Five years ago, when Kandi Wood organized the first Cups for Cancer charity barrel racing event, she was only expecting to raise $500 for the Tour de Rock. That first year, they raised $8,000 and that number keeps on going up.
On Sunday, riders and their horses came out to the Comox Valley Exhibition grounds to race around the three barrels in honour of those fighting cancer and those who have died from the disease.
This year, the competition brought in over $20,000; to date Cups for Cancer has raised over $80,000 for Tour de Rock.
The 30 barrel racers came prepared with brightly coloured outfits and bedazzled bras worn on the outside of their clothes or attached to their horse’s front.
“They bling ‘em, and they bring ‘em,” said Wood referencing the bras, adding that many of the bras decorating the banners and fences during the event belonged to her friend who passed away from breast cancer.
“Before she passed away, she gave me all her bras and told me to use them for my Cups for Cancer. It puts a bit of fun into the day,” she said.
Many barrel racers rode in memory of a loved one who has passed away or is currently fighting cancer. Prizes and belt buckles were also given out to the best riders, top fundraisers and best costumes.
“Be grateful and pay it forward,” said Wood. “We’re paying it forward because we are lucky to have our health and our children are lucky to have their health. There’s people out there losing their children and if we can help a family go to a summer camp for a week at summer time and put cancer on the back burner, then we’re going to do that.”