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‘We need to make a living’: Concerns raised after barrel racing event in Kamloops shut down

Barrel racing is shown here in this file photo. Randy Russ Memorial Barrel Race

A barrel racing event was shut down in Kamloops over the weekend and the organizer wants to know why.

A few competitors managed to get a run in on Friday before organizers were told to shut it down.

Jim Cornelsen, the CEO of Kamloops Race Central, told Global News Sunday they had taken many safety precautions, including not allowing any spectators and hiring a live production company so people could watch the event safely from home.

“We put maps on our social media with one-way traffic in and out. We had people at the main gate taking temperatures as people came in. We put a lot of signage up, fences up to keep the traffic flowing the right way,” Cornelsen said.
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They also changed the on-site restaurant to provide takeout options only.

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Cornelsen said he understands safety and health are a priority but said they operated the event last year, all through the COVID-19 pandemic and they did not have one COVID case.

“When I look on the guidelines, it said no more than 10 for an outdoor sport,” he said. “OK, well let’s make this work for 10 then. What else can we do? We got to work through this stuff so we can all make a living. I got hit with a big bill from this race.
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Barrel racing involves one athlete and horse competing against the clock and happens in a large outdoor space.

Cornelsen said there were no more than 10 people in their event space at any one time.

“The only thing I felt we could provide safely for the agricultural community was barrel racing and they felt the need to take that away for no, no reason at all,” he added.

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In a statement to Global News, Interior Health said this event was “in contravention of the public health orders for gatherings and events.”

“Under the current orders, gatherings over 10 people are not permitted, nor is travel for sport. We were concerned about the safety of the community and potential for transmission of COVID-19 among the attendees and into the broader community,” the health authority said.

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