Paradise Valley Gymkhana
Youth barrel racing. Photo Elaina John
3 Cities Fairgrounds in Paradise Valley hosted a Gymkhana event on July 28. Many participants in the gymkhana events were returning from Paradise Valley’s Horse Camp, which took place from July 14 to July 16. The gymkhana events were for all ages, divided into the groups: peewee (nine and under), youth (10-14), and intermediate (14-17). Adults were able to participate in all open events. In total, there were approximately 40 participants. “That’s a pretty sweet turnout,” said Tammy Hampel, a member of the Paradise Valley Light Horse Committee. The gymkhana activities consisted of barrel racing, pole bending, key hole, egg and spoon race, as well as some unique activities such as the tissue pairs race and the soup ladle race. The tissue pairs race is a race in which a piece of paper is held between two participants who have to carry out various horsemanship tasks such as trotting, or loping to see how long it takes for the paper to break. The soup ladle race was a relay-style race in which participants had to take up a soup ladle of water and fill a shotglass at the other end of the arena “which is a lot harder than it sounds,” said Hampel. Melissa Wright, another Light Horse Committee member, explained how the event was not highly competitive or high intensity, and was simply an event that was easy to host while maintaining COVID-19 guidelines. “We had a beautiful evening, and it was a great opportunity for all ages to participate,” stated Wright. The Gymkhana event in Paradise Valley is an annual event that has run for 18 years.