Not only will the area be enjoying visitors to the area for the balloon festival this weekend, but the Blackhawk Arena will also be hosting the third annual Xtreme Million Finals, courtesy Burns Events, beginning June 17 and going through the 26th.
“Last year at our second annual Xtreme Million Finals we had over 500 contestants, which brought in over 1500 people into our area, and we’re expecting similar numbers this year,” said Dana Burns-Shaw. “We will have visitors from across the United States and Canada here in Salina and we are looking forward to sharing our friendly community with them. Expect to see a lot of trailers around the next few weeks! With the Xtreme Barrel Racing event, we’re expecting to have Xtreme fun, too, at the balloon festival. The Blackhawk is a beautiful location to watch the balloons fly, and the activities and events in town throughout the weekend are nice things to offer our guests. They can go down and take in the concerts and activities, and it really makes a great experience for them.”
She said the Xtreme Barrel Race event is the largest Divisional Barrel Race in the country and she chose to host it in her hometown, Salina, at the Blackhawk Arena, of which she was a founding committee member. With a payout of over one million dollars, the event brings in top level contestants with high-end rigs and six figure horses, and most guests stay the entire nine days, eating, staying, fueling up, and shopping. It is a great boost to the economy.
“Our contestants love the big event in the small town, especially not having to deal with city traffic while pulling a trailer, and we love to share our roots with them,” said Burns-Shaw. “The barrel racing community is like one big family, and it really is an empowering sport for women. Over 90% of our participants are female, and it is not uncommon to see three generations running, grandmothers, moms, and granddaughters; it is a sport you can participate in throughout your entire life.”
The Xtreme Million is a top-level event, and there will be many contestants who have been to the NRF represented, but it’s also for amateurs- anyone that can run within the time qualifications can participate in the Divisionals. Burns-Shaw said there will be a lot of local contestants participating, as this is a great opportunity for racers in the Central Utah area; most of the time they’d have to drive to Texas to get this kind of payout.
In addition to being a family-oriented sport, the barrel racing family is one who looks out for each other; last year’s top money winner was a 12-year-old girl from Idaho whose family had suffered the recent loss of her brother. Attending the event was a huge milestone for them after their devastating loss, and the barrel racing family came together in helping them out with a life-changing payout and support.
Sevier County is a major sponsor, as is Burns Saddlery and Redmond Equine, and contestants have the unique opportunity to see and experience hands-on both businesses which contribute heavily to prize packages.
“Prizes are a way to give back to our customers, but it’s also a cool connection for those in attendance to see where the items are made,” said Burns-Shaw. “Whether it be the silver work, the hats and saddles, or the Redmond Equine products, our guests love to see where things are made and it’s a part of the whole unique experience for them.”
Another facet of the event is supporting a scholarship fundraiser by contributing to a Redmond Mine tour, steak fry, and dynamite shoot, with 100% of the proceeds going to the Redmond Minerals Youth Scholarship Fund. More information and registration can be found on burnsevents.com.
“This is something we do in conjunction with the Xtreme Million and as part of our Xtreme fun,” said Burns-Shaw. “Redmond Equine is a major sponsor, and we really appreciate them, as well as Sevier County and Burns.”
She said she’s also grateful for the community’s support and the amazing facility in the Blackhawk Arena, and she’s confident the visiting guests and contestants will be treated with friendly kindness as they explore our hometown.