we think it will be the largest youth equine event anywhere.

“Contestants earned the right to compete in Jackson by finishing in the Top 5 in their home districts,” Fulmer added. “We will have approximately 4,000 runs with two go-rounds and a final round, and a myriad of auxiliary events as well.”

All of that exciting action of riders who qualify in their individual states and countries will be webcast live from beginning to end over the HorseCity.com Web site, known internationally to horse lovers and viewers of the RFD-TV cable network.

“Barrel racing is a fast-growing sport that is just waking up in a lot of countries,” said Fulmer, who recently returned from major championship shows in Italy and Brazil.

The National Barrel Horse Association, which has more than 24,000 members worldwide, was formed in Augusta, Ga., in 1992. It added franchises this year in Mexico and China to its International Barrel Horse Federation branch.

Other franchises, besides the U.S.A. and those countries, are in Australia, Canada, France, Hungary, Italy, Panama, Spain and Switzerland.

“We will have our first Youth World contestant entered from Venezuela this year in Jackson along with contestants from Italy, Canada and more than 35 states,” Fulmer said. The Venezuelan rider qualified by placing second at the Brazilian Open in May.

All in all, the ninth annual Youth World Championships in Jackson will bring roughly 5,000 to 7,000 visitors (riders and their families and friends) to the Mississippi capital. The Youth event was held for four years in Augusta before moving to Memphis, Tenn., for three years and then finally to Jackson in 2000 after out-growing the other venues.

“What a family event it is,” Fulmer said. “It is held at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds in a pretty much contained environment. You can imagine the atmosphere with people camping and cooking out, children on bicycles and the tenseness of our riders competing at a level most have not experienced before.”

In between everything, the young contestants get lessons in life such as fair play, loving animals, waiting your turn and getting along with others.

“The NBHA is so proud to be involved with this sport and this particular event,” Fulmer added. “It’s a great family-oriented show, and we’re honored to be the ones producing it.”


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