June 23, 2005 -- "I don't usually enter contests," said Carrie Hurd of Weatherford, Texas,
"partly because I've always taught my children that to get the important things in life, it usually takes hard work, not free winnings. But," she adds, "the free winnings sure are nice when they come."
Hurd is the grand prize winner of the 2004 Purina Mills Horse Owner's Workshop (HOW) Sweepstakes. Her journey to the prize started back in spring 2004 at a reining demonstration held at an area arena.
Actually, it's Carrie's 18-year-old daughter Monica who is the horse aficionado in the household. "We have a very large family--11 children--so we can't focus a lot of time and energy on one particular child or one particular activity. Monica's done it on her own," Hurd said.
Monica doesn't compete, but she has two horses, including an older horse that used to compete. She had been giving free riding lessons to a friend, and the two girls and their mothers decided to attend the horse event where Carrie entered the sweepstakes.
"When FedEx arrived with the notification early this year, I called my husband Patrick, an accountant, to tell him," she said. "He was skeptical, but I told him 'it looks official.'" Before long, the prizes started arriving. "It was like Christmas around here, with items coming in
the mail every few days," she said.
Then came the biggest prize--a 2005 Exiss XT300 all-aluminum trailer. "It's beautiful, and we're tickled to have it," Hurd said. "But we don't have a truck to pull it. We drive a 15-passenger BUV--Big Ugly Van. It's 14 years old and it won't die."
But hat hasn't dampened Hurd's enthusiasm. She says it's been a lot of fun having something extremely out of the ordinary happen to them.
The Purina Mills HOW is the largest grass roots horse owner edu-tainment event in the industry, with over 1,000 events held each spring at participating Purina Gold Dealerships. EQUUS magazine is a co-sponsor of the HOW program.