Fair's free Junior Horse Show to be held Saturday at Merced College Arena

The 2010 Merced County Fair begins Tuesday, but organizers said the free Junior Horse Show will be Saturday.

Open to the public, the show begins at a new, early time, 7:30 a.m., when temperatures are more comfortable. The event is in the Merced College Arena, located at the north end of the college campus.

The annual show is for 4-H, FFA and independent junior exhibitors, the fair said in a news release. It starts with showmanship, where participants show their horses while the animals wear halters. The highest scoring 4-Her and FFAer in the showmanship segment will each compete in the Round Robin event at the Merced County Fair on June 18 at 6 p.m. in the fairgrounds' Nolet Arena.

The horse show also will include Western, English, stock horse and trail class events. The gymkhana and barrel racing will start after 11 a.m. All gymkhana events qualify for the State Fair.

While many participants have already submitted entry forms to compete in the horse show, any junior exhibitor can sign up for any of the events that day, except showmanship. Post entries will be accepted until 7 a.m. Saturday for the horse show events and until 10:30 a.m. for the gymkhana events. The cost is $8 per entry per class.

Spectators should bring their own chairs. Food and drinks will be sold at the show's fundraiser concession stand, the news release said.

To get to the Merced College Arena, head north on G Street and turn left at the Cormorant Drive traffic light. The road leads to the arena behind the main college campus.

Presented by the 35th District Agricultural Association, the 119th annual fair's theme is "Wetlands, Water and Wildlife." For more information call (209) 722-1507, fax at (209) 722-3773 or e-mail Info@MercedCountyFair.com.

Visit the 2010 Merced County Fair's website, www.MercedCountyFair.com and connect on Facebook and Twitter.