It was Winston Churchill who once said, “No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle.”
Members of the Weatherford Comancheros Riding Club couldn’t agree more as the group prepares to wrap up another season of riding competition.
“But it’s even more than just competition,” said Varsi Klatzkin, one of the groups organizers. “It teaches responsibility and builds camaraderie, all while learning horsemanship.”
She said by joining the [Comancheros] it gives riders the opportunity to join both the American Association of Sheriff Posses and Riding Clubs, as well as the National Association of Riding Clubs and Sheriff Posses.
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During their monthly play-days, which generally has riders showing up at noon and competition beginning at 2 p.m., may last anywhere between six-10 hours.
“Typically, we have five events per play-day picked from barrels, poles, flags, straight barrels, spur, bowtie, flying W and pylons, all which are timed events,” Klatzkin said.
She said depending on the numbers, riders are broken into groups, depending on age, with each class competing against itself, boys against boys, and girls against girls.
“Anyone can ride - no matter what age,” said co-organizer Pat Farns. “Every ability and age rider will feel welcome and at home in our group.”
Last year, the group hosted its first-ever Race for a Cause Barrel Race, the Saturday following Thanksgiving. The group raised more than $550 to give to the Battered Woman’s Shelter as well as dozens of stuffed animals for children. This year, they plan on donating funds raised to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. However, due to an abundance of rain in Novemeber, the event was rescheduled until Jan. 2.
Klatzkin said what’s unique about their group is its diversity.
“From lawyers to plumbers, or just those who have a passion to keep the horse industry alive in Parker County," she added. "We’re a poor man’s sport and don’t have deep pockets.”
She said it was due to the fact that riders don’t have to have an expensive horse or equipment.
“Many ‘backyard’ horses are ridden in these events, sometimes by many members of the same family,” Klatzkin said. “Riders do not have to have special clothes or fancy equipment and the cost to compete for the entire day is just $10.”
The Comancheros Riding Club formed in 1967 and, in 1968, Norris and Betty Jo Crumm offered the group land to lease for an arena to be constructed for riding competition.
The group worked tirelessly, both Monday and Thursday nights, constructing an arena with their own hands and finances. When it was finished, they remained at the location for more than 30 years
In the 80s, the club focused on play-days and over time, many changes were made to the arena. A water well was drilled in order to keep moisture levels at a constant during riding competition. Restrooms were also added in addition to lights.
It wasn’t until 2002 that the group moved to its current location at Horseshoe Bend.
“When we first started looking for the location, we couldn’t even find it,” Klatzkin said. “It was so grown over you couldn’t see what it was.”
She said it took two months to clean it up but they were happy with the results.
“We have a great ground, shady parking, full concession stand and a RV/trailer hookups,” Klatzkin said. “We are a very family-oriented club with no ‘drama,’ and hope people will come join us.”
How to get there:
The arena is located 12 miles south on I-20 in the Horseshoe Bend Community. Take Bethel Rd. south on Horseshoe Bend Road, turn right and go 3.5 miles and the arena is on the right.
Annual Membership: $45
For more information call: 817-721-8057