Anza Lions Club Gymkhana season opens with 22 hopeful riders

Winning two blue ribbons in the keyhole and pole peewee is Cammi Castro with her very proud great grandmother “Granny” Diann Parr. Tony Ault photo

Despite the threat of rain and snow, 22 equestrians turned out May 6, to show off their riding skills in the Lions arena kicking off the start of the 2017 Anza Lions Gymkhana season.

The weather at the beginning of the Gymkhana off Kirby Road in Anza was sunny and bright, but two hours later heavy cloud cover moved in and a chilly wind blew, forcing some of the competitors to don their riding jackets. The Gymkhana, according to Lion gymkhana announcer Roland Vellanoweth, whether rain, wind or snow goes on without delay at the Lions arena.

“The turnout today is really good,” said Lions Membership Chairwoman Michelle Brown, “despite the cool weather.” The boxes of blue, red, white and yellow ribbons were opened in the announcer’s booth that will be awarded to the high point winners during the season. Helping hand out the ribbons at the end of the Saturday event were Baily Marrs and Audrey Kay, both accomplished gymkhana riders who are no strangers to winning ribbons themselves.

Villanoweth made a surprise offer the gymkhana riders at the end of the regular Pole Bending, Keyhole and Barrel races offering free entry into the next regular Gymkhana event if they won a speed barrel race with an egg in their mouth. Only one rider out of six who entered tried it and managed not to break the egg.

The Anza Lions Club will soon be announcing the theme of the annual Hillbilly Days coming up at the arena. Once the theme is announced, contest and gymkhana entries will be open and vendor spaces made available.

Lions Clubs International, of which Anza Lions are a part, is the world’s largest nonprofit service club organization with 1.4 million members worldwide. Lions are dedicated to bettering the quality of life for the handicapped, the poor, the sick and the aged. The motto of the Lions Club is simply “WE SERVE.”

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