Skip to content

The Main Event For Fall

If this year's show is any indication, the Mid America Mane Event has a bright future and will continue to get bigger and better. Approximately 350 horses traveled to the Illinois State Fairgrounds Oct. 21-24, with their respective owners, exhibitors and trainers and put on a whale of a horse show.

The show seems destined to be one of the fall circuit's premier events for several reasons. The Illinois State Fairgrounds facility is much beloved by those that show there several times throughout the season.

Show manager Joy Meierhans surrounded herself with a large and extremely capable staff and they all teamed up to make sure that everyone went home feeling like the show was well run and organized. Meierhans and show secretary Cheryl Rangel worked hard to listen to input from those in attendance and made adjustments as necessary. Assistant secretary Carol Bart helped keep the office running smoothly. Ring secretary Bea Borland helped ensure that results were tabulated quickly to help keep the show running on schedule.

Dennis Porick announced the classes and John Frye served as ringmaster. June Marie Brune set everything to music as the show organist. Linda Wollaber served as the official photographer and Traces CT Limited was the show videographer.

Dr. Laura Sukowaty served in a medical capacity in addition to having horses show during the weekend under the direction of Bonnie Kittredge of Woodwind Stables. Dr. John O'Keefe was the official veterinarian.

Tom Bohn and Arlene Cline helped everyone get situated in the barns as the stable master and assistant stable master, respectively. Paul Briney, of Pratense Farm, served in an advisory capacity for the footing which seemed to be in good shape all weekend. Farrier Rick Medd didn't have too many shoes to reset.

Robb Walters was the barn announcer and he stayed on top of things all weekend to keep everyone advised as to how the schedule was proceeding.

Diana Schaefer, of Ad Pro, took care of putting the horse show program together and the cover featured a reproduction of a gorgeous George Ford Morris charcoal print titled "Five-Gaiters".

Marg Strano, of Teragram Communications, was in charge of the press, and Mary Ellen Golich was in charge of trophies and ribbons. Trophies included the Five-Gaited Grand Championship Trophy that was provided by Deborah Jahn using money that she won in the $10,000 Mid America Raffle earlier in the year. Jahn commissioned the company that makes the Hollywood "Oscars" and the resulting gorgeous sterling silver trophy was a grand prize indeed for the class winner.

Hospitality at the Mane Event is terrific and Saturday night's progressive party, which was catered and involved many of the barns in attendance, drew a huge crowd for the great food and open bar. As people moved from barn to barn, they could be heard to comment on the upscale cuisine and the courteous wait staff that made sure the food never ran out. Party coordinator Candy Hyman had every detail covered and cemented the reputation of the progressive party as one of the season's best.

Kathy Weems was in charge of reserved seating and most, if not all, of the ringside boxes were sold. The Mid America Horse Show Association Board of Directors and advisors works hard all year to make the association profitable so that events like the $10,000 raffle are possible. Having the ringside boxes sold is just one way for the association to make money and Weems worked hard to capitalize on the opportunity that the increased number of entries, exhibitors, owners and trainers brought to the 2004 show.

Kay Richardson handled the junior and senior judging contest which drew several young contestants in the 13 and under age group. Ashley Baird came away with the top prize in the 13 and under age group. Deanna Lanigan was second and was followed by Becca Eberly, Melissa Eberly and Cassidy Eberly. Helena Rosse, Susan Rosse and Emily Morgan ended in a three-way tie for sixth place. Becca England won the 14-17 judging contest.

Even though the week started out cold and windy, it ended up feeling like Indian Summer during the weekend and just added to the laid back and casual atmosphere of the show. Exhibitors were truly laid back which was somewhat of a surprise considering the depth and quality in almost every division. Competition was tough and horses and riders worked hard each and every time out for judges Barbe Smith, Nelson Green and Brent Jacobs.

Competition in the five-gaited division was fierce and Saturday evening's Five-Gaited Stake was as good a gaited stake as you'll find anywhere in the country. Six powerful entries came through the gate to compete for the inaugural memorial trophy commissioned by Deborah Jahn.

Imperiaptor and Mitch Clark were joined by the South African entry SJ Great Guts with A.J.Bruwer on board and Vignale with Scott Matton riding. Trainers Equitation National Champion Tom Thorpe joined the mix with Spent A Fortune and Nancy Leigh Fisher continued a busy weekend with her CH Callaway's Forecaster. Undulata's Georgie Girl and Debbie Foley rounded out the good group to make it a hotly contested event.

Each entry brought something different to the class and all enjoyed the crowd's support. Stallion and gelding winner Callaway's Forecaster and mare winner Undulata's Georgie Girl went head to head and when the cards were turned in, they finished first and second, respectively. Imperiaptor, showing great potential and quality, claimed the yellow ribbon for owner Terry Mulkey.

