By Mason W. Canales
The Cove Herald
Copperas Cove Saddle Club members will continue to put a portion of the old landfill to good use this year with riding time, horse events and fundraisers.
The Copperas Cove City Council renewed a lease agreement last week with the horse riding organization, which will use the landfill entrance for $12 a year.
"The biggest thing is just having something available for people to use, and there is no type of public arena for people in the area," said Valerie Robertson, the club's play day chairperson. "It really does so much for the families that are into the equine."
The riding group has leased the Boys Ranch Road site for at least eight years, said Brian Hawkins, a spokesperson with Copperas Cove Parks and Recreation "There are two benefits here. One, there is a place for an organization to host (its) programming. The other is, it allows this property to be maintained."
Charles Robertson, the club's president, said the local nonprofit organization, with 30 families from the Killeen area, has grown since it started using the horse arena as its home.
A lot of people who own horses don't have the land to ride, and the club's facility offers a place, said Valerie Robertson. "If they pay their memberships ($30 per family), they can go out and practice. It gives them year-around access."
The only other non-private area to ride is the Rodeo Arena in Killeen, but it is costly to rent, she said. "Cove has offered a huge benefit for people who just want to come out and just spend time with their animals."
The riding group also hosts two competitions, Playtime and Jackpot. Playtime events are held seven times a year and has a series of different riding challenges, such as barrel or pole racing. They are open to members from other saddle clubs and participants can qualify for statewide competitions. Jackpot events allow riders to compete for prizes.
Once a year, the organization conducts a community fundraiser at the property. Last year's benefit was for an organ transplant patient, said Valerie Robertson. This year the club plans to host a competition in April to raise money for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life.
"Fifty percent of all the proceeds will go towards Relay for Life," she said, adding that the rest of the money will benefit the local club.
Contact Mason W. Canales at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7474.
The Copperas Cove Saddle Club meets in a non-riding atmosphere at Lil-Tex Restaurant at 7 p.m., the third Thursday of the month.
The first Playtime Event is at 10 a.m. Saturday at 2825 Boys Ranch Road. Sign-up starts at 9 a.m.