BELTON — Four riders entered the winner’s circle Sunday afternoon in speed events of the Bell County Youth Fair and Livestock Show at the Bell County Expo Center.
They won buckles, ribbons and cash prizes and qualified for possible scholarships, said Brittany Ellis, horse show volunteer. The speed events — cloverleaf and straightaway barrel racing, pole bending and stakes racing — took place in the Equine and Livestock Complex arena.
“They definitely learn sportsmanship, how to handle competition, responsibility,” she said of the young riders.
Ellis, who has competed at both the junior and senior level in the past, said she enjoyed sharing her knowledge and techniques with the young riders.
Catelyn Tyler, 14, of Holland 4-H, won grand champion in the senior division on a horse named Coco.
“I’ve been riding pretty much all of my life,” Catelyn said. “It teaches me responsibility.”
The daughter of Brian and Carey Tyler, she plans to attend Tarleton State University.
“Don’t give up,” was her advice for beginners.
Winning reserve champion in the senior division was Bryce Gauna, 17, of Troy FFA, on Lollipop. The son of Rochelle and Raymond Guana II, he’s been riding for seven years.
His best ride was straightaway barrels, he said.
“None of this would have happened if it wasn’t for my brother (Raymond Gauna III) helping,” he said. “He taught me everything there is to know about horses.”
Haven Rowe, 13, of Academy FFA, won junior grand champion on Hank. The daughter of Lindsey Kopriva and Justin Rowe, she’s been riding for four years.
Her best event was cloverleaf barrels, she said, in which she finished first with a time of 16.582 seconds. She also placed first in straightaway barrels. She said she hopes to someday qualify for the National Finals Rodeo.
The junior reserve champion winner was Jordan Walzel, 12, of Rogers 4-H. Riding Scooby, she placed first in pole bending, second in cloverleaf and straightaway barrels, and fifth in the stakes race.
The daughter of Heath and Brandi Walzel, she’s been riding for four years and plans to attend Tarleton State University. She does barrel racing in the Central Texas Barrel Racing Association.
“I want to continue riding,” she said.
She wanted to thank her aunt, Denise Ralston, for helping a lot, and Lauren Bedrich, for help with Scooby’s training. She also wanted to thank her grandfather, Dennis Ralston and her grandmother, Zayne Jernigan.
On hand for the speed events was Caroline Brickhouse, 15, of Bell 4-H Horse Club, who won the champion senior halter showmanship buckle in the Saturday competition with a horse named Money. The daughter of Jeanette Abbe, one of the club leaders, Caroline has been riding for 12 years and is the club president. She wanted to thank Shawn Campbell, another club leader.
“It just helps me get more interacted with other people and it teaches me to kind of control my emotions,” she said of working with horses.