The Barrel Race Against Breast Cancer kicks off at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Lighting C Arena.

The McAlester Regional Health Center has teamed up with Tough Enough To Wear Pink? for this year’s races.

“Barrel Race Against Breast Cancer is different than other barrel racing. A lot of people who race ride in memory of someone. Some of them will have a special saddle blanket or shirt,” Dana Hugle, the coordinator of the Barrel Race Against Breast Cancer, said.

Profits from the event will go to the Tulsa Project Women, which benefits uninsured and underinsured women.

The money will go to patients in southeast Oklahoma.

The money available to stage the event has increased for this year’s barrel race. This has allowed organizers to offer a new 5-D race for kids 12 and under. The youth races start at 11 a.m. and the 5-D race follows.

Last year’s winner for the 1-D race,which is considered the fastest level in barrel racing, was Laretta Mauldin, who is from McAlester.

Prizes for the winners are donated. Items range from new boots, to tack or gear, for horses.

“We hope for about 300 racers again this year,” Hugle said. Sponsors can pledge one of three different levels: Gold Buckle, Silver Spur or Pink Racers, where they donate money for every racer who wears pink. This year the sponsorship has grown and new businesses or organizations which would like to participate are encouraged to sign up, Hugle said.

Professional radio announcer Rich Kaye will be hosting the event. There will be T-shirts and other merchandise available for purchase along with a concession stand for snacks.

“Pink ribbons will be painted on the horses in remembrance,” Hugle said “Instead of a memorial this year, there will be an educational discussion before the race starts, along with booths that promote awareness to breast cancer.”

Admission to the public is free.

Anyone who would like sign up to become a racer or pledge can phone 421-8626 for more information.

Sarah McCauley can be reached at 421-2024 or by e-mail at scmccauley@mcalesternews.com.

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