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Still Growing In Madison

Posted June 6, 2002

by Bob Funkhouser

MADISON, Wisc. - With a strong show at Milwaukee the week before, it was no doubt the UPHA Chapter 3/4 Madison Classic Horse Show would be entertaining as well. Show secretary Cheryl Rangel reported 100 more stalls sold for the May 23-26 event which translated into four days of solid competition in most all sections, with the open ranks being the one area that suffered. There were several new faces among the entries shown by the Illinois,Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Kentucky barns and that made it even more interesting.

"I felt we had a good show," said manager Grant Herrman. "There were some tough classes and several horses got sold here this week."

The unique atmosphere of the Madison Classic is what keeps the show on the upswing. It's held in a confined area which gives it a down-home neighborly like feeling as trainers and exhibitors from different barns mingle among the picnic stables in the middle of the warm up area. It is the social/work center of the show. That area has been man-made, including a tent which provides shelter on one straightaway. This area connects the barns to the show arena which is tight quartered but because of that it feels like a huge crowd when they are cheering for their favorites. Outside, the warm up area takes on the feel of a horse show of its own as the oval around the picnic tables is the only place to warm up.

"I just love it," said AHSA steward Josie Forbes sitting atop a table watching horses warm up and chatting to those passing by on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. "It's so nice to sit out here and watch all these horses and people."

Forbes had plenty of company out enjoying the sunshine on Sunday because Saturday was one ugly day with heavy rains early that morning turning the beautiful gathering place into a sea of slop. I'm not quite sure if it being Memorial Day weekend and with the events of last September people were just more tolerant of things or what, but there wasn't moaning and groaning about the mud. They rolled up their paints, got out the old shoes, brought extra pairs of socks and put on a horse show. Each class was given the opportunity to make a few passes in the ring before the class was judged by Raymond Shively.

And by the next day all was forgotten as the sun returned, the warm up footing was dry, exhibitors were ready for championships, and spectators eagerly awaited another "Jackpot Judging Class." This too is part of the flavor of Madison. Each night a class is selected by management for jackpot judging. Judge's cards are sold for $5 a piece and you have to match the judge's card one through six to win the money. If there isn't a winner the money rolls over to the next evening. By Sunday afternoon there was a $1,200 jackpot and the rules were changed to the person(s) having the most correct ties would take the purse. Anytime it's a Jackpot Judging class cheers go up for horses getting fifth and six place ribbons like they had just won a major stake at Louisville.

The show also offers nightly gatherings ranging from desserts to wine and cheese to an exhibitor's party at a nearby tavern. A relaxed schedule allows exhibitors to take in the local flavor including a lake and park just down the street.

Linda Wollaber captured all the entries on film for the second consecutive week. Likewise, Marion VandeWall was again directing traffic as ringmaster. Tuffy Owens was again well received at Madison as the announcer.

For the complete show story see the printed edition of Saddle Horse Report dated June 3, 2002.

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