People from across the continent are in Fort Smith. That’s because the Old Fort Days Futurity & Derby has come to town.
From Canada to California they came to Kay Rodgers Park in Fort Smith for the ride of their life.
“The pressure builds the whole time you’re waiting,” rider Jolene Montgomery said.
It’s a 16 second ride worth $54,000.
“365 days a year we eat breathe and sleep barrel horse,” rider said. “I`ve been really lucky I broke my scapula, I broke my arm, I broke my ankle but other than that it`s been toes and fingers and we say those don`t count.”
425 were cut to 40 Thursday (May 22). The competition is intense.
Montgomery from Texas is in the lead.
“First place is a really scary place to be after the time trials,” Montgomery said.
Montgomery said all the glory goes to her 1,000 pound four-year-old horse named Zarr.
“In 2012 I won the futurity,” Montogmery said.
Many said it’s not just about the prize money. Those attending said the event is an economic boost for Fort Smith.
“You just figure out the economy, the eating’s, the hotels packed here,’ said rider Ted Wallis.
With the training complete Montgomery said she is ready to take first place.
“Hopefully we will be staying and celebrating Saturday night,” Montgomery said.
The final derby is Saturday at six p.m.