The Branch County Saddle Club arena.
The Branch County Saddle Club arena. Photo courtesy of the Branch County Saddle Club.

Calling all cowboys and cowgirls! The Branch County Saddle Club is hosting a Speed Show this month.

The event will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 17, at the Saddle Club, located at 753 Clarendon Road in Quincy. The show is free and open to the public.

Saddle Club Speed Shows consist of 12 classes, with a different competition in each category. There are junior, senior and open age divisions, along with novice races for those of lower skill levels.

During the competition, riders navigate their horses through various obstacles, such as barrels, poles and flags. The rider/horse duo with the fastest time wins the category.

According to event coordinator Joshua Ewers, anywhere between 40 to 120 competitors participate in each show. The Saddle Club puts on more than 25 shows annually, and entry fees for competitors range from $5 to $20 per event.

“The Saddle Club has been hosting horse shows at this location for more than 50 years,” said Ewers, who has been coordinating Speed Shows for the last three years.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ewers says that not a whole lot will be changed regarding the Speed Show. The competition will be conducted the same way it has been in years past.

“Our shows are worked by our family. We make things fair, we’re not very strict and everyone is welcome,” Ewers said. “We try to make it as easy as possible for everyone to enter.”

Brianna Hatter, a Rives Junction resident who won two races in last year’s show, said she can’t wait to compete again this year.

“Winning the series was an unbelievable moment,” Hatter said. “Barrel racing is a feeling like no other, and being a team with your horse is the most important part.”

She described the atmosphere at the Speed Shows as “generally pretty laid-back”.

“My favorite part about the Speed Show is the arena. They also move the show along pretty quickly to try and get everyone home at a decent time,” Hatter said.

For more information about attending or participating in the Saddle Club Speed Show, contact Ewers at 517-227-1987.