Extreme Horse Skijoring Competitor: ‘We’re Just Going to Go for It’

Rachel Sather has participated in several equine events over the years. And when she saw Extreme Horse Skijoring at Canterbury Park last year, she thought: “Why not?”

Skijoring at Canterbury ParkSather will be one of the participants at the Feb. 23 event, which involves a skier being towed by rope behind a horse. Competitors can reach speeds of up to 40 mph as they navigate obstacles, soar over jumps and collect rings.

In the Novice division, she will draw on her experience in grand entry, cow sorting and barrel racing for Extreme Horse Skijoring.

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Extreme Horse Skijoring

• 1-4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23
• Canterbury Park
• $10 for adults; free for kids 12 and younger
• Free parking

Getting Ready for Skijoring

Skijoring at Canterbury ParkWhen she first thought about participating in skijoring, the Excelsior resident “watched every video possible” to get a sense of what the sport — which was first reported in the mountains of Central Asia thousands of years ago– is all about.

And while she and her partner, boyfriend August Blasing, get ready for Extreme Horse Skijoring, so too do her horses. Sather said having her horses exposed to different things makes them better at events overall, noting the improvement she saw among them from one year to the next in rodeo-style events.

Sather said she tried to have one of her horses pull a weighted sled as practice.

“He wasn’t really a huge fan of it, so we’re kind of working on that,” she said. “You never know what you’ll get. Horses have a mind of their own, so we’ll see.”

What They Expect at Skijoring

Blasing, who will be skiing at the event, said he hadn’t heard of skijoring until Sather suggested they try it.

“It’s one of those things that you would never even imagine doing,” Blasing said. “It’s something you didn’t even know was a thing. When else are you going to be able to do that?”

While neither has competed in Extreme Horse Skijoring before, Blasing said they “might have a few strategies in place.”

Meanwhile, Sather said they’re both excited about the event.

“We’re just going to go for it,” she said.




Roller Derby Hits Canterbury Park

Roller Derby Canterbury ParkLooking for a unique and exciting outing this weekend?

North Star Roller Derby comes crashing into Canterbury Park on Saturday, Dec. 1. The 1970s and ’80s television phenomenon has been reborn and will roll into the Canterbury Park Expo Center with the speed, collisions and athleticism you remember.

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Canterbury Park asked Kaitlyn Egan — aka Maulnavia!, Maully for short — about the sport, her involvement as a blocker with the Banger Sisters, and what people can expect at the bouts on Saturday, Dec. 1.

How does roller derby work?

We play on an oval-shaped flat track (as opposed to the banked track people may recognize from the ’70s and ’80s).

Basically, roller derby is played in two halves and the game is called a bout. Each half is split into two-minute segments, called jams. There is a maximum of 10 players (5 from each team) on the track at any given time.

One player from each team wears a star on their helmet. These folks are called jammers and they Roller Derby Canterbury Parkscore the points. Each jammer can score points simultaneously. They score one point when they pass a member of the opposing team.

The first jammer out of the pack, which is the name for the group of eight blockers, is your lead jammer. They can stop the jam early. The other eight players are called blockers, and it is their job to both prevent the opposing jammer from passing them while also helping their own jammer pass members of the other team. The blockers with the stripes on their head are called pivots, and they can relieve their jammer if they get tired.

There are a lot more rules and nuances, but those are the basics. Derby is a full-contact sport played on wheels. It takes a special group of folks to electively do that as a hobby, I think.

Check out our blog for a visual and more complete explanation.

How did you get into the sport?

I saw roller derby for the first time a few years ago and I was hooked.

Roller Derby Canterbury ParkWatching folks who looked like me (tattoos, crazy-colored hair, etc.) lay others out was inspiring. (I do not have an athletic background.) It was just weird and random enough to seem perfect.

I hadn’t been on roller skates since grade school fieldtrips, but I signed up to learn how to skate with North Star Roller Derby. As soon as I started skating, I was hooked. It is such an empowering activity, and I’ve made some amazing, amazing friends that I can’t imagine living without.

