Dusty Vandersteen and the Rocking W Charity Barrel Races crew are saddling up for an event filled weekend in Carman. The Rick Wiebe Memorial Weekend is slated for this Friday and Saturday (June 14th and 15th) where there will be plenty of entertainment and activities to take in, in support of South Central Cancer Resource Centre (SCCR). 

"Our goal is to support Central Cancer Resource and the things that they do for cancer patients in our local community, and we do that by barrel racing.”

Contestants collect pledges to compete. There will also be a silent auction, says Van Der Steen, “This is how the funds are raised”. 

The Rocking W Charity Barrel races started 15 years ago. 

“It started as a grassroots barrel racing event at my dad's [family ranch between Winkler and Morden]. It was called the Rocking W Barrel Series. We did that for 10 years. In 2018 was our first charity barrel race. That year we raised just over $14,000 [for SCCR].” 

Van Der Steen went on to say that the funds grew to more than $16,000 in 2019 before some hard news put a hold on the dream of growing the races.

rick wiebe memoria;Rick Wiebe was known for happily preparing the ranch for barrel racing. Supplied by Dusty Van Der Steen.

"Suddenly the pandemic hit, and unfortunately around that same time, my dad was also diagnosed with cancer. So, we [started] a new journey. The fact that we supported SCCR [became] even more close to our hearts. My dad passed away during the pandemic and when we started back up in 2022, we decided to change the name to honor my dad.” 

The Rick Wiebe Memorial weekend has since grown by leaps and bounds. Last year a committee was formed to help plan through the growth. "Many committee members have lost family members to cancer", says Van Der Steen, “It's very, very near and dear to our hearts. And being able to honor my dad and his legacy through our event makes it extra special for me.” 

Van Der Steen reflects on her dad, who loved horses, life, and mostly the people that surrounded him. 

"He loved people. He was so proud to see our ranch being used [for barrel racing]. He was just so proud to see our yard full of trailers and full of people. He just loved having everyone there and sharing it with them and visiting with people from all over the country.” 

This weekend’s event has grown beyond the Wiebe Ranch where it originated. Today, the Rocking W Charity Barrel Races take place at the Carman Fair grounds. Find the full schedule here

"We just really appreciate the folks that come out and choose to support South Central Cancer Resources through our event."

Hear the full interview with Dusty Van Der Steen and Connie Bailey below.

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