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MGM Spring - Milwaukee Goes To Madison

by Bob Funkhouser


MADISON, Wis. - After years of frustrating obstacles at the Wisconsin State Fairgrounds in Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Spring Show, a.k.a. the WREA Spring Show and now known as the MGM Spring Horse Show, made the move to the Aliant Energy Center in Madison and recreated the atmosphere of the old Madison Classic.


The best of that ambiance is sitting on the picnic tables outside the annex show ring and watching horses warm up on a beautiful May afternoon in Wisconsin. Many exhibitors at this year’s show spoke of how enjoyable it was to have a show in the annex again. With the snugness of it, a little crowd goes a long way. It was an energetic crowd at that as they cheered a number of good classes.


“This is a nice show. Everyone gets to visit, the atmosphere is good and it’s a good show to see where you’re at before the water gets deeper,” said MBA Equestrians trainer Pat McConnell.


Backed by WREA President Paul Schwemer, Cheryl Rangel was again at the helm as manager. Show secretary Vicky Holston and assistant secretary Jackie Everson assisted Rangel. Jane Bennett determined the 2007 MGM champions, and she was assisted by ringmaster John Frye. Other officials included John Owens as announcer and Rick Osteen as photographer.


By having the show in the annex it did give MGM a different atmosphere from the Madison Classic that would be held on the same grounds the following week. A few barns stayed over for both shows, while others took some home and came back with a new string.


Some of the open divisions were on the light side, but there were several highly competitive classes as well. Junior exhibitor and pleasure classes were the best classes and that gave even more proof to the family type atmosphere at MGM.


With two in the Open Five-Gaited class, 2006 Junior Five-Gaited Stallion/Gelding World’s Champion Keep Me Posted took the blue for trainer Neva Van Ess and owner Nick Neviaser. Pat McConnell was aboard the gray powerhouse, My Pepper Ann, to take reserve before coming back solo in the championship. Toni Nastali is the owner of My Pepper Ann.


They started in junior exhibitor gaited, and now the team of Talon and Sarah Thordsen competed in the ladies division that they swept. Twice reserve to the champions were Reedann’s Shine On and Lynn Durant.


Longtime supporters of the Milwaukee show, the Rick Wallen Stables had a good week. Bringing the tricolor back to the red and black Wallen tack room curtains, D’Arcy Pogue and Deluge were the Amateur Five-Gaited Grand Champions followed by qualifying winners Linda Goodrich and Kenya Ketch Me.


There were several winning ribbons hanging from the black and red curtains of MBA Equestrians as well. Margo Baird, daughters Brittany and Ashley, as well as customers, were at the top time and time again. One example was the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Championship in which Brittany Baird and CF Night At The Castle turned it on for the tricolor honors. They had traded places with qualifying winners Freaky Links and Angela Darrow.


In the Novice Five-Gaited class it was Neva Van Ess and Fort Chiswell’s Royal Champagne leading the way with Pat McConnell and Miss Golightly in reserve.


Showing for Tillman Stables LLC, Scott Matton presented Double Secret Probation TS to win the Junior Five-Gaited Stake. A red ribbon was presented to Pat Wessel and the homebred Royal Crest’s Shot On The Rocks.


Paige Guisfredi and Aphrodite’s Tears were selected as the Three-Gaited Grand Champions with a nice showing. Reserve honors went to Hello Boys, a sporty newcomer shown by Ray Krussell for Bures/Hartwig. They started the weekend with a victory pass in the novice class.


Krussell also sent Dr. Morgan Wolin to the winner’s circle several times. Wolin and Audrey Hepburn were tops in the Ladies Three-Gaited Championship and qualifier while she piloted the grand gelding, CH The Super Nova to the Amateur Three-Gaited Championship and qualifying blue. Riding with confidence, Nancy Berger had two grand reserves with SJ Denmark’s Geronimo to add to the list of Pat McConnell-trained title-holders at MGM.


