Thursday, August 05, 2021
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Back to business at Rebecca Farm

by KATIE BROWN
Daily Inter Lake | July 20, 2021 8:55 PM

It’s almost fitting that things are back to normal in time for The Event at Rebecca Farm’s 20th anniversary.

“I’m still trying to figure out how 20 years have gone by,” event organizer Sarah Broussard said. “It’s always just been a part of my life and it’s just kind of normal.”

Last year the event was limited by COVID-19 restrictions mandated by the sport’s governing body, which included not allowing spectators or media and limiting entries to lower-level competitors due to the lack of qualifying events for 3 and 4-star CCI riders in the region.

That’s not the case this year. There are 580 entries, which is close to a normal year (typically near 600). The only remnant of the pandemic to be found is the absence of Canadian riders due to the border closure.

“People are excited to get out, excited to do something, and this is such a centerpiece for so many people in their riding that they’re really excited to be able to do it again,” Broussard said.

It’s full speed ahead for Broussard and her crew, who have been working overtime to get things moving.

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Course builder Louis Martin distresses pieces of wood used to make jumps for the cross-country course at Rebecca Farm on Thursday, July 15. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

“We have an amazing team here and you know, it’s 20 years that we’ve been doing it,” Broussard said. “That does not mean we’re experts. That means we’re experienced. There’s always something to learn.”

The Event showcases the equestrian sport of three-day eventing, which is like a triathlon on horseback featuring three phases: dressage, show jumping and cross country.

One of the major attractions at The Event each year is the cross country course. Ian Stark is the designer, but Bert Wood is tasked with building new jumps and refreshing older ones. He’s been with Rebecca Farm since the beginning.

Wood has been working on the course for over a month, re-staining, sanding, pressure-washing and otherwise refreshing the jumps that stay out year-round. After that, the jumps get “dressed up” with flowers and flags.

“Most of them (jumps) we bring in because they’re too nice to leave out. It’s a pretty big production,” he said.

One of his special projects is the farm’s signature jump, something that wasn’t done last year.

When all is said and done, Wood estimates he and fellow course builder Louis Martin will spend about 20 man-hours putting it together. The signature jump is typically kept secret until the course is revealed to competitors.

The Event has become a tradition for the Broussards and extended family and friends, who travel from Louisiana and Georgia each year to help put it on, with the exception of last summer.

“They’re back this year,” Broussard said. “In full force.”

It’s a family reunion of sorts. Broussard said everyone is mostly busy with the event, but they do make time for some fun activities.

“My aunt always makes gumbo, which is the best,” Broussard added. “And then I take the leftovers and keep it in my freezer and eat it throughout the rest of the year.”

The Event was founded by Sarah’s mother, Rebecca Broussard, who passed away in 2010. It originated in the 1980s as the Herron Park Horse Trials.

Rebecca Farm is owned by Jerome Broussard, Sarah’s father.

Festivities begin today starting at 8 a.m. and conclude Sunday. Admission is free.