Pole-bending event coming to local arena

Published 5:00 am Friday, March 30, 2007

The first nationally sanctioned pole-bending equine event inMississippi will be held at the Lincoln County Multi-PurposeLivestock Arena Saturday.

Brookhaven was chosen as a site for the national qualifyingcompetition after Jimi “Jay” Rovetto, one of the organization’sfour national directors, visited the arena for anothercompetition.

“They really liked our facility with its quality of dirt and theneatness of the grounds,” said Quinn Jordan, arena manager.

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Rovetto, of Utica, said she expects Brookhaven to become even moreprominent in equine competitions with more national attention inthe coming years. Mississippi, she said, already hosts many of the”high dollar” barrel racing events and it was “only natural” thatpole-bending, another timed riding event, would begin to recognizethat prominence.

“They’ve done a lot of improvements there,” she said. “Brookhavenwill be one of the nicer facilities in the state. I would love tosee it grow into the southern area’s dominant arena. “

Brookhaven’s location was also a key factor because of Interstate55 access and its central placement between Interstates 10 and 20,Jordan said.

Rovetto said Saturday’s event is expected to draw riders from awide area. Riders from Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Oklahoma,Texas, Arkansas and Ohio have said they would be competing.

Among them will be Devin Hinds, of Edwards. Hinds is the AmericanQuarter Horse Association’s World Pole-Bending Champion.

“We estimate there will be more than 300 runners in the open andyouth pole runs,” said Valerie Oglesby, a director of the LincolnCounty National Barrel Horse Association who is assisting inorganizing Saturday’s competition.

The Brookhaven National Pole-Bending Association 3D Run will beginwith exhibition practice runs at 9 a.m. Competition will start atnoon in the open category with youth runs to follow. There is noadmission fee.

Anyone can participate in the exhibition at $4 per run, Jordansaid.

In pole-bending competition, six poles are placed in a straightline 21 feet apart. The rider enters the arena, charges across,weaves through the poles twice and races back to the startingline.

A penalty of five seconds is added to the final time for each poleknocked down during the run.

Prizes will be awarded based on 70 percent of the entry fees withan added $500 in the open category and $300 for youth.

A $100 jackpot barrel race will end the day’s competition.

“I think we’ll have a good time,” Rovetto said. “I’m looking for agood crowd.”