Grand National Horseman Association Play Day Finals, a family tradition

Grand National Horseman Association Play Day Finals, a family tradition

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) – The Grand National Horseman Association Play Day Finals at Lawton's Great Plains Coliseum is in full swing with a couple of unusual timed events including flag and potato racing.

In flag racing, the rider goes around a barrel and picks up a flag from a bucket of dirt on top of a barrel. The rider then places it inside of a bucket on top of another barrel nearby. Then it's off to the finish line.

Potato racing is similar.  Each barrel has an object in it. The rider picks up the object from one barrel, drops it off in another barrel and then heads to the finish line.

The riders qualified for the finals events by competing in a minimum of 3 Play Days hosted by their district earlier in this year.

One family says this event has been passed down from generation to generation in their family. Even though they want to win that belt buckle and saddle on Saturday, July 30, they're taking it all in and enjoying the company.

"It's a family thing and family is everything," Stephanie Sullivan, a mother and rider, said.

Stephanie Sullivan and her 4-year-old daughter, Raycee, have been raised with the family traditions of riding horses and competing in the events at the Play Days. Sullivan and her family are from Cache. She has raced her whole life, but this year she is focused on cheering on her daughter because of her injury.

Raycee had never competed before, but Tuesday she won 3rd place for her age group. Her mom couldn't be prouder.

"It's very emotional. It's exciting. She does really good for as little as she is," Sullivan said.

Stephanie's grandfather, Bobby Glenn, was a part of the first riders in the organization back in 1974. He also competed in every event. He says he has enjoyed watching the program grow for future generations.

"Nothing grows unless you have people who are trying to make it improved and have a purpose. Our purpose is to have something for the kids to do, so it gives me a good feeling when you think you've done something that would be good for the kids," Bobby Glenn explained.

Kim Glenn, Stephanie's mother, says even the people that travel from all over Oklahoma and Texas to compete have become a close knit group.

"The people that you meet, they become your family. A lot of them don't live by us, so we only get to see them every-so-often, so it's like a big family gathering," Kim Glenn said.

Kim hopes the tradition of traveling to every meet continues to live on and the family will always be around horses and this competition for years to come.

"I'm hoping they all will keep going where we can just sit back and cheer them on," Kim Glenn said.

The Finals event will wrap up Saturday night with a banquet where scores are added together and the overall winner of the 8 games is announced. Each age group will have a saddle awarded as the grand prize.

The Play Day finals at the Coliseum are open and free to the public all week long.

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