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Midwest Again One of the Best



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - You can count on less than one hand the number of shows that you know are going to be consistently high powered. Each and every year they are good and some years they are great. Midwest Charity falls into that category but low numbers in the open championships and a lower pony turnout kept it from reaching the great plateau. However, it’s still above and beyond the majority.

Now in its sixty-first year, Midwest is one of those rare shows that can offer the best of facilities and the best of hospitality. First of all, the schedule is a delight. It is five days, however, the sessions begin at 11:00 a.m. and are usually through by 2:30 or 3:00 and the evening performance doesn’t being until 7:00 p.m. In other words there’s all kinds of time for exhibitors to relax, tour the area or take in fine dining.

Horsemen rave about the historic barns, as well as the new ones, and the many places to work horses and warm up. Now that the large outdoor warm up track is covered the show can literally take any type of weather. Speaking of, the weather was a bonus this year as it was relatively cool.

The historic coliseum features one of, if not the best show rings and footing in the entire country. Even with huge classes and plenty of pavement all around, lost shoes are never a factor at Midwest.

And after you’ve had a full day of watching world class horses, riders, and ponies compete in the Saddlebred, Hackney, and Morgan divisions, exhibitors and trainers stroll down “main street” to the party barn and enjoy a great meal compliments of the show. A team of directors and volunteers work their hearts out to make this a truly unique experience within the horse show circuit. Many shows have parties, but this is a feast every evening.

“It’s a great horse show,” said first time photographer. “Man, to get to shoot this many nice horses in a ring like this is awesome for me. And the people are just so nice. I have certainly enjoyed working with the exhibitors and the officials here.”

“It’s one of the few shows that really make you feel like they want you here,” added Pat McConnell. “This is a great place to train and show a horse and your customers can have a good time. I started going when I lived up here and it remains one of my favorites.”

All of the work and effort is for the COCO Children’s Cancer Fund. Midwest Charity officers Paul Briney, Patrick Antonacci, Jerry Donovan, Judy Kjellander, Marjorie Strano, and Susan Kerr are a very hands on group making sure every aspect of the show is first rate.

“It was a great show with lots of great people,” said show manager Paul Briney. “The weather had everyone in a good mood and it seemed like everything went well. We had lots of positive feedback about the new covered ring and the sound system. A local attorney, John Narmont, was very instrumental in helping get that done and to get the second phase of the barn rebuilding program back on track.

“There were lots of people who stepped up to make this a great show. Before the show started I knew our footing in the coliseum wasn’t what it needed to be. It wasn’t good for horses or ponies. Some trainers stepped up and helped us get some additional footing that we put down on Monday and by show time we were where we needed to be. Again, the trainer, owners, and the people that serve on this board do all they can to make this a nice show. Our goal is to make sure the owners enjoy themselves.”

To complement the facility and the hospitality, Briney also had a good group of officials in for the week. Judges included Bob Gatlin, Renee Lavery, and Rich Robertson for the Saddlebred, pony, and roadster events and Janet Barber for the Morgan division. Dennis Porrick occupied his usual chair as the announcer and Buddy Waggoner stepped in to serve as ringmaster. Doug Shiflet made his first trip to Midwest as the official photographer and Davis Morris served his first as barn announcer. Briney hoped that both would be back for next year’s show.

Action was hot from start to finish and the 15-horse Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited class got things warmed up in a hurry. The new combination of Alexandra Flynn and CH Doubletrees Steel The Show were the champions of that grand class and they would come back as grand champions as well.

Open grand champions included Callaway’s Forecaster and Nancy Leigh Fisher putting on a big time show in the Five-Gaited Stake. Ah! What A Night and Mike Roberts captured their second Fine Harness Championship of the year and A.J. Bruwer had Ragtime Lady Jazz looking the part to win the Three-Gaited Championship. All three of these were nice horses, they just didn’t have enough competition.

Ladies horses were the talk of the show. Who wouldn’t have wanted to trade places with Julie Anne Wroble as she glided around the ring with Ladies Five-Gaited Grand Champion Chandler? They had the crowd cheering as did Lisa Strickland and Sold Out Show in the Ladies Three-Gaited Championship. Both of these ladies grand champions ranked among the best of the week.

Amateur championships were most competitive as the water is always deep in these sections at Midwest. Gabe Deknatel and Callway’s Weatherman predicted victory in the Amateur Five-Gaited Championship and the forecast was correct. The flashy gelding was a powerhouse. In the Amateur Three-Gaited Championship it was Dr. Scott Cairns aboard his new mount Simbara’s Exclamation to handily take home the tricolor.

