'It Takes Guts' barrel racing event to take place in Neepawa


By: Lanny Stewart


The “It Takes Guts” barrel racing event will be taking place on June 22 at the Neepawa Fairgrounds.

The event will be put on by Neepawa's own Erin Cathcart, her parents and sisters and is a fundraiser for Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, with half of the entry fee money going directly towards the foundation.

"Colitis has not only affected me, but also my family," said Cathcart, who was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in September 2012. Ulcerative Colitis is an unpredictable and complex autoimmune IBD disease that causes inflammation, swelling and ulceration in the large intestine which has no known cause or cure as of yet.

She says the decision to put on the event was because horses are a huge part of her life and that she's been around barrel racing since she was six years old.

"It's a sport I love and when I was first diagnosed I had to put it on hold in order to focus on my health. It was really tough for me to not be able to ride and do something I am so passionate about.

"Everyday we [her family] all strive for a cure and to raise awareness about IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) in hopes of preventing other families from going through what we have," she continued. "My sisters and I love to barrel race so what better way then to host a jackpot while raising awareness and money to further the research for a cure."

Cathcart says the goal of the event is to raise awareness and money for Crohn's and Colitis research and education.

"A lot of people don’t understand the severity of these diseases; they are much more then just a stomach ache," she added. "Colitis has completely changed my life and has taught me things I never wanted to know. "IBD has forced me go through tests that make me sick, yet give me the answers I need as well as take medications that are hard on my body but keep the inflammation under control."

She says giving up barrel racing for several months due to the disease was difficult for her and that riding was something she took for granted before getting sick. She's also very thankful for the research that is taking place to find out new therapy medicines to help people like herself.

"I recently started on an IV infusion medication after going through a terrifying relapse and being hospitalized [December 2013-February 2014]. With the money raised, new medications like Remicade can be used and I am now on my way to a better life. I still fight daily battles but this is a new normal for me and I have come to accept that."

Cathcart, 21, currently attends the University of Saskatchewan majoring in animal science. She says she's had had numerous setbacks since being diagnosed including having to withdraw from university twice.

"I am determined to finish my schooling and one thing Colitis has shown me is how strong of a person I truly am. I fight everyday to have as normal a life as possible."

Cathcart is thankful to those close to her, including her parents Kevin and Lori and her sisters Jenn and Michelle, for encouraging her to keep fighting everyday.

"My mom and dad have put their lives on hold to be there for me these past two years and without them I wouldn’t have made it this far," she added.

The "It Takes Guts" 4D barrel racing event gets underway at 2 p.m. and will include prizes as well as a silent auction table and awareness wristbands available to purchase.

Meanwhile, another fundraiser called the "Gutsy Walk for Crohn's and Colitis" is taking place on June 8 and will be held at the Minnedosa Beach with a BBQ to follow.

Cathcart and her family will be taking part in that event and encourages anyone interested to walk in that fundraiser as well.

For more information on the "It Takes Guts" event, contact Michelle or Erin Cathcart at 204-841-3462 or 306-612-3461.

Photo of Erin Cathcart submitted