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HORSIN' around

Horse-lovers looking to add an interesting activity to their summer schedules may enjoy Team Penning and Ranch Sorting, done throughout the summer at the Double S Arena in Detroit Lakes. It operates through the Central Minnesota Team Penning Association, (CMTPA).

"Team Penning and Ranch Sorting has been one of the fastest growing equestrian sports," said Scot Stelter, head of Double S Arena. "We started the Double S arena with the goal to host AQHA (American Quarter Horse Association) Sanctioned events."

Although, as Stelter said, "The majority of the people who come and compete have their own horses," owning a horse is not a necessity.

And there is no pressure to buy your horses directly from the ranch. "We don't try to sell people horses," Stelter said.

Being young is not a necessity, or even necessarily an advantage to Team Penning and Ranch Sorting. In fact, there will be a Select World Show exclusively for competitors over 50, in the beginning of September.

Team Penning and Ranch Sorting is not only a good time, but it carries the potential for almost unlimited competitive advancement.

"The majority of the people that compete at our shows are competing to qualify to move onto bigger shows, Stelter noted. "Not only can you advance to the World's Shows but all achievements are tacked on your horses and riders for lifetime achievements."

But be aware, the competition is fierce.

"A lot of the riders ... are ranked top in the world for high point standings," Stelter said.

It helps, though, that there is more than one way to win an award.

For example, the AQHA hands out annual Hi-Point awards to riders across the 50 states, based on the number of points earned.

Bar S Arena is continually improving its facilities to make the horses and people that stay there more comfortable, so expect even better accommodations than last year.

"We continue to try to do things that accommodate more people coming from far away," Stelter said, as well as their horses.

But most of all, expect Team Penning and Ranch Sorting to pave the way for a lifetime of joy in horse riding, competition, and family bonding.

"The sport is a great family sport," Stelter said. "It brings my daughter and me together sharing time and competing together."

Stelter can be reached at (218)-847-3329.