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Chloe Robbins, 15, gallops through the barrel racing event at the Coarsegold Rodeo Grounds at Saturday's 'Nationals or Bust' gymkhana. (Photos by George Lurie)

Dust And Money Raised At ‘Nationals or Bust’ Gymkhana

Katie Linderholm and her horse Little John prepare for Saturday’s barrel race.

COARSEGOLD — Today at the Coarsegold Rodeo Grounds, Minarets Class of 2019 grad Katie Linderholm raised thousands of dollars for her school’s FFA chapter.

Saturday’s ‘Nationals or Bust!’ gymkhana, which Linderholm organized, drew more than 30 local competitors — from 4 to well over 60 years old — who paid $10 to $25 to compete in events including Washington Poles, Single Stake and Clover Leaf Barrels.

The event, which also included a raffle and food booths, will benefit the  O’Neals-Minarets FFA Chapter, whose team –which includes Katie —  will represent California at the National FFA Convention and Expo’s Parliamentary Procedure competition this fall in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Nine-year-old Dylan Lorance and his grandmother, Raymond resident Darlene Stagner, prepare to compete in the Single Stake competition.

This wasn’t Katie Linderholm’s first gymkhana. Last year, she raised $5,000 with her first one — ‘Blue and Gold — which was part of her Senior Legacy Project at Minarets.

Before the dust even started flying at the Coarsegold Rodeo Grounds this morning, Katie had already secured more than $1,000 in donations from nearly a dozen local businesses and FFA supporters, including Tanner and Kevin Tweed, who donated use of the rodeo grounds for the morning-long event.

“I am really happy with today’s turnout,” Katie said during a break in competition Saturday. “Everything seems to be running really smoothly.”

Katie competed on two different horses in three different events while helping to run Saturday’s gymkhana. Her mom Kim served as announcer and her younger brother also helped manage some of the behind-the-scenes logistics.

Gymkhana, according to Wikipedia, is “an Indian term which originally referred to a place of assembly, a meaning later altered to denote a place where skill-based contests were held.”

Today in the U.S., gymkhana typically refers to an equestrian competition held to display the training and talents of horses and riders, particularly in speed events like sprints and barrel racing.

Besides barrels, Katie is racing around on a number of other fronts these days — getting ready to start classes in a few weeks at Fresno State while also continuing to train with the Mustang FFA team for the upcoming trip to Nationals.

A recipient of the Smittcamp Family Honors College Scholarship, Katie is enrolled in Fresno State’s Honors College and plans to pursue a bachelor’s in agriculture education.

Katie Linderholm helps measure the distance between barrels for the barrel race.

She spent four years in FFA at Minarets, raising market swine and horses and participating in contests including parliamentary procedure, banking, job interview and livestock judging. She plans to live at home while commuting to Fresno State for classes.

“I want to be around my horses and continue competing,” she said Saturday just before trotting off on her horse “Little John” to compete in the barrel racing event.

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