Bonnie Kegley's Spent A Fortune, Vicki Reed's SJ Great Guts and Michelle and Mary Krentz' Vignale finished the ribbon count in that order.

It's More Than Likely and Debbie Foley finished in the reserve slot in the stallion and gelding class and Attache's Born Courageous was reserve in the mare class with Wendy Bruwer riding for John and Kathy Pappas.

Debbie Foley was back in the winner's circle in the ladies division when the panel named Time Well Spent the ladies grand champion and qualifier winner amidst deep competition in both classes. Laurel Nelson and Catamaran, directed by Mitch Clark, turned on the heat to take the reserve in the championship. Spode and Linda Fischer exited as the reserve winners in the first class for owner Jane Mueller.

Great Day Rising and Bill Marple have been gaining momentum and fans all season and they were loudly supported by the crowd as they took the victory pass in both the amateur championship and stallion and gelding amateur qualifier. Amateur mare winner Summer Sweet and Ann MacMurray Cox just keep getting better and better together and they provided tough competition in the championship to finish with the reserve streamers from Rick Wallen Stables.

Heirobatic was reserve in the stallion and gelding amateur class with Ricky Cook riding and Laurel Nelson piloted Song In My Heart to the red ribbon in the mare class.

The junior exhibitors didn't face big numbers but the trio of entries in their stake class rode hard nonetheless, hoping to claim the tricolor and trophy. After winning the four-entry qualifier, Callaway's Don't Panic and Lindsay Kellner went to the winner's circle again for Van Hecke and Kellner. Sarah Werry and Quite A Man put on quite a show in both classes to finish with the reserve ribbons both times out.

Walterway's Love Me Forever has racked up numerous wins all season with Debbie Foley in the irons for owner Larry Hartsock and Mane Event provided yet another winning performance. Love Me Forever edged out Copper Coin's Contender and A.J. Bruwer for the reserve.

As the UPHA Classics Grand Championships approach in Kansas City, winners at Mane Event had to feel confident about facing the competition at the American Royal. What's The Hoopla and Bret Day have been at the top of the five-gaited classic division and they won again in Springfield for owners Sandra Salmen and Coe London. Callaway's My Blue Heaven, also a proven contender in the division, exited with the red ribbon with Debbie Foley up for her Silver Brook Stables.

Mitch Clark was up on yet another promising five-gaited performer and even though Chantilly Castle was uncontested in the two-year-old class, the youngster put forth a good effort for the blue ribbon.

No Fear had no problem topping the strong competition in the novice horse class with Kim Crumpler riding for Perry and Sally Grieme. Purchased shortly before Louisville by the Grieme's, No Fear never backed an ear on the way to the win. Caramac's Big Ticket has had a successful season so far with Debbie Foley up for Cross Timbers Enterprises and was able to take the reserve ribbon after a strong performance.

Recently crowned world's champion Sunshine Way arrived in Springfield with her mane on but entered the ring with Lisa Strickland for the Over 15.2 class without it. She was the picture of elegance on her way to the win and came back in the four-entry Three-Gaited Stake to turn back all challengers and take the tricolor for owner Julie Hambrick.

Steel In Love has been as consistent and elegant in the three-gaited division as she could be and has earned a bounty of winning ribbons and three-gaited titles with Fran Crumpler riding. She had to settle for the Three-Gaited Reserve Grand Championship after taking the reserve in the over two class for owner Katherine Cramer.

CH The Showstopper just keeps going and going and going. He seems to be tireless and able to do whatever is asked of him. Audrey Hepburn is another walk-trot contender that just seems to keep going strong for owner Morgan Wolin.

The two veteran campaigners finished one and two in the 15.2 and Under Three-Gaited class, with the blue going to Audrey Hepburn. They also provided the final two ribbons in the Three-Gaited Stake. Ray Krussell and Bret Day rode in both classes for their owners.

Wolin herself was on board Veronica Lake and they were unstoppable on their way to a big move up in the ribbons and the win in the Ladies Three-Gaited Stake. Heather DiGiannantonio rode Endolane Symphony to the reserve title in both the ladies stake and ladies qualifier for owner Sue Ivester.

The amateurs absolutely put on a horse show in all three of their three-gaited classes. Six of the eight competitors from the two qualifiers returned for the Amateur Three-Gaited Stake and made it a truly crowd-pleasing performance. Sold Out Show turned back all challengers in the stake after winning the 15.2 and under qualifier with owner Deborah Jahn riding both times. Rusty Grundy and Nic Nac Caramac came on strong to challenge Jahn and finished as the reserve grand champion. Firecracker Jack and Vicki Reed won the over two class before taking the yellow ribbon in the stake. Reedann's Phire Up and Sandy Oakes were reserve to Reed and Firecracker Jack. Jennifer Karnes and I'll Take The Stars, directed by Lisa Strickland, turned in a strong team effort for the reserve in the under two class to finish behind fellow Strickland Stables rider Deborah Jahn.