There were several duels that were most entertaining. world champion CF First Light Of Dawn and two-time world’s champion Timeless Drifter went head to head in the junior exhibitor three-gaited ranks with Timeless Drifter and Dakota Willimon finishing on top in both hard fought rounds. Likewise, CH Uncle Abe and The Bess Yet were nose to nose in the Adult Three-Gaited Pleasure Championship but it was the mare taking the crown.

Pleasure driving was so huge even the championship had to be run in sections with the judges picking entries from each split to come back for the final pinning. Sue Powers and Queensbury Coquette emerged as the grand champions.

Midwest was a memorable show for Guy and Karen Smith. He won an extremely competitive Amateur Fine Harness Championship with the sensational Kalarama’s New Sensation and she topped a huge adult country pleasure division with CH The Shadow Knows.

The week was also memorable for trainer Kurt Hufferd. Known for his world class Morgan entries, Hufferd hit the ring in the UPHA Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited Classic and beat up on all the “Saddlebred trainers” with a sporty youngster named Stonecutter. Bidders were moving furiously to get in line for this one. Also in the UPHA Three-Year-Old Classics, A Magic Spell won her second title of the year with Carol Matton showing the beautiful Catalyst daughter for Mary Jane Gralton in the park pleasure division.

It was a week for top of the line three-year-olds as Mike Roberts and Tornado’s Tidal Wave were standouts in the Fine Harness Classic and Virgil Helm had everyone’s attention with the beautiful stallion Memories Paragon in the five-gaited division.

For the young pony stars, Rich and Beth Campbell, along with Darrel and Sandy Kolkman blew in for a few days just long enough to win three UPHA Pony Classics with Heartland Elegant Dancer, Heartland Wonderful Miss, and Heartland Celebrate Celebrate.

These were just a few of the highlights that made Midwest 2002 another top rated event. With secretary supreme Beth Snider reporting more than 600 horses and ponies it was a show that rocked class after class.

“Hot dog! If you plan on having a shot here, you better come loaded,” exclaimed Lynda Freseth.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - You can count on less than one hand the number of shows that you know are going to be consistently high powered. Each and every year they are good and some years they are great. Midwest Charity falls into that category but low numbers in the open championships and a lower pony turnout kept it from reaching the great plateau. However, it’s still above and beyond the majority.

Now in its sixty-first year, Midwest is one of those rare shows that can offer the best of facilities and the best of hospitality. First of all, the schedule is a delight. It is five days, however, the sessions begin at 11:00 a.m. and are usually through by 2:30 or 3:00 and the evening performance doesn’t being until 7:00 p.m. In other words there’s all kinds of time for exhibitors to relax, tour the area or take in fine dining.

Horsemen rave about the historic barns, as well as the new ones, and the many places to work horses and warm up. Now that the large outdoor warm up track is covered the show can literally take any type of weather. Speaking of, the weather was a bonus this year as it was relatively cool.

The historic coliseum features one of, if not the best show rings and footing in the entire country. Even with huge classes and plenty of pavement all around, lost shoes are never a factor at Midwest.

And after you’ve had a full day of watching world class horses, riders, and ponies compete in the Saddlebred, Hackney, and Morgan divisions, exhibitors and trainers stroll down “main street” to the party barn and enjoy a great meal compliments of the show. A team of directors and volunteers work their hearts out to make this a truly unique experience within the horse show circuit. Many shows have parties, but this is a feast every evening.

“It’s a great horse show,” said first time photographer. “Man, to get to shoot this many nice horses in a ring like this is awesome for me. And the people are just so nice. I have certainly enjoyed working with the exhibitors and the officials here.”

“It’s one of the few shows that really make you feel like they want you here,” added Pat McConnell. “This is a great place to train and show a horse and your customers can have a good time. I started going when I lived up here and it remains one of my favorites.”

All of the work and effort is for the COCO Children’s Cancer Fund. Midwest Charity officers Paul Briney, Patrick Antonacci, Jerry Donovan, Judy Kjellander, Marjorie Strano, and Susan Kerr are a very hands on group making sure every aspect of the show is first rate.

