'Getting dirty but also looking beautiful'
EUGENE, Ore. - What do you get when you combine gymnastics with horseback riding?
It's called Equestrian Vaulting.
And the Oregon Horse Center on Prairie Road is hosting the national championships through Sunday. Admission is free.
"It's huge in Europe. It's their youth sport in Germany," said Cathy Rynning, the competition manager.
The championships are a first for the region.
Equestrian vaulting was introduced to the U.S. back in the 1950s.
Fast forward 60 years, and for the first time ever the American Vaulting Association national championships are on the West Coast.
"It's never been in the Northwest before, so we looked all around Washington and Oregon and felt this was the best facility," Rynning said.
Competitors as young as 4 up through their early 30s compete each year.
"This is my 4th year on the team," said Kyla Waldron.
"Growing up it was always the best where I could express all different parts of myself and my personality," said Alicen Divita.
"You can come to vaulting with no experience at all," Rynning said, "but typically in most clubs there's gymnastics, weight training - there's riding involved."
So it's about horses.
And gymnastic dancing.
"It's that: getting dirty but also looking beautiful," Divita said.