World’s Champion CH Nelmar Tango 4 Ever was right on the money in both junior exhibitor classes to earn the tricolor and blue streamers. Emily Scharpf was the winning jockey from Scott and Carol Matton’s Knollwood Farm. Reserve awards in both the championship and qualifier belonged to Tuff Hedeman and Brittany Baird.


Carol Matton with Emily Scharpf and Nelmar’s Tango 4 Ever


There were some nice young horses in attendance including Junior Three-Gaited Champion A Cinderella Story, ridden by Alvaro Zanella for Hy Horse Farm and Royal Crest’s Stone Magic, the UPHA Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited Classic Champion ridden by Pat Wessel for owners/breeders Royal Crest Farms LLC.


A former harness champion, Aurora’s Asset was marching as the Three-Gaited Park Grand Champion with Rick Wallen aboard for Albert Helm. From the Durant’s Bell View Acres, Julie Rodriquez showed Lilly Pulitzer to the reserve championship. Scott Matton and Day’s Grecian Gray won the open qualifier in their only appearance for Michelle Krentz. Aurora’s Asset was reserve in that one.


With Matton tuning up Day’s Grecian Gray in the open qualifier, owner Michelle Krentz stepped aboard and made two really nice shows to command both the Amateur Three-Gaited Park Championship and qualifying blue. The former junior exhibitor three-gaited star was a standout in this division. Pushing hard for reserve in both deep classes was Rusty Grundy aboard twice reserve champion In My Sight. Brittany Baird finished third in the championship aboard the multi-titled Gigolo Joe. They had won the junior exhibitor qualifier.


Fine harness was one division where exhibitors forgot to show up. All Buttoned Up and Irv Udell, CH Cary’s Moonraker and Margo Baird, Crash Davis with Robert Nesson and Broadway Secret with John Willis were solo in their respective wins.


The Wisconsin/Illinois area is filled with top road ponies so it’s tough wherever you go. The Wizard LF is a name you will be hearing more from as Ray Krussell made a tricolor drive for the partnership of Schultz and Friedman. The pony can bend his neck and get down the rail. Reserve grand champion honors went the way of roadster veteran Maggie Robertson and Seamair’s Caprice. They were awarded the blue in the qualifier with a strong showing.


Patsy Loeb drove Seamair’s Caprice for Robertson and won the AHHS Youth Medallion Road Pony class, beating out three others including reserve champions In A Heartbeat and Ashley Baird.


This area is filled with veteran roadster enthusiasts and Mike Schallock is one that has had many great ponies. He won the Amateur Roadster Pony Championship and qualifier with Nightheir. Patrick Kittredge and Good Spirits trotted off with the reserve championship.


A Road Pony Under Saddle class was added to the mix this year and two exhibitors responded. Patrick Kittredge and Good Spirits hit overdrive on the way to the winner’s circle. Ashley Baird had a great time with reserve champion In A Heartbeat.


There was a new face in the long tail division at MGM. Representing Bell View Acres, Stoney Brannon was in the viceroy for drives worthy of the victory pass with Irv Udell’s Creation’s Windstar in both the Harness Pony Championship and qualifier. Brannon has been seen in many places in the show horse industry over the years but the show ring was not one of them. These two wins were his third and fourth time ever showing and the first time showing a pony.


Patsy Loeb presented Lightning Up for the Harness Pony Reserve Grand Championship and amateur blue, while Rick Wallen was at the whip for the reserve finish in the open class behind Creation’s Windstar


Longtime supporters of the pony movement in the Wisconsin/Illinois area, Riverview Stables kept the cob-tail division alive with Bob Richards driving Tommy Hilfiger to the Hackney Pony Championship, open and amateur titles.


