The 106th Annual Millarville Races were on Canada Day, July 1, just as they were first staged in 1905, before the Province of Alberta was born. . . . .
There are three historic races, the Stock Horse Race on western saddle, where local acreage owners, ranchers and farmers race around the track just as they did in the original moments more than a century ago, a Ladies Side Saddle Race and a Pack Horse Race, sandwiched around excellent thoroughbred racing action.
A record crowd watched great thoroughbred action . . . .
the traditional stock horse race with a lot of mud in your eye, unless you're the leader. Although won this day by the big guy in the lead, its frequently won by the ladies actually, including last year.
Below, bragging rights and your name on a storied trophy are the only prizes for the Stock Horse Race.
Below, its a great family day, with lots of kids races in the infield . . . .
. . . . . and spills on Canada Day . . .
. . . . and always more thoroughbred racing as the day moves along . . .
. . . . a quiet moment . . . . .
. . . . leading into the Paddock area . . . .
. . . . where the cool crowd awaited their steeds . . .
. . . . and a chance for the kids from Calgary and area towns to get up close to a horse . . .
. . . . . or search for buried treasure in a money pile . . . .
. . . . while the grizzled veterans pondered their pari-mutuel bets . . .
. . . . . before they were off again . . . .
A fist pump for a victory at the end of the Ladies Side Saddle had started the day . . . .
. . . . . while there was a bizarre end to the Pack Horse Race as the day wound down. This involves a lot of packing and unpacking of horses between a run around the Racetrack . . . . . but the chap on the left had seen his outrider horse, which he's not allowed to handle, take a wrong turn and leave the facility altogether. He eventually returned after a lengthy search who knows where and found himself neck and neck with the unfortunately slow poke team on the right, which had just rounded the corner for a race to the finish. Pretty funny.
Great day at the Races.
The Millarville Racing & Agricultural Society operates Alberta's oldest and second largest outdoor market, the Millarville Farmers' Market, one of the largest crafts and artisans shows in Alberta, the Millarville Christmas Market, the Millarville Races, the 15th Annual Millarville Rodeo August 5-7 and the 104th Annual Priddis & Millarville Fair on August 20. More than 300 members and over 500 volunteers plus over two dozen user groups help with events, programs and facility maintenance as over 100,000 people pass through the gates in any given year, this in a rural facility without a surrounding town.