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The 12th annual Runnin' WJ Barrel Race is under way at the Four States Fairgrounds arena and lasts through Sunday.

The books open at 7:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. There will also be church services at 7:30 a.m. Sunday.

The event raises money for Runnin' WJ Ranch and its therapeutic riding program.

"Last year we raised $50,000. This year we have even more of a turnout so we're hoping to raise between $50,000 to $75,000," said Sam Clem, Runnin' WJ executive director.

Runnin' WJ is also raffling a $2,500 Visa card. Raffle tickets are available for $5 each at the event.

All of the money raised goes to provide scholarships to kids who attend riding therapy at Runnin' WJ Ranch, approximately 150 to 175 kids per week.

"We are just about giving scholarships to everybody. It just seems like there are so many children and we refuse to turn any away," Clem said.

Therapeutic riding not only helps these special-needs children physically but mentally as well.

"It sets them free and gives them joy in their lives. It tones every muscle in their body physically but it also gives them freedom of spirit. Everybody thinks we're a therapeutic horse riding ranch and we are, but our calling is to love the kids," he said.

The Barrel Race is free to attend and the public is invited.

"We encourage people to come out," Clem said.

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