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A New Home For UPHA Chapter 5

by Bob Funkhouser

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - After 22 years of calling Columbia, Mo.’s Midway Exposition Center home, the UPHA Chapter 5 Horse Show pulled up stakes and headed west to Kansas City. It felt really strange to be in Kansas City while the grass was green and the temperatures were pushing 80 degrees, but what a welcomed site the American Royal Complex and Hale Arena were.

The facility in Columbia, while never a showcase, was certainly comfortable and adequate for many years. However, it had been slowly deteriorating and no longer suitable for a show that could attract barns from several parts of the country.

"This is a drastic improvement," said trainer Max Ciampoli of the show’s new venue. "At a time when most shows are seeing fewer horses, we had an increase here and I have to believe it is because of moving here to Kansas City."

"It’s such a big improvement," added Tonya Brison. "There are a few things to fix with the ring, but overall it was a great change. The people on the committee put a lot of work into making this a very nice show."

Those sentiments were echoed over and over again by trainers and exhibitors alike. A clean, new setting, great weather and plenty of hospitality went quite well with top of the line American Saddlebreds, Morgans and Hackneys to make the 23rd annual UPHA Chapter 5 Show one to remember.

The show was moved to the American Royal with the competition taking place in Hale Arena. Most agreed that the ring could have been laid out better and bigger and the entrance from the indoor warm up ring just behind Hale Arena should have been used as the entrance gate, but other than that it was a great place to have a show.

Show Manager Chuck Walker had a good team, which included Marjorie Bain as assistant manager, Jan Burden as show chairperson and Nikki Harrison as UPHA Chapter 5 chairperson. Sarah Ressler worked the show office, while Larry Allen was ringmaster for Saddlebred Judge Nelson Green and Morgan Judge Luman Wadhams. Howie Schatzberg, assisted by his dad, Jack, was back as the official photographer and Dick Brown served as announcer. Also part of the official family, Scarlett Mattson was the USEF steward.

Barns from all over Missouri, as well as Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Iowa and Oklahoma, brought world-class stock in several divisions to make for a competitive week. While there were many stars on hand, 82 years young Dr. Alan Raun had two of the standouts in junior harness champion It’s Dan The Man and Road Pony Grand Champion Twin Willow’s McDreamy. Before the week was over Anna Marie Knipp was the new owner of It’s Dan The Man.

Dr. Raun was also railside to greet his Reedannland trainer Louis Louw in the winner’s circle of the Five-Gaited Jackpot with Louw aboard the homebred Treasure The Warmth. Tom Scott had the reserve champion in Roses In The Heir and Virgil Helm was third with Lady Bella, making for a really competitive class.

The gaited division was filled with stars as Gayle Lampe and one of Missouri’s favorite sons, CH Callaway’s Born To Win, were the ladies grand champions and qualifying winners.

Amateur mare winner Callaway’s Ariel battled it out with amateur stallion/gelding winner I’m Something Wicked, along with four other entries for the Amateur Five-Gaited Championship. Theresa Vonderschmitt and I’m Something Wicked emerged with the tricolor, followed by Stacey Kipper and Callaway’s Ariel.

UPHA Chapter 5 was also the coming out party for Eleanor Rainbolt-Forbes and World’s Champion CH Sprinkles. A little trouble catching the trot in the qualifier kept them down but they came back with a strong showing in the second round to take the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Championship with hard riding Morgan Brison aboard the qualifying winner Take A Guess for reserve honors.

Young horses were good with Virgil Helm and What Was I Thinking taking a quality Junior Five-Gaited Stake while Bob Brison presented Larry Schultz’s UPHA Five-Gaited Classic Champion Locust Grove’s Big Kat for the honors.

Coming off the championship at the Oklahoma Centennial, Zach Duffy rode Gypsy’s Bragging Rights to sweep the open walk-trot division. Just as she did in the gaited division, Theresa Vonderschmitt swept the amateur walk-trot division, this time with Mr. Center Stage. Stacey Kipper had a great week and part of that success came with a very tasty Ladies Three-Gaited Champion Promised Love.

Randy Cates’s Cross Creek Stables had a lock on the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Championship with Katie Cunningham and the athletic That’s Chicago winning the tricolor ahead of stablemates Eleanor Rainbolt-Forbes and The Great Gaspar.

