While the Endiang gymkhana typically goes until 5 p.m., this year on Canada Day there were so many people entered in the many events that it didn’t end until 8 p.m, after nine hours.
“We’ve never decreased our numbers,” said organizer Twyla Buchwitz. “We’ve always increased them.”
The gymkhana is in its 11th year, and started in memory of Wade Buchwitz, who used to do gymkhana with his brothers.
“Kids and adults, they come out and it’s just for fun,” said Buchwitz, who married one of Wade’s brothers.
There is no age restriction in participating in the gymkhana – in fact, the youngest competitor was one year old.
“We have a lot of people that have never been into a gymkhana or rodeo of any sort and they come to ours for their first experience,” she said.
While there were prizes of halters to those who gained the most points during the events, there are many other benefits to participating in a gymkhana.
“I’d say (participants get) pride in their horses and what they’ve accomplished. Fun. Hanging out with their friends, meeting new people,” Buchwitz said.
Events included barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying, cattle penning, team roping, tandem bareback, musical buckets, and more. The Endiang Riding and Roping Arena grounds were full to the brim with trailers and horses – and of course, the danger of stepping in road apples was prevalent.
Participants came from as far away as Calgary, Red Deer, and Consort.
The night finished off with some fireworks to celebrate Canada Day.