Cloquet, Minn. -- March 12-15 down in Waco, Texas was a weekend that Janelle Engstad had spent months preparing for.
"To be able to compete at that level is a blessing. It's just amazing to run with those people that are pro that are like idols to all of us and we're able to run with them. Hopefully we'll get there some day," said Engstad.
Engstad was one of hundreds of riders competing at the Elite Extravaganza barrel race competitions… right before the world stopped due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
"That was our last race before the virus hit and we're itching to get back into it."
While many other competitions, including the Houston rodeo were being shut down Engstad and Ashley Edmunds were able to compete in every run they had planned to do… it was on the way back they learned that the sport they love… was going to look a whole lot different.
"We were all ready to take on the year and continue racing and we had races planned that were literally planned the following weekend."
So with races on hold for the moment, what do Janelle, Ashley and her sister Kylee do? Well luckily for them, Towline Farms in Cloquet where the three ride and Janelle's mom Jill is the owner… is one of the few places that is able to stay open during the pandemic.
"We've just been practicing our stuff and trying to get our riding better." said Ashley.
Townline Farms is able to stay open under the Governers Stay at home order… as agriculutre is considered an essential service. As for the girls, they are grateful to have both an indoor and outdoor facilitiy… so if anything, more time to train and get better.
"We're just out here working horses so that when races do start up again we're ready to go and geared up and on top," said Kylee.
They know everyone else is at home working just the same.
"I know the first race of the year, it's going to be tough, it's going to be a tough competition for all of us because everybody is at home, sitting there working with their horses so it's gonna be a race for sure."
Townline Farms is able to stay open during this time under the directions of Governor Tim Walz's stay-at-home order. Equine owners, barn managers and service providers are considered an essential service. Therefore owner Jill Dryke has experienced a booming in her business, having the capabilities to open her barn to riders 24/7 in facilities that are just over a year old.
For more information about Townline Farms, you can visit their Facebook page.