Animals both large and small take to the track at Kremmling’s Kentucky Derby Party
The event features both horse races and corgi races
The Kentucky Derby is known as the “most exciting two minutes in sports.” Twenty of the world’s most elite thoroughbreds blasted down the track to the cheers of hundreds of thousands of fans on May 7. This year’s Derby was a celebration of the underdog, as longshot and relatively unknown horse Rich Strike blew past the competition in the final stretch of the race. Being the second biggest upset in the Derby’s history, Rich Strike’s victory shocked the horse-racing community.
On the same day as Rich Strike’s legendary win, Kremmling celebrated West Grand’s tradition of horse racing. Families headed to Middle Park Fair & Rodeo grounds for Kremmling’s Kentucky Derby Party.
The festive event wasn’t just for horses, though. It was corgis that got the party started.
A favorite breed of the British royal family, corgis also happen to be a popular popular pet project for Middle Park 4-H members. This is fitting, since horse racing is known as “the sport of kings” and many members of the royal family breed racehorses. Some of the “royal” corgis were more competitive than others, with an enthusiastic puppy outstripping the pack to win the race.
After the corgis had their time on the track, the match horse racing began. During the Calcutta, the crowd was able to place bids on 10 horses. Two horses raced together in each of the lively matches, giving the riders an opportunity to showcase both their riding ability and the athleticism of their animals. A professional thoroughbred racehorse can go from 0 to 40 mph in a matter of seconds. Although the horses in Kremmling’s race didn’t clock this speed, their impressive agility and the riders’ enthusiasm won applause from the crowd.
In the first race, Cody Budy and Rachelle Hawkinson took to the track, with Budy winning. In the second race, Rheann Pesch won against Stella Byrne. Fletcher Flanigan took the third-match win against Jace Provance. In the fourth race, Audrey Wheatley won against Taylin Harthun. And in the final race, Cody Mumma raced against Dalene Harthun.
Some might recognize Mumma from a very different sport — originally from Kremmling, he is a professional mixed martial arts fighter. Yet he’s just as accomplished at horse racing as he is at MMA fighting, winning his race against Harthun.
After the matches, it was time for the raffle and auction, where lucky winners received number of prizes. Attendees could also enjoy food from Los Amigos Mexican Restaurant and drinks from Thirsty Dills and Blue Valley Spirits. To round out the night, there was a hat contest. Elegant outfits are a staple of horse racing, dating back to when racing was a royal affair. At the Kentucky Derby, women try to outdo each other by displaying their most extravagant headwear. In Kremmling, the ladies with the fanciest hats took to the stage to show off their Derby-worthy style.
All in all, Kremmling’s 3rd annual Kentucky Derby party was an enthusiastic start to this year’s Triple Crown. The next two national horse races are the Preakness Stakes on May 21 and the Belmont Stakes on June 11. Kremmling will host the 106th Middle Park Fair & Rodeo from July 31 to Aug. 7, featuring 4H shows, livestock competitions, a professional rodeo and much more.
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