Fast hooves and flying dirt at the Barbara Worth Brigadettes’ Gymkhana


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Winners pose after receiving their prizes for placing in their age categories.
Winners pose after receiving their prizes for placing in their age categories.

IMPERIAL — The Barbara Worth Brigadettes’ one week rain delay for their annual family day gymkhana was worth the wait as the skies cleared, the land dried, the Sheriff posse cooked, and the people came to play equine games, buy raffle tickets, win prizes, and have fun. The annual gymkhana put on by the women’s riding club was held Saturday for all levels of equestrian riders at K.D. Danch arena north of Keystone.

Each age category was full with competitors from the line-led littlest ones to the seasoned citizens who all pushed for the gold, or in this case, the blue ribbons – and bragging rights.

The Brigadettes spent weeks preparing for their big event, buying prizes, lining up sponsors and organizing themselves into the many arena jobs necessary to have a flawless and safe family game day.

Kaitlyn Havens of El Centro was a first time entry at the BWB Gymkhana and was at the winners circle, or table in this circumstance, picking up her third place ribbons. Her mother was delighted with the event and the progress her young daughter had made riding only since last Veterans’ Day.

“Kaitlyn had been begging to ride a horse for a year. Last Veterans’ day my husband and I both had the day off so we called Marsha Boutwell to see if she could give a riding lesson,” Angie Havens said. “My daughter has been riding ever since. I guess our next step will be to take the plunge and buy Kaitlyn her own horse.”

President of the club, Amy Binggeli-Vallarta, manned the ribbon table. Binggeli-Vallarta has been a member of the 70-year club since 2011 and loves running the club along with the day’s assigned task at the gymkhana.

“This is a great job handing out ribbons to the winners. Everyone is happy and excited when they come to my table to pick up their ribbon, but we really want everyone to leave feeling like they were winners for coming today,” said Binggeli-Vallarta.

The club meets every other month, but the ladies go on trail rides monthly to different sites, not only in Southern California, but venturing over to Arizona as well.

“Being in the Brigadettes has allowed me to meet some remarkable women that I wouldn’t have met otherwise,” said Binggeli-Vallarta. “We all have an immediate strong bond because of our passion for our horses. Going on trail rides with them not only means beautiful scenery, but good food- these women can cook! Some bring their husbands, because they can cook, too!”

High Point winners

8 & Under

  1. Kate Grizzle
  2. Taylor Nelson
  3. Cheyenne Cox
  4. Payton Price

9 – 13

  1.    Cyleigh Nelson
  2.    Molly Pole
  3. Cole Leavitt
  4. Izzy Vaca


  1. Bayleigh Nelson
  2. Chelsey Roper
  3. Keeli Poloni


  1. Travis Dove
  2. Brett Leavitt
  3. Annie Locher
  4. Tyler McCoy

40 & older

  1. Dale Griggs
  2. Kevin Grizzle


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