The Nebraska Horse Expo goes extreme
Saturday night it was standing room only as spectators packed into the Lancaster Event Center in Lincoln, Neb., to watch the Extreme Cowboy Race with Craig Cameron. 22 competitors leapt over barrels, crossed tarps and bridges, drug logs, side-passed poles and backed through obstacles, or at least tried to. The course presented plenty of difficulties for the local horsemen who were up to the challenge of taking trail riding to the extreme. Bryan Schronk of Grand Island, Neb., took first place in the field aboard his 7-year-old paint with a high score of 103.5 points.
Legendary horseman Craig Cameron was on the arena floor during the competition acting as commentator and clinician. His enthusiasm was contagious as he rousted the announcer for louder music while the competitors performed the fast paced portions of the race, and encouraged the crowd to shout “O’lei!” when a competitor’s horse changed leads during a figure eight obstacle.
Aside from the fun, Cameron also provided advice to competitors when they were struggling with an obstacle, often suggesting shorter reins and sitting deeper in the saddle to help riders communicate better with their horses. Throughout the event, Cameron urged competitors to really attack the course and use more speed to show a greater degree of difficulty. However, most of the riders kept things at a relatively moderate pace as many were first time Extreme Cowboy Racers. The event introduced spectators and riders alike to the basics of what the Extreme Cowboy Race is all about.
Craig Cameron and Ryan Dohrn originated the sport and Cameron later became the founder of the Extreme Cowboy Association. To challenge typical reality TV shows and to develop an entertaining equine show based on cowboy logic, the pair produced the first Extreme Cowboy Race that had an infusion of horseback riding thrills. Cameron was charged with designing the courses and used obstacles that are regularly encountered on a trail ride or during work on a ranch.
The event is judged upon horsemanship and speed. Each obstacles needs to be completed correctly with little resistance from the horse for an optimal score, the fastest time doesn’t necessarily win; but, speed is a factor that goes into determining the final score. Each course has 13 obstacles for the riders to complete, with each obstacle having a potential point value of 10. The fastest 20% of riders will receive an extra 5 points for their total score. There is also the possibility of acquiring penalty points for refusals at obstacles and being off pattern.
All ages of riders are trying the Extreme Cowboy Race; the youngest age bracket for competition is 7-11 years old, making the event a fun family sport that everyone can try. Similar to Cowboy Mounted Shooting, the Extreme Cowboy Race has grown rapidly and is continually building the sport with new members and associations. If you would like to find out more about the Extreme Cowboy Race, or would like to host an event, you can find more information at: http://www.extremecowboyassociation.com.