Rick Wallen greeted another well-known Hackney enthusiast, Sue Powers, in the winner’s circle of the Hackney Pleasure Driving Pony Championship with Queensbury Debutante. Patsy Loeb also drove Queensbury Debutante to the AHHS Medallion title. John Willis had a most competitive pleasure driving in twice reserve champions Romeo’s Poet LF and Rita Weintraub. In the qualifier Bob Richards and Final Answer topped both Queensbury Debutant and Romeo’s Poet LF.


There were some impressive entries in the Five-Gaited Pleasure Championship including grand champion and qualifying winner Callaway’s Place Your Bets. Team Durant had Lindsey Bade and Place Your Bets in winning order. Christjon Sannes Mielke and Queensbury Jasmine stepped up to the reserve championship finish. One of those grand, grand geldings, CH Lexmark commanded a red ribbon in the qualifier with Julie Hollingsworth riding for Scott and Carol Matton.


Speaking of great geldings of the breed, CH Harlem’s Hot Ticket was just that, winning the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Pleasure Championship and qualifier with the dapper Nick Neviaser. Both of those winning ribbons went back to the La Fleur/Van Ess tack room. Sammy Jo Galica and Emily Scharpf traded places with Galica and Heir’s Special Report earning the reserve grand championship for trainer Lance Hayes. The Knollwood Farm team of Scharpf and Callaway’s Where There’s A Will stopped for the red streamers before exiting the ring in the qualifier.


Nick Neviaser and CH Harlem’s Hot Ticket


Rick Wallen and Janene Becker have teamed up to present several champions over the years. Park Pleasure Grand Champion So Fortunate was a current star with Wallen in the irons for owner Becker. New to Krussell Stables, Jebadia Springfield had several bright passes to take the reserve championship for Kristy and Elizabeth Iversen. In the opening round Sarah McClintock and Postmarked Paris left the ring with the blue streamers flying. Krussell also had a winning ride in the Junior Park Pleasure class with Mr. Bigglesworth.


Kris Martalock and Absolutely Delightful took home the largest paycheck from the UPHA Park Pleasure Classic for owner Doris Thorwald. A full brother to World’s Champion Miracle On 42nd Street, Miracle On Broadway was the reserve money winner with Alvaro Zanella riding for Callie Davidson.


The Durant’s Bellview Acres swept the adult pleasure division. Natalie Udell and King Of Pop won the 39 & over qualifier and then came back to take the Adult Three-Gaited Show Pleasure 39 & Over Championship. Dr. Morgan Wolin and Ms Betty Grable stood out as the reserve grand champions in a strong group of contenders. They made a victory pass earlier in the novice class. Shelagh Roell and My Diamond Blues were next in line for a ribbon in the qualifier.


Adding to the Bellview Acres’ riches, Kelly Oselka rode Cody Banks to turn back all challengers in both the Adult Three-Gaited Show Pleasure 18-38 Championship and qualifier. Trying to overtake the champions were twice reserve winners Another Heir and Jennifer Hartner.


Depth was also evident in the junior exhibitor pleasure sections. After a red ribbon finish in the 14-17 qualifier, Emily Wiersma and Harlem’s Irish Dancer polished their performance and came back to make a tricolor victory pass. In her debut show, Molly O’Donnell was MBA Equestrians’ reserve champion with Brittany Baird in the saddle. Third place finishers in the championship, Dylan Peterson and Shamrock’s Rebekah were blue ribbon sharp in the first round for owner/trainer John Willis.


The going was even tougher in the 13 and under section as four different world’s champions came together and mixed it up with some other impressive stars. When it was all over the leg waving Fine By Me won the championship with Alicia Sacotte providing the winning ride. Ashley Baird and CH Star Spangled Steel settled for the reserve championship after topping Fine By Me and Sacotte in the qualifier.


A novice rider blue went the way of Robyn O’Meara and Another Great Day to give Krussell Stables another top prize. Casey Pieper and Inviting rode away with the reserve award.