What’s with roller derby being cool again?

I’m not really sure.

So WFTDA (Women’s Flat Track Derby Association) was founded in 2004. WFTDA is the governing body of flat track derby. Kind of like what the NFL is to football (my sports analogies are iffy at best). Anyway, that rejuvenated the sport, and it’s been growing since.

Roller Derby Canterbury ParkFlat tracks are easier to create and find space for compared to the bank track. That makes it easier for folks to start up their own league. You just need a massive hard-floored space and some tape or paint.

But I really think a driving factor is that it is a sport created and driven by women, trans, and femme-identifying folks, as opposed to the traditionally male-dominated sports. People want something different. A space that is for and by them. Even though it is a competitive sport, derby is known for the unique, inclusive community. I think that’s something so many of us were looking for and needed in our lives.

What can people expect on Saturday?

Saturday is the kickoff to our 13th season. We’re calling it “unLucky Season 13” and the first theme is “Black Cat-astrophe.” Sometimes folks dress in costume according to theme, so that’s rollerDerby_featuredalways super fun! I’m personally hoping to see a lot of cats.

It will be a mini-tournament, so you’ll get to see each of our four teams play (Banger Sisters; Kilmore Girls; Delta Delta Di; Violent Femmes). We have announcers who will be commentating throughout each game, so they’ll help you understand what’s going on while it’s happening. Like I said, full-contact, so grown adults electively hitting each other at-speed on roller skates.

This is a family-friendly event. Our awesome mascot Gnarly the Narwhal will be there and you can visit with the skaters when they’re not on the track. We usually have some halftime entertainment and there’s always snacks and beer.

Anything else you’d like to add?

We are North Star Roller Derby, not Girls. We changed our name recently to be more inclusive. Generally, we refer to ourselves as “skaters,” “players,” or “athletes.”

Roller Derby Canterbury ParkThe skaters always get a lot of attention, but we also have an amazing crew of skate refs and off-skates officials (collectively known as Zebras) who we rely on to be able to do our sport. They work just as hard to be good at what they do and we’re super thankful to have such a large group of amazing folks.

The people who play derby are your everyday folks. We’re accountants, writers, teachers, scientists, graphic designers, medical professionals, vets, engineers… I like to think of it kind of like a superhero alter-ego situation. Though we’re usually not very secretive. We’ll talk derby to anyone!

This is the first time we’re playing south of the river, and we’re so excited! This will be a new, fun experience for us and we hope our fans enjoy it, too. We’ll have a public after party at O’Briens Public House, so we hope to see you there!

We also just got our nonprofit status this fall, so we are now a nonprofit. You can stay up-to-date on our event info and more by following us on:

• Facebook
• Instagram
• Twitter

We also have our website and blog, The Damage Report.


All Aboard for the Great Train Show!

Get on track this Nov. 3-4 and visit Canterbury Park for the Great Train Show!

The two-day event brings the magic and lore of the railroad to the Canterbury Park Expo Center and features:

• More than 50 exhibitors
• Hundreds of displays
• Giveaways
• Demonstrations
• Scale models
• Collectibles
• And more

Show Hours

• 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3
• 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4


Onsite adult admission:

• Saturday – $10 (Good for both days.)
• Sunday – $9
• Kids 11 and under admitted free

Onsite admission is cash only. Parking is free.

Great Train Show Fun

The family-friendly Great Train Show is ideal for both enthusiasts and the general public.

“The Great Train Show is the nation’s only coast-to-coast model train show,” according to organizers. “The show is designed for the general public, modelers, hobbyists, families, and the just plain curious. Each show features hundreds of tables of trains and accessories for sale, huge operating exhibits, activities for kids, and more.”

The event includes nearly everything you can imagine involving the world of model trains. Displays include intricate landscapes, cars and buildings, and educational seminars will help you learn to build your own functioning miniature railroad.