The young walk-trot stars included Junior Three-Gaited Champion and 2008 UPHA Three-Gaited Classic Grand Champion Soquili’s Georgia Kracker and Bob Brison. John Wallen rode the beautiful three-year-old champion HS Daydream’s Come True.

Making the transition from harness champion to under saddle champion, I’m A Lucky Charm topped the open park classes with Zach Duffy riding for Middendorf Farms. Pfieffer and CH Shady Creek’s Genius traded places in the amateur division with Stacey Kipper and Pfieffer coming out on top in the championship.

Catalytic and Lady Vol represented the Mike Roberts Stable in the harness division with open and ladies wins, respectively. For the new stars, Absolutely On Fire paraded down victory lane with Mike Benn driving the junior champion for James Orr. Representing his royal blood, Designed For Success was Redwing Farm’s UPHA Fine Harness Classic Champion under the direction of Bob Brison.

Anna Marie Knipp’s High Spirits Farm had a great week with the ponies including twice Amateur Road Pony Champion Not My Pony, twice pleasure driving champion One More Time and cob-tail grand champion Unequalled. Dr. Alan Raun drove Mary Ellen Golich’s Conqueror’s Colleen LF to the open and Harness Pony Championship. AHHS Medallion titles went to Max Kaplan and Heartland Carolee (road pony), Kailin Baechle with Rolls Royce (road pony under saddle), Caroline Rainbolt-Forbes with Cherry Royale (pleasure driving), and Desert Light with Madison Pope (pleasure pony under saddle).

The always-busy Callaway’s Dealbreaker soared to turn back all competition in two rounds of adult gaited pleasure competition with Betts Coup. Morgan Brison and Memories Star Seeker did the same thing for Roberta Rassieur in the juvenile division.

Taladega Red, Pandora’s Box, Rescue Me, Bella Diva and Callaway’s Pundit all made victory passes in the park pleasure division with each of the champions earning well-deserved blues.

Randy Cates and Casey Crabtree had the Cross Creek Stables entries taking a big chunk of the pleasure division with CH Catalyst Commander and Maguire Hall sweeping the adult classes and CH Vegas Dreams with Jennifer Van Horn turning them all back in both juvenile classes. Two more winning ribbons were hung on the High Spirits tack room with Show Pleasure Driving Grand Champion Tamarack’s Lights Out.

No stranger to the winner’s circle, Reedann’s Phancy Phootwork won both adult country pleasure classes and the same could be said for the two-time juvenile champion Callaway’s Winning Number, ridden by Marjorie Townsend. Moving up three notches from the qualifying round, Ollie By Golly and Rita Diekroeger were the Country Pleasure Driving Grand Champions. Judge Green pinned Whiskey Tango and Joetta Smith twice in the Country Western Pleasure competition.

Versatile and talented, Lyndi Skinner finished a good week as the Saddle Seat Equitation Grand Champion, her third equitation victory pass of the week. Sarah Hinds rode as the Pleasure Equitation Grand Champion.

The Morgan division was well represented this year, especially with the stock of Peeper Ranch. Dawn Fire debuted with the 2008 Junior English Pleasure World Champion Graycliff Tony to take Morgan English Pleasure Grand Champion and open honors. Fire also rode Treble’s First Take to the Park Saddle Stake.

Also trained by Phil Fountain, Cedar Creek Cariad swept the amateur English pleasure division with Anne Marie Biron in the irons. KHF Bleeding Heart traded places with RWF Walk In The Park to win the Junior Exhibitor English Pleasure Championship with Katie Costello.

Lynn Begalla guided MEM Twisted Sister down victory lane in the Morgan Pleasure Driving Championship.

Western Pleasure Champions included Troikas Black Russian (open with Ling Fu Wylie), Treble’s Front And Center (amateur with Anne Marie Biron) and Black Berry (junior exhibitor with Halley Bolton).

Rounding out the Morgan competition for the 2009 UPHA Chapter 5 Show, SPR Patriot was tops with Laura Vunovich in both open and amateur. Ali Denzel and MEM Once Again scored twice among the junior exhibitor competitors.

Exhibitors will be eager to return to Kansas City in 2010 for the 24th edition of the UPHA Chapter 5 Horse Show. A show that’s already steeped in tradition it now has shiny new packaging to take it to another level.

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