Jacksonville, FL (December 8, 2016) — Horses and riders from as near as the southeast United States and as far as Canada descended on Jacksonville, Florida for the 14th Annual Fiddler’s Turkey Run, held at the end of November at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. More than 600 entries vied for over $106,000 throughout the three days of barrel racing competition.
The Fiddler’s Turkey Run has been held for the past seven years at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, and has continued to grow every year. Paul Stanley, who assists Sabra O’Quinn in managing the Fiddler’s Turkey Run, said, “This is a great facility with plenty of stalls and RV hookups. We’ll be back next year!”
Many riders are already looking forward to a return trip in 2017 to the facility, which boasts a 3,500-seat 150′ x 300′ indoor arena, several outdoor arenas, and over 400 permanent stalls. Longtime Fiddler’s Turkey Run entries as well as new faces to the competition enjoyed the experience at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center this year.
“This was my first time here at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, and I love it. This is a beautiful facility,” said Kaitlin Chieca of Vero Beach, Florida. “The grounds are wonderful. The people have been fantastic – this is a class act!” Chieca competed two horses at the Fiddler’s Turkey Run – her own “Jacob,” and Heidi Thompson’s “Pinkie.” She was happy with her results, especially as this was only her third show ever on Pinkie. Although for Chieca, the highlight of the weekend wasn’t the scores, but the trip around the barrels.
“The adrenaline rush when you shoot out of the alley way – there’s nothing like it,” Chieca explained. “It can be a little scary, but it’s worth it every time. There’s something about riding something this big and being in control of it – it’s just the craziest feeling. It’s awesome!”
Eleven-year-old Kaitlyn Sims of Elkton, Florida, shares Chieca’s passion for barrel racing. Sims was the big winner Sunday in the Fiddler’s Turkey Run Open, turning in a blazing time of 15.08 aboard her Quarter Horse, Specta Goodtime. The pint-sized jockey has been riding since she was two years old and competes in junior rodeos as well as the barrel racing shows. Why spend so much time in the saddle? “I like being able to go fast,” Sims explained.
Sims and her mother, Jennifer Lee-Sims, are no strangers to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. “We love this facility because it’s close to home,” said Lee-Sims. “We try to come to all the big events that they have here.”
The Jacksonville Equestrian Center was thrilled to once again host the Fiddler’s Turkey Run and all of its talented barrel racers. Sponsors for the Fiddler’s Turkey Run included Equine Medical Center of Ocala, Santa Fe Horse Transport, Wrangler, Formula 1 Noni, Sebelle Dymmek, Triple Crown Feed, Formula 707, 5L Performance Horses, and Seminole Equine Products.
The Jacksonville Equestrian Center’s 2016 calendar has several more exciting events planned before the end of the year, including the USDAA Pals & Pals Agility Trials on December 9-11, and Community Night Schooling on December 20. Parking and admission for spectators is free for all events.
For more about the Jacksonville Equestrian Center and to find out how to host your event at this multifaceted facility, visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call (904)-255-4254.
Photo: Kaitlin Chieca and Pinkie at the Fiddler’s Turkey Run at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center