National Horse Days 2011 coming to Boone County

Staff Report

Giddy-up, you Midwest cowboys and cowgirls! From Aug. 19-21, National Horse Days is coming to the Boone County Fairgrounds, 8791 Route 76 in Belvidere. Horse Days will feature almost anything horse related that you can think of.

With more than 100 vendors from 14 different states, Horse Days will offer personalized instruction on horse trailer operation, towing safety, colt starting, jumping, dressage and reining, to name just a few things horse lovers can check out.

But the weekend isn’t just limited to horse lovers. “The vast majority of horse owners own dogs, too,” said Brian Lamb, Horse Days 2011 coordinator. He said that a lot of horse shows don’t allow dogs, and his wife won’t go anywhere without her German shepherd by her side. With that in mind, Lamb has included several dog-related activities and vendors as part of the weekend’s activities. An American Bulldog Conformation Show, Dog Agility Demonstration, Iron Dog Competition, and puppy and dog obedience classes are just a sampling of the dog-related activities slated for that weekend in August.

Lamb said the purpose of the weekend is to have a family-friendly event that is educational and affordable. “We’re trying to create an event to appeal to horse and dog owners,” he said. “But if someone lives in town and wants to bring the kids to see the horses and dogs, they can.” They are so serious about Horse Days being a family-friendly event that kids younger than 12 and adults older than 65 get in free, as well as any present or past military members, Lamb said.

Admission to Horse Days 2011 is $7 per day. Equine breed association members will receive a $2 discount. The grandstand events will be at an additional cost. A “Fun Pass” for all three days and all grandstand events is available for $35. The weekend’s three major events will be the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) Rodeo on Friday and Saturday nights, the Championship Horse Pulling on Saturday night and the Ultimate Horseman’s Challenge Race finals on Sunday. “The whole weekend is geared towards different things that are fun and educational, but also affordable,” Lamb said.

Every morning, the grounds will be open at 6 p.m., and a free pancake breakfast will be offered. Donations will be accepted, and the proceeds will go to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. The grounds will close at 11:30 p.m. nightly. For more information, visit

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