“Get a chance to see the only hobby where you can be the city planner, structural engineer, and conductor all at the same time,” according to Great Train Show planners.


Big Day Flashbacks

By Noah Joseph

This Saturday, Canterbury Park is hosting one of its biggest days in track history.

Saturday will consist of the Jockeys and Jeans benefit, a national fundraiser aiding the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. Jockeys and Jeans is a traveling event which is being held at Canterbury this year. The day will also include the inaugural Mystic Lake Northern Stars Racing Festival, which features five stakes races with $500,000 in combined prize money. This series of races is designed to bring in some of the best horses, owner, trainers, and jockeys from around the country. A day like this may echo back to days of old at Canterbury.

In 1986, the track had its inaugural “Filly for a Fan” contest, where one lucky fan won a racehorse to own and race. Other events that season included giveaways and big races. Another popular event in the 80’s was a whole week of festivities for the Saint Paul Derby, Canterbury’s richest race at the time, some of which included parades, horse workout shows, and a post-position draw and luncheon. Events like these took place both on and off the track. When they occurred during the week of the anniversary of Canterbury’s opening, a giant birthday cake in the shape of a horseshoe was made to celebrate.

In the late 80’s, Minnesota was swept up by the fun and excitement of the Minnesota Twins winning their first World Series title. After another fantastic season in 1988, the Twins held a celebration at Canterbury, with many Twins players and management in attendance. One lucky fan had a chance to win part ownership of a racehorse with the Twins in a partnership called the Dome Boys. The Twins owning horses fared as well as the Twins record right now (Just kidding).

In 1989, Canterbury had specialty themed weekends all season, from Triple Crown themed weekends, to the Canterbury Horse Fair, to Riverboat Weekend, and many more. Each weekend was something new, and there was always something for everyone. Current themed weekends include Street Art Festival, Indian Horse Relay, and Canterbury Carnival.

So, Saturday’s big day of events will bring back memories from the past, and create new ones for the future.

Celebrate the Kentucky Derby in Style at Canterbury Park

When it comes to the Kentucky Derby, Canterbury Park is the place to experience the pageantry, excitement and style that accompany the biggest horse race of the year.

The 2018 Kentucky Derby is set for Saturday, May 5, and you can take in live horse racing at Canterbury Park, along with fun Derby Day events and activities.

Derby Day at Canterbury

Live Racing at Canterbury Park.The first horse race at Canterbury Park is set for 12:45 p.m., with grandstand gates opening at 10:30 a.m.

But the thrills of live racing is only part of the fun!

Derby Day at Canterbury Park features:

  • Live music from Boogie Wonderland
  • Derby hat contest presented by Kwik Trip
  • Red carpet selfie station presented by Kwik Trip
  • Free face painting and pony rides
  • Broadcast of the Run for the Roses on the infield Jumbotron and building-wide at about 5:45 p.m.
  • Derby hat sales on Level 2


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“The energy and excitement on Derby Day at Canterbury Park is indescribable,” said John Groen, VP of Marketing at Canterbury Park. “There will be all sorts of Derby Day activities and great racing. Plus, watching the Kentucky Derby with thousands of other fans is a one-of-a-kind experience.”

Serious horseplayers and casual fans alike come from all over to Canterbury Park for the Kentucky Derby. Fans can grab a Mint Julep or our new Canterbury beer, Badger Hill’s Post Time Peach Ale, and engage in some first-class people watching.

Infographic: Kentucky Derby Style Guide

“We like say ‘Derby attire admired, not required.’ But it really is fun to see how people dress up,” Groen said. “You don’t need to dress up to feel comfortable here, but part of the allure of the Kentucky Derby is seeing everyone in unique hats and fun bowties.”

Derby Style

If you do choose to dress with a bit of flair, there are plenty of things to consider. Let’s start with the obvious: your Derby hat.


No Kentucky Derby outfit would be complete without an eye-catching hat.

