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New Format Works Well at Cleveland Classic

by Leeann Mione

BEREA, Ohio – The Cleveland Classic Horse Show had a new format this year and although Mother Nature tried to intervene, it worked quite well and the show went off with barely a hitch.


A longtime favorite of barns from throughout Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and the Midwest because of its easy schedule and laid back atmosphere, the show once again drew a nice group of horses and exhibitors to perform in front of this year’s judge Jay Wood.


Because Ohio in the middle of June is usually so incredibly hot, the decision was made this year to hold evening-only sessions Thursday and Friday, June 22 and 23. The outdoor ring however, couldn’t stand up to the heavy rains that hit Northern Ohio Thursday and the first evening session was rescheduled for Friday afternoon. Even with several inches of rain the night before, by the time the first class was ready go in the ring, the footing was in pretty good order. Jim Taylor and the members of the show committee worked hard all morning to get the footing in good shape and they succeeded. Friday afternoon started with some light rain but eventually cleared and turned out to be a nice day.


UPHA Chapter 13 puts a lot of work into the Cleveland Classic Horse Show all year long, from the fundraising events in both Dayton and Cleveland to the time and effort setting the schedule and preparing the facility for the show. The result is that each year, Saddlebreds, Morgans and Hackneys come to Berea to enjoy a fun weekend.


The spirit of camaraderie started this year from the beginning as a big group gathered for the party that had been scheduled Thursday night. The classes may have been rained out, but that didn’t keep the group from getting together to enjoy each other’s company. The Friday evening exhibitor’s party, which is always a big hit, also drew a big group to enjoy the live band, steak dinner and cash bar. Held under the ringside tent, the party went into the wee hours of the morning. Hospitality also included free ice cream to the participants in Saturday morning’s academy classes.


Led by manager Jack Thrane, the horse show committee and volunteers did all they could to make the show a success again this year. From the Two-Year-Old Fine Harness class which got things underway Friday afternoon to Saturday evening’s final class, the Five-Gaited Championship, the crowd had an enjoyable, entertaining show to watch.


Patti Schooley served as show secretary and Bob Phillips was stable manager. David Rice announced the classes and Howie Schatzberg was on hand as official photographer to capture the winning moments in center ring. Amy Paradise entertained as show organist.


First through third place winners of the open stakes had an added reason to smile with the addition of the “Show For The Dough” trainer’s incentives which put $300 for first place in the trainer’s pockets in the Five-Gaited Championship, Three-Gaited Championship and Fine Harness Stake. Trainers of the reserve grand champions received $200 and third place paid $100 each.


Winning trainers Jenny Taylor, Steve Demjen and Bob Phillips went home $300 richer by the close of competition Saturday evening.


Another weekend highlight was the first presentation of the Vicki Spoonster Memorial Perpetual Trophy. Spoonster, a long-time riding instructor at Richlon Farm passed away last year shortly before the Cleveland Classic. The trophy in her honor was presented in the Three-Gaited Championship (see below).


For the third time in a row this season Beringer Red and Jenny Taylor topped the Five-Gaited Stake to take the tricolor for Fred and Phyllis Rhue. Beringer Red was also the open champion with Taylor. Roseridge’s Tip Top was the reserve grand champion with Bob Phillips up for Jim Salerno.


Lisa May and Dollar For Dollar swept the amateur division with the championship and qualifier wins. Callaway’s Wish Me Luck took the reserve tricolor in the amateur championship with Sarah Grimm up for Jeff, Judy and Sarah Grimm.


Krystal Murphy rode Diplomatic Son to the blue in the junior exhibitor class for Sena Bowling. Hoof Prince and Jim Taylor went to the winner’s circle in the junior/limit class for Jill O’ Hara


Platinum’s What A Rush exited the ring with the blue ribbon in the UPHA Five-Gaited Classic for Platinum Stock Farm. Jimmy Morrison rode for the win.


Stacey Bare and CH Caramac’s Norma Rae were the team to beat in the open three-gaited class and they returned in the open stake to take the title as well. Great Day’s War Princess, owned by Tina Stodd, was reserve with Phil Price up.


Margo Coleman and Sir Andrew topped the amateur championship after having won the amateur qualifier. His Heirness and Debbie Ecksten were the amateur reserve grand champions for owner Linda Lewis.


