The Dufferin Agricultural Society stepped up in the final hour to help organizers get the fifth annual Rocking W Fall Finale Charity Barrel Race up and running after a weekend of rain cancelled the event earlier in the month.
“We actually called the Dufferin Ag Society the day before, Friday, to say we were looking for a place to hose this charity barrel race,” said organizer of the event, Dusty van der Steen. “It can be hard to make it work when you have to change weekends but we owe a big thanks to the Dufferin Ag Society.”
The event started Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. with riders from all over taking part in the pledge/donation barrel race where proceeds went to both South Central Cancer Resource and CancerCare Manitoba Foundation.
“These organizations rely on us to help support them so they are in turn able to support cancer patients,” said van der Steen. “Without funds, they just can’t operate, and there is no better way to raise money than a charity barrel race. All of us competitors love to barrel race and many of us have had someone stolen from us because of this horrible disease. Our loved ones who used to sit in the bleachers are no longer here, are friends who would hit the barrel racing trail with us aren’t here to experience the ups and downs of the sport with us.”
The Annual Rocking W Fall Finale Charity Barrel Race is about raising funds for the charities but also about celebrating the survivors, standing alongside those who are currently fighting the fight and honouring those who have gone.
“This time last year is when my dad went through his surgery and it was pretty tough competing knowing I wasn’t with my dad at the hospital but he is here today,” she said. “Our fundraising efforts are a combination of pledges and proceeds, contestants were required to collect pledges for South Central Cancer Resource in order to compete and half of their entry fee is designated to Cancer Care Manitoba Foundation.”
Thanks to local sponsorship, the event also featured some incredible silent auction prizes, a custom saddle for the champion, as well as trophy buckles, horse blankets and $1,600 in added money. Organizers are still awaiting a number of pledge forms and funds to come in from contestants who entered but couldn’t make the rescheduled date. The current today is $13,311.95 for the charities but that number could change in the near future.
The top Open Fundraiser was Michelle Langevin with a total of $1,798.95. The top Pee Wee Fundraiser was Chloe McElroy who collected $1,150 in pledges for South Central Cancer Resource.
“South Central Cancer Resource (SCCR) exists primarily to serve the community that it is housed within,” said Gail Shimonek, SCCR board member. “Baldur, Carman, Emerson, Morris, Atlona, Winkler, Morden and all the communities in between are in our catchment area. We exist to serve the community but we are also supported by the community by events like this.”
Shimonek says the SCCR transportation program is the group’s largely used program where individuals drive or volunteer drivers take patients to Winnipeg or where they need to go for treatment.
“This past year, we drove around the world almost 16 times in having people drive themselves and supporting that or driving people through volunteer work,” added Shimonek. “636, 778 kilometres just for cancer treatment. We also provide accommodation. $180,000 is what we spent last year in helping people dealing with a cancer diagnosis.”