CH Blackberry Delight has had an unbelievable career and has showcased his talent and versatility with a variety of riders and trainers in a variety of divisions. At Mid America Mane Event, he debuted with new teammate Rachel Machamer and swept the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Stake and qualifier under the direction of Hollow Haven. Undulata Gypsy, with Megan Archer up for owner Cynthia Wright, claimed the reserve in the six-entry stake with a polished performance. Aurora Borealis and owner Aimee Langer were reserve in the juvenile qualifier amidst a strong group of six.

It's Murphy's Law with Desiree DeVries riding for owner Bonnie Kegley, took the win in the junior class under the direction of Rick Wallen. Booger and Megan Mahoney, from Palos Hills Riding Stable, were reserve.

Rusty Grundy was the winning owner for the UPHA Three-Gaited Classic. Trainer Ray Krussell rode In My Sight to the win amidst a trio of entries. Up North, with Heather Limmeier up for Tess Holmes, was the reserve champion.

Six talented young equines came through the gate for their two-year-old class. When the cards were turned in, it was The Wild Blue taking the title for Patrick and Laura Lockwood with Mike McIntosh riding. Mayo Moctezuma rode Jesus Christ Superstar to reserve for the Hegner/Russell Partnership.

Valhalla's King Of Hearts turned back all challengers in the novice class with Billy Greenwell up for Terri Kearney. Glenmore's Nordic Princess was reserve with Mayo Moctezuma for Richard Hegner.

The Open Park Stake featured six teams competing for the tricolor. CH Matching Spirit and Tom Thorpe put on quite a show on their way to the winner's circle for owner Bonnie Kegley, after having also won the open qualifier. Owner and rider Dede Disbrow rode Ghost Of Gypsy to the reserve tricolor. First Night Vision was reserve in the open class with Lisa Strickland up for owner Debra Hoffman.

The amateurs also faced a proven group for their stake and qualifier. New York Style and Karen Smith, after winning the amateur qualifier, came back in the stake and topped five other entries for the division sweep. Coe London rode CH Sultan's Gold to the reserve grand championship title and Harlem's Gracious Lad was reserve in the qualifier with Vicki Reed riding.

First Class Heir displayed a world of attitude on the way to the win in the Junior Three-Gaited Park class with Lisa Strickland riding for Ellyn Dorsey. Mundy's Landing has had a great season so far in the junior ranks for owner Linda Fischer and added to that resume with the reserve finish in the class.

Ghost of Gypsy and Todd Perkins went to the top of the class in the six-entry limit class amidst strong competition. Timely Tradition and Rick Wallen were reserve for Shirl and Wes Roberts to close out the park division.

The fairgrounds facility provides one of the best places in the country to show a horse, including young horses. In the fine harness division, the youngsters faced the biggest number of challengers but across the board, the division provided entertaining performances.

Simbara's Exclamation, with Jeanette Durant driving for Cairns Farm, took the title in the Fine Harness Stake. Three-year-old competitor Peetunia, with Peter Palmer driving, was the reserve grand champion for Meadowlake and Carl Fischer.

Wild Wanda won the open class with John Oder driving for Allen Blessman and was followed in the ribbons by Mr. Wright Way, with Peter Archer showing for Cynthia Wright.

She's back! Cary's Moonraker, after taking the red ribbon in the amateur qualifier, came back strong in the Amateur Fine Harness Stake to take the title with owner Margo Baird driving. Just About Perfect and Ellyn Dorsey were victorious in the first class and ended their weekend with the Amateur Fine Harness Reserve Grand Championship.

Current world's champion My Silver Sea has been to the winner's circle every time out this season in the junior exhibitor harness ranks and closed out the year with another win. Rachel Shoemaker drove to victory in the ASHAF Fine Harness Youth Driving Challenge for owner Sarah Lange. Mr. Wright Way and Megan Archer were reserve.

Just Wicked put on a show with A.J. Bruwer in the buggy and took the title in the Junior Fine Harness class. Glenmore's Night Talk and Glenn A. Werry Jr. put together the reserve effort for Glenmore Farm under the direction of Tom Bombolis.

Peetunia topped three other young harness entries to take the win in the UPHA Fine Harness Classic with Peter Palmer. A. J. Bruwer sat behind yet another eye-catching entry to pick up the red ribbon with Sheffield Steel. Bruwer drove for owner Copper Coin Farm. (cont.)

More Stories