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June 20, 2021

State gymkhana finals are at Bolado

If you’re wondering about the temporary community of campers at Bolado Park, it’s the time of year again for the California Gymkhana Association State Championship Finals.
Today, the organization and its 300 or so participants – bringing an estimated 3,000 people from around the state to the San Benito County Fairgrounds – are handling administrative activities before the competition starts this weekend.
On Saturday, the association will hold its “Setup Show” allowing riders to register last-minute times before the official competition starts at 8 a.m. Sunday. Admission is free for events throughout the week.
The series of 13 timed horse-riding events will include 300 riders in the daily contests at Bolado Park, said Phyllis Odom, who was helping to run the state show office under the grandstands Friday morning. Events run each day from 8 a.m. to about 2:30 p.m. or 3 p.m. There are then match races in the evenings – all the while with belt buckles and auctioned cash prizes on the line.
The gymkhana gathering is scheduled to finish next Friday, though the following Saturday is set aside for makeup events.
Overall, there are 21 age groups. Of the 13 events, seven are skill contests and six are timed. New this year is a “Lead Line” division – it will be non-competitive – for children ages 10 and under.
The gymkhana association has held its state finals at Bolado Park for more than 15 years, Odom said. She attributed the choice of location to the Bolado Park facility and the relatively moderate climate.
As for those estimated 3,000 visitors, she said most do camp out at Bolado Park. Some use the limited local lodging as well.
“People want to be here,” Odom said. “Their horses are here.”
Look back for more.

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