There’s food, merchandise, a silent auction, and the top 50 barrel racers from the West Coast competing for $25,000 at the Deschutes County Fair Grounds this weekend.
The Sanctuary Barrel Races are held by Sanctuary and Sacred Places, a Madras based charity.
Garan Buller and his family run the non-profit organization. Buller has been riding horses his entire life.
“I grew up riding. I rode my first horse before I could walk at 2 weeks old with my dad in a sling. I grew up in 4H. I showed pigs, horses, and then in Oregon Equestrian teams I really got into barrel racing,” Buller said.
Barrel racing is a rodeo event where horses and their riders run around barrels, aiming for the quickest time.
For Buller, this is more than just a race.
“Ever since I was three years old, I’ve struggled with medical conditions. I’ve been opened chest to pelvis about 12 times. Probably over a year of hospital stays, and I saw how stressful that is on rodeo and rural families because we have so many more expenses.”
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“We step in right away to help people. For example, we had a gal who lost her mom to cancer within two weeks of her diagnosis. Nothing was set up. We were able to step in and pay for her home bills, mortgage, her electricity. It’s not just barrel racing. It’s barrel racing to save lives.”
One hundred percent of Sanctuary Barrel Races event profits go towards Buller‘s charity. The race begins Friday and runs until Sunday starting at 10am and the last event starting at 8pm. Admission for this weekend’s race is free and the public is encouraged to come and check it out Friday, Saturday and Sunday.