“It was a great show with lots of great people,” said show manager Paul Briney. “The weather had everyone in a good mood and it seemed like everything went well. We had lots of positive feedback about the new covered ring and the sound system. A local attorney, John Narmont, was very instrumental in helping get that done and to get the second phase of the barn rebuilding program back on track.

“There were lots of people who stepped up to make this a great show. Before the show started I knew our footing in the coliseum wasn’t what it needed to be. It wasn’t good for horses or ponies. Some trainers stepped up and helped us get some additional footing that we put down on Monday and by show time we were where we needed to be. Again, the trainer, owners, and the people that serve on this board do all they can to make this a nice show. Our goal is to make sure the owners enjoy themselves.”

To complement the facility and the hospitality, Briney also had a good group of officials in for the week. Judges included Bob Gatlin, Renee Lavery, and Rich Robertson for the Saddlebred, pony, and roadster events and Janet Barber for the Morgan division. Dennis Porrick occupied his usual chair as the announcer and Buddy Waggoner stepped in to serve as ringmaster. Doug Shiflet made his first trip to Midwest as the official photographer and Davis Morris served his first as barn announcer. Briney hoped that both would be back for next year’s show.

Action was hot from start to finish and the 15-horse Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited class got things warmed up in a hurry. The new combination of Alexandra Flynn and CH Doubletrees Steel The Show were the champions of that grand class and they would come back as grand champions as well.

Open grand champions included Callaway’s Forecaster and Nancy Leigh Fisher putting on a big time show in the Five-Gaited Stake. Ah! What A Night and Mike Roberts captured their second Fine Harness Championship of the year and A.J. Bruwer had Ragtime Lady Jazz looking the part to win the Three-Gaited Championship. All three of these were nice horses, they just didn’t have enough competition.

Ladies horses were the talk of the show. Who wouldn’t have wanted to trade places with Julie Anne Wroble as she glided around the ring with Ladies Five-Gaited Grand Champion Chandler? They had the crowd cheering as did Lisa Strickland and Sold Out Show in the Ladies Three-Gaited Championship. Both of these ladies grand champions ranked among the best of the week.

Amateur championships were most competitive as the water is always deep in these sections at Midwest. Gabe Deknatel and Callway’s Weatherman predicted victory in the Amateur Five-Gaited Championship and the forecast was correct. The flashy gelding was a powerhouse. In the Amateur Three-Gaited Championship it was Dr. Scott Cairns aboard his new mount Simbara’s Exclamation to handily take home the tricolor.

There were several duels that were most entertaining. world champion CF First Light Of Dawn and two-time world’s champion Timeless Drifter went head to head in the junior exhibitor three-gaited ranks with Timeless Drifter and Dakota Willimon finishing on top in both hard fought rounds. Likewise, CH Uncle Abe and The Bess Yet were nose to nose in the Adult Three-Gaited Pleasure Championship but it was the mare taking the crown.

Pleasure driving was so huge even the championship had to be run in sections with the judges picking entries from each split to come back for the final pinning. Sue Powers and Queensbury Coquette emerged as the grand champions.

Midwest was a memorable show for Guy and Karen Smith. He won an extremely competitive Amateur Fine Harness Championship with the sensational Kalarama’s New Sensation and she topped a huge adult country pleasure division with CH The Shadow Knows.

The week was also memorable for trainer Kurt Hufferd. Known for his world class Morgan entries, Hufferd hit the ring in the UPHA Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited Classic and beat up on all the “Saddlebred trainers” with a sporty youngster named Stonecutter. Bidders were moving furiously to get in line for this one. Also in the UPHA Three-Year-Old Classics, A Magic Spell won her second title of the year with Carol Matton showing the beautiful Catalyst daughter for Mary Jane Gralton in the park pleasure division.

It was a week for top of the line three-year-olds as Mike Roberts and Tornado’s Tidal Wave were standouts in the Fine Harness Classic and Virgil Helm had everyone’s attention with the beautiful stallion Memories Paragon in the five-gaited division.

For the young pony stars, Rich and Beth Campbell, along with Darrel and Sandy Kolkman blew in for a few days just long enough to win three UPHA Pony Classics with Heartland Elegant Dancer, Heartland Wonderful Miss, and Heartland Celebrate Celebrate.

These were just a few of the highlights that made Midwest 2002 another top rated event. With secretary supreme Beth Snider reporting more than 600 horses and ponies it was a show that rocked class after class.

“Hot dog! If you plan on having a shot here, you better come loaded,” exclaimed Lynda Freseth.

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