It’s the most important (and fun) part of your ensemble, and you can get as big and wild as you want. Flowers, feathers, funny… it’s all about expressing your creativity and individuality.

One trend that is expected to gain traction at Kentucky Derby events is the fascinator hat, made popular of late by Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge. The fascinator is certainly a more understated look, but still a great option to top off your outfit.

And for the fellas, a classic fedora is always appropriate, but you can try a boater, derby or cowboy hat, as well.

Derby Dress

Once you’ve got your hat set, it’s time to choose a dress.

To better accentuate your hat, some say the dress you wear should be a bit more subtle. But you can still add a splash of spring color, and consider a versatile dress to cope with early May weather.

Also, it’s generally recommended that you keep your look closer to business-casual than formal.

Shoes and Accessories

You will be spending plenty of time on your feet checking out the events and excitement, so when it comes to shoes, be sure to wear something comfortable that compliments your outfit.

Also, a cute purse can be the perfect accent to your Derby outfit. Consider something easy to carry but with enough room for your essentials.

Style Guys

Gentlemen, we didn’t forget about you.

Kentucky Derby style for guys is generally highlighted by bold, bright colors and patterns, and a Southern flair. Don’t be afraid to go for a more daring outfit: try a slick vest, seersucker suit or funky fedora.

Bowties are often a nice touch, as well. And don’t forget to rock some unique socks!

mint_julepSignature Derby Drink

Lastly, you’re probably going to want to enjoy a beverage while you’re at Canterbury Park on Derby Day.

The is the drink of the Kentucky Derby. Our favorite recipe features Jim Beam, sugar, cracked ice and a few sprigs of fresh mint. Stir until the glass is frosted.

Coming to Canterbury for the Derby

Whether you want to come out and enjoy the scene or get into some serious betting, Canterbury Park offers up the biggest Kentucky Derby party in Minnesota.

Visit our website for more information about exploring the track, wagering and making the most of your Kentucky Derby experience this year.

Come Play!

Have Your Wedding Moments at Canterbury Park

Wedding events at Canterbury ParkPlanning your wedding is no easy feat. And it’s more than just the big day you’re worried about.

There are rehearsal dinners and bridal showers and bachelor and bachelorette parties and groom’s dinners and… it can be a lot to process.

But at Canterbury Park, we make planning those wedding moments easy–we have the spaces, expertise and unique setting to make each wedding event sparkle.

“We can do basically anything the couple wants, in terms of décor, activities, special requests,” said Kelley Mahowald, catering and events sales manager at Canterbury Park. “We want to make your special day just that — special.”

She noted that many couples look to Canterbury Park for themed events that could pair perfectly with a number of wedding moments from bachelor/bachelorette parties to bridal showers:

  • Casino night
  • Dual bachelor and bachelorette parties
  • Derby Themed
  • Country night
  • ’80s night with a live band


For events for the ladies, we have plenty of options. Try a “sip and paint,” an artistic project combined with food and drink, Mahowald said. Or maybe a fancy English tea — a brunch-inspired event that lends an air of sophistication.

For the gents, you might want to try a cigar party out in one of our cabanas on a live racing day. Guys can also reserve a private poker table in our card room and have their own professional dealer to ensure everyone can relax and have a good time.

For rehearsal dinners, you could try a backyard barbecue theme with lawn games. And, of course, live racing is an awesome backdrop for any affair.

Wedding moments at Canterbury Park“Anything that would be fun for a bachelor party or rehearsal dinner to bring the event to the next level, we are willing to try and make it happen,” she said.

The versatile spaces at Canterbury Park allow for couples to choose the right setting for them, whether that’s a large gathering area or having a smaller space for the bride and her friends.

And the staff works to create spaces that pop.

“We can supply linens and help with decorations the bridal party brings in themselves. We really want to create the right atmosphere for the moment,” Mahowald said. “We want these events to be exactly as the couple imagines them and have very few restrictions in order to make their vision come to life.”