There was plenty of pleasure competition for everyone. Top honors in the Junior Three-Gaited Show Pleasure class went the way of owners/breeders Royal Crest Farms with Stacy Wessel riding Royal Crest’s Rocky Morning. Lindsey Bade was aboard Meteor Might to accept the reserve title.


Twice CH Wild Harley was on the money; the Show Pleasure Driving Championship with Brian Harrison and the adult qualifier with Brendan Heintz providing another great catch drive. Janene Becker guided Gretchen’s Gift to reserve finishes in both rounds. Also winning in the pleasure driving division were Callaway’s Sportscaster (junior exhibitor) and My Tahiti Sweetie (junior).


Moving to the country pleasure division, Mike Bletsoe and Reedann’s Semper Phi were the best of the best in the adult championship. Bletsoe was showing for Rivi Hatt under the direction of the Lance Hayes Stables. Turning in two fabulous rides for the weekend, Nancy Berger took Salt Heir to the reserve championship after making the blue ribbon victory pass in the 39 and over adult qualifier over Reedann’s Semper Phi and a host of other contenders. Yes You Can and Kelsey Laver topped the 18-38 qualifier.


In addition to Salt Heir, MBA Equestrians had another country pleasure champion in World’s Champion Kabu. Ashley Baird was aboard for yet another tricolor victory pass. Reserve grand champion honors went to Storms A Brewing and Natalie Haugen who were also reserve in the qualifier that was won by Narin Avci and Matisse, winners of the novice class as well. Storms A Brewing topped the Wisconsin Owned class.


Novice riders competed in a nice class in which This Just In and Lucinda Rea rode away with top honors. The reserve streamers in that one belonged to Yes You Can and Kelsey Laver.


Hannah Love and The Lady’s Night Out jumped up three places to take the Country Pleasure Driving Championship over Royal Crest’s American Made Stone and B.J. Rademann and a host of others. Rademann and American Made Stone had won section one of the qualifier with Jayne Tillman and CH Hard Day’s Night TS in second. Mike Schallock and CH Nice Doing Business scored the top prize from section two and they were followed by Joan Walker’s Schwartzendeker.


Smooth as silk, Patron jogged to the winner’s circle of the Country Western Pleasure Championship. Candy Hyman was tall in the saddle, showing under the direction of the John Willis Stables. They started off the weekend in the winner’s circle of the junior/novice class. Winner of the Country Western Pleasure qualifier and the Shatner class, Ace Ventura was named the reserve grand champion for Karen Dangieri.


Patron and Candy Hyman joined by
John Willis Stables co-trainer Alvaro Zanella.


A familiar name for the winner’s circle, CH Royal Crest’s Black Marble took the Hunter Seat Classic with Tracey Mitchell in the irons ahead of April Cuthbertson and Magic’s Royal Gift.


Versatile Emily Scharpf was the lone Saddle Seat Equitation rider. Adult competition found Michelle Krentz winning the USEF Adult Medal and Dr. Morgan Wolin winning the UPHA Adult Challenge Cup.


There was some depth to the Pleasure Equitation Championship and qualifiers. Knollwood Farm’s Angela Darrow captured the championship after a reserve finish in the UPHA Pleasure Challenge Cup. Winner of that Challenge Cup as well as the 14-17 age group and the medallion, Gretchen Bentz represented La Fleur Van Ess Stables as the reserve grand champion. Alicia Sacotte scored the highest marks from the 13 and under qualifier.


That wrapped up the competition from a pleasant weekend in Madison for the new and improved MGM Spring Show. Complete results can be found by clicking here.



The ladies of Krussell Stables:

Rusty Grundy, Dr. Morgan Wolin and Wendy Carney


Ashley, Margo and Brittany Baird had winning rides

 and drives for MBA Equestrians.


Junior Ray, Lynn Durant and Stoney Brannon

were part of the winning Team Durant.


It wouldn’t be the (Milwaukee) MGM Spring Show
without Maggie and George Robertson.

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