Monticello resident Wendy Brandt grew up on a cattle ranch, which means she pretty much grew up on horseback. At 53, she’s still riding and racing horses. She’s also producing horse-racing events, like the Dash for Canyon Cash Finals/Xtreme Qualifier, happening Nov. 16 and 17 at the Old Spanish Trail Arena.
“I’ve been racing barrels (where horseback riders race around three barrels placed in a clover-leaf pattern) since I was 4 years old,” she said. “I did the rodeo professionally.”
During the Dash for Canyon Cash event, equestrians will compete in 4D Barrel Races, a 4D Barrel jackpot race, and a Novice horse race for horses that have not earned more than $1,000 since January 1.
Kaylyn Watson, 19, said she attends every barrel racing event she can in the region and that the Old Spanish Trail Arena is a good facility for the Moab event. She said she earns prize money each time she races and is looking to ride professionally at some point.
“Wendy does an awesome job,” Watson said. “I attended the first race in March and was blown away how smoothly and professionally it ran. And Wendy always has prizes for the kids, who work so hard.”
Seventeen-year-old Kaia Noyes began racing horses competitively about six years ago. She said that in the Dash for Canyon Cash she plans to compete in the open 4D barrel race and the pole-bending event, where riders weave their horses around six vertical poles, racing to the end and back. Noyes, who participates in rodeos around Utah, said the Dash for Canyon Cash event is more relaxing than some of the other “super intense” races she’s attended.
“It’s good for training young horses,” she said. “It’s not as stressful; it gets you in the groove.”
Plus, at the Moab event you can enter more than one horse, Noyes said. You can bring young colts for training purposes, as well as a more competitive horse when you really want to win, she added.
Brandt, who co-founded Dash for Canyon Cash in February 2019, said she plans to participate in the open 4D barrel, novice, and jackpot races, and most likely the Xtreme Qualifier event – for an Xtreme Finals horse event held in Salina, in June.
Participants can introduce their horses to the arena during ride times first thing in the morning, followed by exhibitions starting at 10 a.m. It’s $5 to make use of the ride time and $10 to show your horse in the exhibition. The Xtreme Million Qualifier race starts at 1 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, followed by PeeWee rides for children, the open 4D barrel, jackpot, and novice races. There are various entry fees for each event. Spectators may watch for free, however.
Both Watson and Noyes said they would love to see people come and cheer them on.
“It’s a super friendly environment,” Noyes said. “It’s really fun to watch.”
For the Xtreme Million Qualifier event, contestants pay a $1,250 entry fee for a guaranteed two runs and a chance to qualify for the Xtreme Million Finals, which will be held at Salina’s Blackhawk Arena where Xtreme Barrel racing began in 1992, said Brandt.
More information may be found at https://www.facebook.com/events/1085943474931180/.
Watch horse-racing at Old Spanish Trail Arena
When: Nov. 16 and 17, beginning at 9 a.m. both days
Where: Old Spanish Trail Arena, 3641 S. U.S. Highway 191
Cost: Various entry fees; Free to watch