Bridal Race costume helps propel former St. Albert resident to Irish fame
Dressing up as a bride complete with horse and cowboy hat for charity race nets participant lots of attention
| Posted: Saturday, Aug 17, 2013 06:00 am
A former St. Albert resident gussied up and giddy-upped her way to local fame in Ireland in late July.
By combining her wedding dress and a horse costume that made it appear she was a mounted bride, Corinna Maguire, who was Corinna McGarrigle when she lived in St. Albert, ended up splashed all over the Irish press after attending the Bridal Race at the Galway Races in Ireland in late July.
“I was swarmed by paparazzi following me around, shouting my name,” Maguire said, giving an interview from across the Atlantic. Maguire’s family moved to St. Albert from Ireland when she was four. After finishing college in 2000, she went back to Ireland for a holiday and ended up staying. Now she resides in Oranmore, a village in County Galway.
Maguire had been alerted to the bridal race by a friend. The bridal race, which takes place on the first day of the Galway Races, a horse racing and festival event, was raising money for the Special Olympics and was occurring for the second year.
“I wasn’t so sure about it at first and then I found out it was only 200 metres,” Maguire said. To participate she needed to raise at least 175 euros – she raised 240 – and contribute 25 euros of her own.
Along with about 30 other brides, Maguire dusted off her wedding dress, made some alterations and got ready to run. It was her husband who suggested using a stuffed horse costume she’d used for Halloween a few years previous as part of the get-up.
“I had this sitting in my attic for about six years and my husband said ‘you’re going to have to do it … you might as well do the whole hog,’” she said. The horse costume is the front of the horse, with the human’s legs going into the front hooves. Fake human legs make it appear as though the wearer is riding.
While Maguire didn’t come in first, she did attract the attention of the press with her outfit.
“I thought I’d win best costume but it turns out (the prize) was for most stylish bride, so I didn’t actually win anything in the end,” she said, though she noted she did win by betting on some horses.
The brides opened the races on July 29, running a furlong in place of the equines.
“The brides actually ran on the track itself with commentators and everything. It was funny,” Maguire said.
While the race was only 200 metres long, Maguire estimated she ended up doing several times that distance as she was asked to walk up and down posing for photos and video by the press.
“It was surreal,” she said of the media attention. “I ended up finding seven papers with my photo in it.”
Now almost everyone recognizes the cowboy hat-wearing, stuffed horse-riding racing bride.
“I live in a little village here and just walking down the street people are shouting at me,” Maguire said.
The Canadian-raised Maguire regularly breaks out her Alberta remembrance.
“If there’s a barbecue or anything, I’ve got my cowboy hat on,” she said.
Maguire’s parents and brother still live in St. Albert, while her sisters live in Calgary and Shanghai. She’s already planning on racing again next year – raising the possibility of using her stuffed horse costume to go door-to-door to fundraise.