DARBY — Gear heads will have another chance to get together for a good cause while riding through a traditional barrel racing course at the Darby Rodeo Grounds this weekend.
Riders will take to the dirt arena in motorcycles and ATV's as part of the Moto Round Up motorized barrel racing series that was started last summer by event organizer Sean Jackson and carried into this year.
The races on Saturday and Sunday, which will feature quad and motorcycle racers from ages 9 to 14 years old, adult racers and a new over-60 class, is the fourth of five race events this summer.
"The goal was to make some money for the automotive class at Darby High School and create a cadet program," said Jackson, who volunteers to teach a small-engine course at Darby. "I come from racing and this kind of seemed like the ideal thing where it’s not head-to-head, they can do it one person at a time and stay safe.
"And barrel racing fits right in with Montana and it seems to be doing well and we’re growing."
Jackson expects over 30 racers this weekend to take to the course. Proceeds from the race go to a purse for competitors, but also to the automotive class. Jackson is trying to raise enough money to start a team of students in the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow, a national competition where teams of five kids compete to tear down and rebuild a Chevy 350 engine with serious scholarship opportunities for students.
At the last race in July, champions of the motorized barrel racing event actually donated their winnings back to the program.
"It’s a lot of fun and the camaraderie of the whole thing is incredible. You’d have to be there to feel it," Jackson said.
Gates open at the Darby Rodeo Grounds at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday with practice rounds running through noon. There will be lunch and live music on Saturday, and qualifying rounds will run from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.
On Sunday, the main event — the fast five from all classes — start at 3:30 p.m. after a "donut contest" where riders will try to make the biggest burnout donut on the track. Fans are advised to bring eye protection. Gates open at 9 a.m. Sunday with qualifying in the morning and afternoon.
The final Moto Round Up race after this weekend is slated for Sept. 21-22.
For more information, visit the Moto Round Up Facebook page.