Competitors in Extreme Cowboy Alberta (ECA) are returning to the acclaimed outdoor course on the grounds of the Cochrane and District Agricultural Society. this weekend.

Saturday's playday has sold out and the competition begins on Sunday at 10 a.m.

The sport that tests the bond between a horse and rider continues to grow in popularity.

"We're averaging 70 runs for the races, so that's an all-time high," says ECA president Rick Wickland.

Besides riders from Southern Alberta, he says about half of their competitors travel from Northern Alberta, particularly in the Edmonton area, to challenge the course. They also attract some B.C. riders.

And who can blame them? It's the only natural Extreme Cowboy outdoor course in Western Canada.

In Extreme Cowboy, riders and their horses take on several challenges on an obstacle course in a full range of age categories. Each is tailored to age or skill level.

These events are sanctioned by the Extreme Cowboy Association. Based on points acquired during the regular season, many ECA competitors have advanced to the world championship in Glen Rose, TX in the past. This year, it's being held from Nov. 2 to 6.

Spectators are welcome.