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Barn on the Boulevard



On Saturday, June 3rd, the Barn on the Boulevard celebrated its 130th birthday and the induction of four horsemen and one horsewoman into its Hall of Fame. The Barn, built in 1887, never shone more brightly than it did that evening as it seemed to beam with pride as person after person walked back through its door and down its center aisle filling its rafters with stories about the many horses trained and purchased, and the many memories made, there.  

Over 180 people attended the event where Don Harris of Simpsonville, Kentucky, Jimmy Simmons of Mexico, Missouri, Glenda Pugh and her late husband Dale Pugh of New Bloomfield, Missouri, and the late Tom Bass of Mexico, Missouri were each honored and inducted into the Hall of Fame.  It seemed that everyone in attendance couldn't say enough nice things about all the hard work Bobette Wilson, Mary Littrell, and the rest of their team have put into renovating the barn and what a lovely atmosphere they had created by stringing the thousands upon thousands of lights through and around the Barn's beams and rafters giving the barn a heavenly auora.     

The evening kicked off at 5 pm with a cocktail and social hour where guests were invited to grab drinks from the two bars set up inside stalls at each end of the barn and wonder down the middle aisle while catching up with one another as two violinists and a cellist played from the center of the barn.  Among the many guests in attendance were this year's inductees together with their families; last year's hall of fame inductee Virgil Helm and his wife Sandra Helm; Bob and Tonya Brison; Anne Neil; Anna Marie Knipp, along with Jim Lowry and his wife Fay and daughter Audrey; Mike Roberts and Jeff Vogel; Karen White Coup and her daughters Betts and  Katie; Mark and Kelly Hulse; Sammy Williams; Sarah Track; Gayle Lampe; TJ Santaferra and Shane Vandercook; Mike Aponte and fiancee Amanda Tucker; Wesley Knipfel; Carol Carlson and grandaughter Aubrey Kufeldt; Rhonda and Dave Dickerson; and Chris Kaplan and her husband Dr. Kaplan.  

Paulette Schroeder of Edmond, Oklahoma was the master of ceremonies with Tom Usnick of Mexico, Missouri and curator of the Audrain County American Saddlebred Museum and Historical Society providing colorful and entertaining remarks at the top of the evening. Schroeder introduced each inductee with an overview of that person's life and career and then guests were entertained as each inductee accepted their award and shared personal stories and reflections.  

The evening was inspired by the opening barn dance held back in 1887 to celebrate the Barn on the Boulevard's grand opening and in keeping with its inspiration, the evening concluded with a dance in the barn's center aisle.    

For those who may not know, the barn was disassembled piece by piece in 2009 with each board numbered before it was sent out to be restored, straightened and strengthened.  One-half of the barn has been rebuilt with each board being returned to its original place.  The last 120 feet of the barn has not yet been rebuilt, however, the Simmons Stables Preservation Fund, the organization formed in 2002 to restore the Barn, continues to work towards finishing the restoration.  Although the Barn is not fully rebuilt, it is certainly a site to be seen for anyone interest in the history of the American Saddlebred industry or historic buildings in general, so be sure to swing by 701 West Boulevard in Mexico, Missouri the next time you're in the area and to contact Bobette Wilson if you're interested in assisting with the restoration. 

 

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