Exotic Times and Nicole Ferszt won the Three-Gaited Junior Exhibitor class. Primary Goal was the junior/limit champion for owner Connie Sexton. Reese Richey made the trip to the winner’s circle.


Callaway’s Compatible added yet another UPHA win the Platinum Stock Farm total when Jimmy Morrison rode for the win.


Mirrored Dancer put Debbie Ecksten in the winner’s circle when judge Jay Wood gave them the nod in the Park Championship for owner Linda Lewis. Maxed Out and Dana Baer were the park reserve grand champions. Lynn Gutches Snowden and The Lady’s Heir won the open park class.


It’s Tea Time and Bob Phillips took the victory pas in the Fine Harness Championship for owner James Salerno after Salerno himself drove to the blue in the amateur qualifier. Untamed Obsession was the Fine Harness Reserve Grand Champion with Clayton Caldwell driving for Etta Caldwell. Craig Hummel had previously driven Untamed Obsession to the blue in the junior/limit class.


Thunder Over The Amazon and Phil Price took the title in the UPHA Fine Harness Classic for Tina Stodd.


She’s Forever Timeless got the first session of the show started Friday afternoon when she won the Two-Year-Old Fine Harness class with Juan Banuet driving for Christine Lance.


Desert Fox and Linda Park won the Roadster Pony Championship after having previously won the amateur class. Kilbro’s Articulate with Matt Schuckert driving for Bob and Mark Hiser, took the reserve streamers in the championship. Our Celebrity won the open class and again Schuckert was in the bike. He drove for owner Rick McQuown.


Truly Naughty By Nature was the Harness Pony Grand Champion and champion for the Schuckert-McQuown team. Schuckert drove for both wins.


Diamond’s Whiz Bang and Terry McKenzie won the Hackney Pony Championship for Beth Jones. The Final Contender and Linda Lewis topped the open class before claiming the reserve title in the stake.


Canadian Club and Shirley Sanislow won both the Hackney Pleasure Pony Driving Championship and qualifier. Spirit’s Easter Morn was the reserve grand champion with Linda Lewis driving.


Hoochie Coochie Blues and Leslie Mechling topped both the Five-Gaited Pleasure Championship and qualifier for owner Sena Bowling. Harlem’s Gifted Treasure and Jackie Hawkes were the reserve grand champions.


She’s Irene added another blue to Bowling’s total when she rode to the winner’s circle in the Park Pleasure Junior/Limit class. Brookhill’s Tom Tom and Steve Demjen won the UPHA Park Pleasure Classic for owner Danielle Loar.


Santana’s Gypsy Gal and Shawn Stachowski topped two big classes to win the Three-Gaited Pleasure Adult Championship and adult qualifier. Simply Enough and Jessica Sexton were the reserve grand champions. Tender As Iron and Stacie Thomas won the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Pleasure Championship in big move up in the ribbons. Veronica’s Surprize and Kathy Klucas were reserve in the championship, for Russell Chester, after winning the big qualifier.


A Lucky Guy was the Pleasure Driving Grand Champion and champion for Gary and Rhonda Black. Catalyst’s Nip Of Wine took reserve in the championship with owner Joanna Barr.


CF Chief’s Mood Swings won the Country Pleasure Championship with owner Aimee LaBrie on board. They were followed in the ribbons by RHF Lion O and owner Jenny Rutledge. Highpoint’s Fancy Cat and Toree Hefner won the country pleasure qualifier.


The Bay Princess and owner Mary Strang finished the week with the Country Pleasure Driving Championship tricolor and blue ribbon from the open class.


Reedann’s High Flyer, with owner Sarah Brandt up, won the Western Country Pleasure blue ribbon in the division’s only class.


Jose Jose topped the group of yearlings that competed in the ASHAO Yearling In Hand Classic. Craig Hummel showed for the win for owners Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Sadzewicz.


Casey Morgan Tibolet, riding Sarah Taylor’s Undulata’s Time To Shine, won the Saddle Seat Equitation Championship. Winner of the 17 and Under qualifier, Shana Jo Brown, was reserve with Hatcher’s Pride after winning the NHS Good Hands. Brown also rode Cha Ching to the blue in the age group qualifier. Holli Stebner, with Up Hyer Don Juan, won the 14-17 UPHA Challenge Cup. Krystal Murphy, with her mount Good Graces, was victorious in the 13 and under challenge cup.