Live Horse Racing

For a couple that enjoys horse racing or is looking for a Derby-themed party, Canterbury Park can provide tours of the grounds, as well as naming a race after the duo, which includes getting their picture taken in the Winner’s Circle and a special shout-out from track announcer Paul Allen.

“It’s kind of a ‘race to the finish’ for the couple to commemorate the day,” Mahowald said.

With our outdoor cabanas on the finish line, balcony suites and the classy Triple Crown Club, Canterbury Park is the perfect spot to hold any wedding event.

Food and Drink

Wedding moments at Canterbury ParkAnother highlight of holding a groom’s dinner, rehearsal party or wedding at Canterbury Park is the availability of on-site catering.

“We have an amazing staff that will work with them to create the perfect menu,” Mahowald said. “From high end plated dinners to a more casual buffet, we totally take the ‘blah’ out of wedding and event meals.”

And, of course, private bars are available in most spaces, as well.

The Canterbury Way

Canterbury Park is committed to doing everything we can to make sure guests have fun, enjoy their experience and have all of their needs met.

“It’s always humbling to be asked to help with someone’s wedding. And those moments leading up to the actual wedding day really do mean a lot to people,” Mahowald said. “It’s a pleasure for us to make couples feel well taken care of and at ease during such a wonderful time for them and their guests.”

If you want something different, something unique, something that you and your guests will remember forever then check out what Canterbury Park offers to host all your special moments before the big day.


2017 Breeders’ Cup: Kind of a Big Deal 

If you’ve never been to the Racebook at Canterbury Park for simulcast horse racing, consider heading out for the upcoming Breeders’ Cup.

There are two main reasons, says Jeff Maday, media relations manager at Canterbury Park.

The biggest purses. The best horses.

“That’s part of the allure,” Maday said. “It brings the best horses from around the world. That was the idea when (the Breeders’ Cup) was founded.”

The 2017 Breeders’ Cup will be held at Del Mar, a historic race track in California, on Nov. 3-4. Formed in 1982 as way to crown the sport’s champion, the event attracts celebrities to its various locales and plenty of media attention. The first championship race in 1984 was a white-knuckle three-way finish.



Horses come from across the globe for the Breeders’ Cup, which caps off the thoroughbred racing season and often factors heavily in the run for Horse of the Year.


Canterbury Park

The action will be shown live in the Racebook at Canterbury Park, where veteran handicappers and novice horseplayers alike can take in the races in comfort.

The Breeders’ Cup often draws a good crowd to Canterbury Park, Maday said. For good reason.

The total prize purse is expected to exceed $26 million.

“The (wagering) pools are huge,” Maday said. “There’s a chance for a life-changing score.”

While the Breeders’ Cup rotates between venues each year, it probably won’t ever make it to Minnesota. It’s held in early November each year, and previous events in Chicago and Toronto were difficult, weather-wise, on the fans, Maday said.

Still, watching in the friendly confines of Canterbury Park’s Racebook isn’t a bad alternative.

“It’s a fun day,” Maday said, “especially if you win.”

Race Days

The Breeders’ Cup is a great time to catch up on horseracing between the end of Canterbury Park’s live racing season and January, which marks the countdown to the Kentucky Derby.

The Clubhouse level will open at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 3, and 8 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 4. The Mezzanine level opens at noon both days. Admission is free.

You can reserve a table now for the Breeders’ Cup, and come out on Friday for Racebook Happy Hour. Food specials will be offered both days.

Need to brush up on your horse-betting skills? Check out our website or grab a program 5_BCGIF_GetHotin the Racebook for the basics.

If you are a more experienced horseplayer, try entering our World Series Satellite Contest. And we also have a more detailed look at the 2017 Breeders’ Cup.

With more than 500 televisions and plenty of seating, our Racebook ensures you won’t miss a second of the action.

Visit the Breeders’ Cup website for more information and updates as the races approach.

