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Strathmore Ag Society

Wild pony races, bareback riding at Faith Stock Show & Rodeo


F.Ganje - August 9, 2019

FAITH, SD -  They may be little. But they be mighty. 

There’s a band of ponies that run in the rough country near the South Dakota Badlands. Bred and raised for half a century by the Dean Yellowhawk family who ranch near Interior, SD, these ponies have helped many a youngster learn the finer points of riding rough stock before moving on to the big horses.

But when the snow melts and the weather turns warm, the ponies, under the handling of Kevin Pinney) of Philip, SD, can be seen in arenas across the region for Wild Pony Races and Pony Bareback Riding events like the one at the Faith Stock Show & Rodeo, today, (Fri., August 9th) beginning at 5:30pm, along with the first SDRA/NRCA rodeo performance.

Pinney says it’s a good way to get kids interested in the sport of rodeo while having some fun. “We try to get kids interested in rodeo,” he shares.  “Most of the events have inexpensive entry fees or in some cases, are free to enter.  It gives kids a chance to try it.”

Wild Pony Races and Pony Bareback Riding mirror the adult versions, says stock show secretary Gnene Fordyce.

“The Pony Bareback is just that,” she observes.  “Kids have to be 14 and under. It’s just like a regular bareback ride.  For the Wild Pony Race – just like a Wild Horse Race - it’s a three kid team.  They have to saddle the pony and ride through the barrels at the end of the arena.” She adds, “It was such a big hit last year, we brought it back for this year.  These ponies are amazing.”

Hawk Rodeo, that also runs a regular rodeo string, have been breeding ponies for 50 years.  According to owner Dean Yellowhawk,  they like to help kids get started.  He says that while he mainly runs the ponies through the chutes, it’s Pinney who has the ‘master’s touch,’ in terms of communicating with them.

“It’s interesting,” laughs Pinney.  “Ponies have personalities just like the big broncs do. But they know me.  I’ll crawl down in the chutes, tell them to be good and they listen.  We really do get along really well in the chutes with both the kids and ponies.  That’s because you’ll never find a set of ponies like we have.”

Safety is a number one priority for all the kids and ponies.  Pinney shares how contestants are matched up with the right pony.

“We don’t want anyone to get hurt,” says Pinney.  “We’ve got every size from mid-thigh on me to about shoulder height.  We have everything from little runners to some pretty rank ponies. It’s important to match up the right kid with the right pony.”

See more information on the 109th Faith Stock Show & Rodeo on line at www.faithsd.com and on Facebook.



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