Taylor Hiestand won the 10 and Under UPHA Walk and Trot Challenge Cup with Bi Mi Champagne Tate.


Mikaela’s Victory Flair and Marilyn Rutledge took the win in the Morgan Park Saddle Championship and were followed in the ribbons by reserve grand champion HVK Beau Flaire. Steve Lehr rode for owner Sandra Benko. Rutledge and Victory Flair also won the qualifier.


King Lehr’s Bravado added two more under saddle wins to Benko’s total when he was named the winner of the Morgan English Pleasure Championship after winning the amateur class with Benko riding. Bellagio and owner Tina Lessnau were the Open English Pleasure Reserve Grand Champions and HFF Thrill Seeker and Erin Koenig won the open qualifier.


Mikaela’s Pocket Rocket and Kimberly Hayes won the Morgan Pleasure Driving Championship for Craig and Kathi Hummel. Aquila’s Magis and owner Beth Stover were reserve. Sandra Benko drove King Lehr’s Bravado to the blue in the open qualifier.


Corydon’s Eclipse and owner Donna Zimmerman were the Morgan Classic Pleasure Saddle Grand Champions after winning the qualifier. Futurities Eclipse, owned by Tim and Jean Jenkins, took the reserve tricolor streamers with Denise Pickett riding.


Mikaela’s Pocket Rocket returned to the winner’s circle for Craig and Kathi Hummel but this time it was in the Morgan Classic Pleasure Driving class. Lauren Jenkins drove for the blue ribbon.


This highlights the 2006 Cleveland Classic Horse Show. Complete results can be found by clicking on SHOW RESULTS.



Vicki Spoonster Memorial Trophy Presented at Cleveland Classic


Editor’s Note: The following speech was read by Jill O’Hara Saturday evening  June 24, 2006 at the Cleveland Classic Horse Show.


Last year at the Cleveland Classic Horse Show, we announced the establishment of the Vicki Spoonster Memorial Perpetual Trophy. Tonight friends, family members and equestrian friends are gathered both in the ring and railside to remember Vicki and be part of its first presentation.


A riding instructor for 27 years, she coached countless numbers of adults and children. One of her proudest moments was in 2000 when her daughter Chris won two world’s championships at Louisville. In 2002 student Kiersten Myer won a world’s championship in her first year of competition. Always positive and encouraging, Vicki instilled confidence in her students and took pride in all of their accomplishments – big and small.


Although we are remembering Vicki here this evening because of her contributions to the horse world and UPHA Chapter 13, those of us who knew her well wish to remember her because of the example she set for how to live life – fully, kindly and unselfishly.


As a surgical nurse at Summa Hospital she was highly respected and loved. A well-established surgeon told me he rarely could get her to assist in his surgeries as she was almost always reserved by surgeons with more seniority. No wonder that surgeries were rescheduled so the staff could attend Vicki’s funeral.


No one loved her family and children more than Vicki. Whether it was attending her son Tom’s many sports events, Chris’s horse shows or other school functions, Vicki always made her family her priority.


Vicki was involved with many charities whether it was sitting on a board, attending a fundraiser or organizing an event. She often led her riding club to do charitable fundraising, proving that she wasn’t just an instructor of riding, but also a great instructor on living.


Outgoing, with an unforgettable smile, bright blue eyes and a positive attitude that never quit, Vicki was an inspiration to all who knew her, and to know her was to love her. We established this memorial trophy to keep us mindful of our Vicki and the beautiful way of life that she represented.


The trophy was particularly important to Vicki’s husband Terry. I promised him at the horse show last year that I would personally read her memorial this year. This January, just six months after Vicki’s passing, Terry passed away after suffering a heart attack while coaching a boy in a ski event for the Special Olympics. We know how important this trophy was to Terry, who had Douwe Blumberg create a replica of the trophy for his family to keep.


So tonight, with the giving of this trophy, we fulfill a promise and we honor and remember Vicki Spoonster; daughter, sister, wife, mother, nurse, philanthropist, equestrienne, teacher, friend. Whenever I hear Tim McGraw’s song “Live Like You Were Dying,” I think of Vicki. Her life may have been short, but it was well lived, well spent and will be well remembered.

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