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Virus Threat Forces Barrel Racing Group to Cancel Major Fundraising Event

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - A recent flare-up of equine herpes virus-1 (EHV-1) has disrupted horse events throughout the midwest. To err on the side of caution, the Iowa National Barrel Horse Association made the difficult decision to cancel their "Spring Fling" fundraiser at Kirkwood's Iowa Equestrian Center this weekend. The association estimates losses in the thousands of dollars as a result.

Becky Culley of Tiffin is among the riders missing out.

"We have two fundraisers every year, and they're basically our only way to get money for our state competition," Culley explained.

The state competition is scheduled for early August. But with such a packed schedule at Kirkwood's Iowa Equestrian Center, Culley said there's no time to squeeze in another fundraiser before then.

"It is the one facility that checks all the boxes for everything we need for that big of competition," Culley told us. "It has the stall facilities that can hold that amount of competitors, it has the electric hookups where we can haul in our living quarters, our trailers, where we can plug in."

Culley said participation in the annual Spring Fling varies year to year.

"Generally, it's between 170 and 400 horses that come to the event," she said, making it difficult to know exactly how much money the association will be out. She estimates a loss of roughly $10,000.

For now, Culley said other barrel racers will be pushing for additional sponsorship to make up the deficit.

"We're selling candy bars and trying to come up with different ways. We'll probably just not have the awards this year that we've had in previous years."

In the meantime, Culley hopes horse owners and equestrian centers will continue to keep their animals vaccinated and healthy, while they wait for the threat of EHV-1 to die down.

If you'd like to contact the INBHA, you can visit their website,

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