Come Play!

-Kris Janisch

Worry-Free Holiday Party Planning

With the holidays approaching, you may be looking for the perfect venue for your upcoming company party, event, wedding or major corporate gathering.

Consider Canterbury Park. We offer a variety of event spaces that can be tailored to suit your needs.

Let’s hear from Kelley Mahowald, catering and events sales manager at Canterbury Park, about what we have to offer.

Why should people consider Canterbury Park for a holiday party?

If the idea of planning another company holiday party seems like a daunting task, then you haven’t hosted an event at Canterbury Park.

We have impressive composed holiday menus that are festive and take the guess work out of menu planning but are customizable as well. Aside from great food, Canterbury Park offers built in entertainment–so that piece of the puzzle is also figured out.

Our guests have raved about our Casino Nights because our professional card room dealers make sure everyone from experienced card players to people who have never picked up a card is having fun.

Also, guests won’t have to struggle with driving into downtown and dealing with parking and walking in the cold. We offer both free parking and valet service, and for guests who travel far distances we have several hotels just blocks from us that offer free shuttle Company corporate party parties canterbury 2service to and from.

What more can you ask for?

What kind of packages do you offer?

We have fantastic seasonal buffet options that can be paired with our Casino Nights, which is always a great option. We do, however, offer a lot of flexibility, so we can work with our guest to find perfect combination for their unique event.

We want an event with a special theme, can you help us with that?

Yes! Canterbury Park’s event spaces are extremely customizable, lending themselves to fit any themed event.


Aside from our Casino Nights (which we offer in-house), we have partnerships with countless vendors that help us with unique and out-of-the box requests we receive from our clients. Canterbury Park’s seasoned catering team is a key element to this as well, as Canterbury Park plays host to everything from intimate meetings to large-scale galas and consumer events. We are highly capable in all facets of event planning.

What about food options?

This year, our chefs took an approach to embrace the season, offering four unique and festive menus that highlight the flavors and comfort that everyone looks forward to. These menus are meant to inspire and complement the holidays and have our guests feeling happy and satisfied.

What’s the most unique or fun event/party you’ve ever hosted at Canterbury Park?

I always get excited when a client asks for an element of what we do best, racing, casino nights, etc., and use our facility for an out-of-the-box idea.

Because our building and grounds are so large and versatile, we have hosted everything from Knockerball and Wii bowling tournaments to carnival-themed parties and outdoor movie nights.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Canterbury is a venue where everyone feels at home and expects to have fun. Our staff is dedicated to helping you with all the fine details of your event so your experience is fun and memorable from start to finish.

Company corporate party parties canterbury

Night Nation Run: A Party Disguised as a 5K

What do you get when you cross a 5K with a concert and a light show?

The Night Nation Run, of course.

Billed as the world’s first running music festival, the Night Nation Run is coming to Canterbury Park on Saturday, Oct. 7.

The event/run/spectacle encourages a joyful atmosphere, replete with glowing accessories, a lighted course and music throughout. At Canterbury Park, there will be a main stage and three smaller stages throughout the course, where people are encouraged to jog, skip, walk or dance their way along.

Food trucks will be on hand, and beverages, including beer, will be available.

Event Details

4:30 p.m. – Gates open at Canterbury Park

6 p.m. – Pre-Party begins

7 p.m. – First wave of runners

It’s a fun run with both a pre- and a post-party. As they say on the event website, “If you’re looking to set your 5K personal record, this might not be the run for you!”

People can use the hashtag #NightNation to share photos and stories and videos on social media.

Among the other unique aspects of the Night Nation Run at Canterbury Park:

  • Selfie stations
  • Dancers
  • Interactive light shows
  • Party zones
  • Fog
  • Confetti guns

The official charity of the Night Nation Run is Stand Up To Cancer.

Find further details and ticketing information on the event website. Get $5 off tickets by using the code CANTERBURY. Children 8 and younger may attend for free.