Hankering to saddle up a horse?

Hankering to saddle up a horse?

LONG BEACH - If you are under 17 years of age and have a hankering to saddle up a horse, whether of the broom stick or hay-burning variety, then get ready for the Peninsula Saddle Club's (PSC) Play Day 2002. The event is free and happens Saturday, Aug. 10, at the rodeo grounds on Sandridge Road beginning at 1 p.m.

Becky Huddleston, Play Day organizer, says, "We will have prizes and ribbons for everyone. No child will go away empty-handed."

Play Day features eight events and is, "designed to promote equestrian activities on the Peninsula," according to Huddleston. Prizes include halters, reins, saddle blankets, and other horse supplies. There is a nominal fee to participate in Play Day.

Registration is at the rodeo grounds from 10 a.m. to about noon and proceedings begin promptly at 1 p.m., according to Huddleston. Events include mutton busting where kids under 50 pounds see how long they can stay on a sheep. Stick horse obstacle course and barrel races are for those too young to ride a hay-eating horse.

Hangman is a two-person event where the rider goes past a tire hanging from a rope tethered to a boom truck. The trail rider grabs the tire and hangs on for dear life while the front horse person goes around a barrel and returns for his or her partner. The egg race features budding equestrians balancing an egg on a spoon while they walk, trot, and run their horses. Last rider to avoid a broken egg is crowned the winner.

The goat tail tying event is "harder than it sounds," according to Huddleston. The participants spur their steeds to a tethered goat and then attempt to attach a ribbon to its tail. "This event is a riot to watch, but a challenge to perform," she says with a wide grin.

A bag race features riders sprinting to a sack of clothes containing girdles, "mu mu's," and other bizarre apparel, putting on the garb, then getting back on their mounts and zipping back to the finish line. Junior and pee wee barrel races are the most competitive of the events at Play Day and are the climax of the western fun.

By sponsoring Play Day, PSC is trying to put family participation and fun back into events at the rodeo grounds. "We want to promote trail rides, poker runs, things for the entire family that aren't as competitive as the annual Long Beach Rodeo," explains Huddleston. "Of course, the rodeo will still continue to be a very popular event."

The Peninsula Saddle Club uses the proceeds of their sponsored events to help accommodate visitors who need a place to keep their horses while they camp at the beach.

PSC owns land used for horse and human camping adjacent to the Red Barn on Sandridge Road. They provide a trail following along Second Street, then to the beach for visitors and locals alike.

The 4-H Club will have a vendor tent and PSC will be making scrumptious hamburgers, hotdogs, and curly fries at Play Day.

Those interested in registering or seeking more information about Play Day 2002, can call Becky Huddleston at 642-3281.

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