When you hear the words pony club, you might not think international racing, but that’s exactly what it entails.
Erik Zimmerman is headed to an international tetrathlon, where his riding, running, swimming, and shooting will be put to the ultimate test.
At 16-years-old, he is the only Canadian taking part in the competition this year, which is in North Carolina from July 13 to 30.
“The international tetrathlon has people from all over the world coming… I happen to be the only person from Canada who was eligible and able to go this time around,” expressed Zimmerman. “We’re team Canada for this.”
Zimmerman used triathlons and biathlons to describe the sport to the City of Cold Lake on Tuesday, July 10. He was at their regular council meeting to request financial support for the international event.
He explained to council how there is one significant difference between a tetrathlon and other sporting events.
“Unlike triathlons, each event is separate.”
Athletes compete in the swimming, running, riding, and shooting contest at a different time and location, which is what makes the tournament so unique.
According to Zimmerman, there are two age categories: junior and senior.
“Junior is 12 to 14, and senior is 15 through to 24,” he detailed. “Me being 16, there’s a very high chance I will be competing against people who are 21 or 24 even. They could be swimming in the lane right next to me with all of those extra years to train.”
What that also means, is he has eight more years of competing, however with post secondary education on the horizon, he isn’t sure if he will have another opportunity to take part in an international event.
Zimmerman, who is a part of the Beaver River Pony Club, has been taking part in tetrathlons for eight years.
He started at the age of eight, competing in mock events. From there, he worked his way up to regionals, and eventually nationals.
“I qualified for internationals during the national competition last year,” Zimmerman detailed.
The total cost to represent Canada is about $5,000. Zimmerman was hoping the city would agree to help fund his way.
“I have raised $1,300 to help ease the pain of getting there… both the Alberta north region, which is what my club is a part of, and the Canadian Pony Club itself, has contributed to my venture. The total I have at this point, is about $2,500,” noted Zimmerman.
The local pony club has also done what it can to fundraise. The group has been collecting bottles for Zimmerman to cash-in for the cause.
“I’m just here to ask for that little bit extra help get us there,” Zimmerman said, adding he would be happy to tell the world about Cold Lake and what it has to offer.
Zimmerman will apply for grant funding through the city’s Recreational Advisory Committee.
He has also set-up a GoFundMe page in hopes of receiving financial support from the community.
Council congratulated Zimmerman on making it to the international tetrathlon, and wished him all the best in the competition.