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Herman B. Miles Horse Show Manager of the Year - Kent Moeller

Editor’s Note: The following speech was read by Kathy Moeller Friday Jan. 8, 2010 at the UPHA/AHHS Convention.

I know that all of you know the recipient of the next award to be presented this evening. He has been a member of the UPHA for quite a while and has worn many hats over the years; he has been an owner/exhibitor, an assistant trainer, chapter president, licensed steward, ringmaster, technical coordinator and horse show manager.

He has also been known to dabble in construction, building band risers and box seats, as well as fixing sound systems, setting lights, packing horse vans, and fire engine cleaning.

You may know him under an alias, a few being Shades, Sporty, Kento, and Corn-Fed. I myself have recently found evidence of an old reference to him going under the name "Mario Andretti". While I do not know the exact details regarding this article, this alias actually gives me a bit of concern given the number of speeding tickets he has been getting this past year.

Some of you may have another name for him - something if you have ever asked for a class to be split, or been so bold as to ask for a gate hold.

You know him well. As a matter of fact, in the past 11 years you have spent approximately 2800 days with him. This may not sound like a lot to you, but compared to the approximately 850 days he has spent with me in the 11 years we have been married, that’s quite a bit. I’m not sure if Kent knew what our life’s schedule would be like, but I know I did not have a clue how things were going to be when Kent decided to "hang out his shingle" and work horse shows, with the ultimate goal of managing them.

For one thing, in hind-sight, I really should have looked at the dates and locations of many of the shows much more closely.

Kent got into this business by way of his dad and mom’s hobby. Ray and Naomi Moeller started Ray Moeller Stables when Kent and his two sisters, Kathy and Carla, were kids. As many of you know, they showed ponies for many years until recently.

It has truly been a family endeavor over the decades, as I believe all of their eight grandkids have been to the horse shows and found their way around the ring, driving one of the many ponies Ray and Naomi have owned over the years.

What started out for Kent as a family hobby has propelled into many different opportunities over the years. Kent has spent his adult life working in the equine industry, having experiences with different breeds and disciplines; from Hackney ponies, to Saddlebreds and Morgans, to hunter/jumpers, Arabians and others.

No one is an island, and we all have some help along our path to wherever we are going. Kent is no different. While there are too many people to mention here, there are a few that deserve some recognition.

The first is a man named Tony, living in southern California. When Kent decided to wear the red coat he, of course, bought a horn. I think Tony was so excited to have someone other than a high school student take lessons that it took a few visits before he realized Kent only wanted to learn one tune (reportedly the most difficult one!)

He stuck with Kent, and Kent kept practicing; and while Kent is quite a ways from Carnegie Hall, those that remember the early years I think will agree...he’s come a long way, baby!

Jim LaHood, Lloyd Longnecker, Peter Doubleday and David Distler and Fern Bittner were among some of the first to hire Kent. While those were not managing positions, they most definitely led to the opportunities that Chapter 14 and ASHAV were among the first to offer to Kent.

Confucius said "choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life". Kent loves what he does, and I may be biased, but he does it well. I believe his time spent wearing the various hats he has worn over the years, as well as his experiences with the various breeds and disciplines, has given him a broad understanding about the little nuances that make a horse show a success. His attention to the obvious things, such as footing, lighting and stabling are much appreciated, but it also takes some patience, many good team members/colleagues, a little bit of knowledge about a lot of things and a lot of hard work to manage a horse show that is enjoyable for everyone.

Kent has often told me, and some of you may have heard him say, that horse shows are like a Legion Hall on Monday evening: one person yells "BINGO" and the rest cry "Fiddlesticks" (I am taking some translation liberties here-Kent doesn’t really say "Fiddlesticks", but I personally try not to swear very much).

The point being that Kent realizes that taking home the blue ribbon is only a portion of the horse show experience, and that making that experience as fun as possible for everyone; the owners and exhibitors, the trainers and other members of the horse show staff, is a major factor in the continued success of this industry.

Kent cares about this organization and its members. It does my heart good to know that those 2800 (approximate) days have not been for naught, and that you appreciate him as well.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please help me congratulate this evening’s recipient of the Herman Miles Horse Show Manager of the Year award, my husband Kent Moeller.

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