Photo courtesy of Debby Wylie
Members of the Blackfoot Saddlemens Posse who won first place in the state competition last Saturday are (from left) Laura Hardiman, Shirley Virgin, Kim Gregan, Anita Wanstrom, Amber Jensen-Top Hand, Lauri Krause-President, Sheri Nickerson-Drill Mistress, Dana Blackburn, Julie Blackburn-Assistant Top Hand, Cristie Peery-Secretary Treasurer, Jeri Castle, Lori Prestridge-Vice President, and Rosann Angell.
The Blackfoot Saddlemens Posse won the state competition last Saturday. The 13-member posse placed first in drill, third in parade, first in the most first places and first in the most overall points won.
The Blackfoot Saddlemens Posse competed against eight other posses.
"This win was way cool," said posse drill mistress Sheri Nickerson. "I am so proud of everyone.
"It's a lot of work, a lot of talent and a lot of effort," she said.
"I don't remember the last time we won the state competition," Nickerson said.
Each posse is judged on equitation, uniforms, tack, grooming and uniform performance. In the drill category, the posse is put to music. The drill performance is more than five minutes and less than 10 minutes.
The Blackfoot Posse's drill performance was set to the theme from "Katie Elder." Their performance lasted 8.5 minutes.
Besides drill, the posse competed in a variety of races.
"Everything is done at a run," Nickerson said.
There are some straight racesâ€”1/8 mile, 1/4 mile and 3/8 mileâ€”and there are plenty of races showing skill. There is open pleasure and pair pleasure races. Other races include ride and lead, pole binding, flying E, scurry, flag, figure eight, Pony Express, rope, 10-barrel, potato, water, cloverleaf and rescue.
The race portion of the competition ends with a timed trailer race. In this race, a horse is taken out of a trailer, saddled, ridden around the arena, unsaddled and put back in the trailer.
Relays include track and arena.
"The posse is a bunch of grown-ups having fun," Nickerson said.
Started in 1985, the Blackfoot Saddlemens Posse highlights "horsemanship and sportsmanship," said posse vice president Lori Prestridge. "It's a lot of fun.
"It takes a well-rounded horse to be able to do [this competition]," she said. "The breed of horse does not matter. If you can ride and the horse does well in practice, it can fit in the posse.
"It takes a lot of commitment to do it," she said. "There's no money. We do it for fun."
Non-riding members also participate in the Blackfoot Saddlemens Posse.