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A New Life For WREA Spring Show


by Bob Funkhouser

It was a new year and a new life for a great old friend. For 66 years, the Wisconsin Riders and Exhibitors’ Association Spring Show, more commonly referred to as the Milwaukee Spring Show, has been one of the strong early season competitions for the
Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota exhibitors. Many great horses, ponies, trainers and amateurs have paraded through the gates of the arena at the Wisconsin State Fairgrounds in Milwaukee. Over the past decade show officials and exhibitors have put up with a number of annoyances and at the top of the list was the more often than not cold, windy weather that blew miserably through the open-sided arena.

“We had been promised and promised that the arena was going to be enclosed and that has never happened,” said Scott Matton. “The show was losing support and it had to make a move.”

Show Manager Cheryl Rangel and WREA President Paul Schwemer packed up the old show and set up shop at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, home of the UPHA Chapters 3 & 4 Madison Classic. In years past the shows have been back-to-back, and then the past few years there has been a week in between. Moving the WREA Spring Show to Madison again put the shows back to back and that move was mostly applauded, although there are a few who still like the week in between.

“I’m in favor of having a week between the shows,” said Rick Wallen who has supported both events for many years. “It just works much better for me.”

“We had a lot of positive responses from trainers and exhibitors who didn’t have to tear down and set up twice and didn’t have two hauling bills, especially with the cost of gas today,” reported manager Rangel. “The weather was so unpredictable during that week in Milwaukee that we had to make a change. The people at this facility [Alliant Energy Center] have been so accommodating and the footing is great. The two shows also shared some expenses, which helped our show greatly. It took a lot to make this show go this year and I don’t think it would have if it weren’t for moving to this facility.

“We had 256 horses, the highest number we’ve had in at least four years. I was really pleased with the quality and the level of competition. We also had a great exhibitor’s party with wonderful food. Everyone has worked hard to make this show a success and I think it showed.”

Also part of the official team for 2006 were Judge Randy Cates, ringmaster John Frye, photographer Rick Osteen, announcer Doug Irvine, barn announcer David Morrison, steward Jackie Luebke Puetz, farrier Jeremiah Sprague and the hard working ladies in the office, Vicky Holston and Jackie Everson.

Exhibitors responded to the new venue with great enthusiasm, especially in the show ring. Even though it was early in the year, trainers and exhibitors were getting after it like they were on the green shavings.

One great example of that was the Five-Gaited Championship. The four trainers that went head to head had the tanbark flying, but in the end it was hometown favorite The Man Of The Hour standing in the winner’s circle. Ridden by Neva Van Ess for Jean Ann Gundersen, this busy gelding was making his second victory pass of the week. Pushing for all they were worth, A.J. Bruwer and Doubletrees Quixotic were right on their heels as the reserve grand champions for owner Vicki Reed.

Back on top of their game, Talon and Sarah Thordsen reigned supreme as the winners of the George Robertson Amateur Five-Gaited Stake, named in honor of the man who has given so many years of service to the show. Thordsen and Talon warmed up for the championship with a victory pass in the amateur qualifier. In Between The Lines and Jean Ann Gundersen rode away with reserve grand champion honors, while Jennifer Duffy and Mac A Daisy picked up the red prize in the qualifier.

Susan Halverson and Wing Admiral recorded the win in the Ladies Five-Gaited Championship after Kris Martalock and Aim For The Stars scored the blue in the qualifier.

From top to bottom, the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Championship was one of the most competitive classes of the show. There were four entries capable of winning and from pass to pass it was a horse race. The longer the class wore on, the stronger Talk Of Lexington and Pasty Loeb got as Judge Cates penciled them in as the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Grand Champions. Also bursting down the straightaways with authority was Reserve Grand Champion CF Night At The Castle. Brittany Baird teamed the hard charging gelding to perfection to win the qualifier ahead of Talk Of Lexington. CH Harlem’s Hot Ticket and Been Their rounded out the top competitors.

Assisted by Pickles Dillon, Tom Scott was back at Madison with a string of top horses. Worthy’s Glory was his Novice Five-Gaited Champion for Robert Ratte. Rick Wallen rode Janene Becker’s Saint Bart for reserve.

The most talked about class of the week had to be the Junior Five-Gaited Stake, which could have been a tribute to the late Randy Tabor. Tabor’s highly acclaimed deceased sire, Roseridge Heir, sired both the top two. Neva Van Ess and Keep Me Posted were outstanding to defeat a strong group of six challengers. Tom Scott piloted Beth Kruger’s Just James to the reserve title. For Glen Werry, Tom Bombolis was mixing it up with a good show from third place winner Callaway’s Case Closed.

Another young horse class, another Tom Scott winner. New York Surprise topped the UPHA Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited Classic.

Junior exhibitor Kati Salvi took on the professionals to win the Three-Gaited Championship aboard the talented star, Escriva. They put on a big-time show under the direction of Ray Krussell. Open class winner Kiss Of The Zodiac was the reserve grand champion with Tom Scott riding for Indigo Acres.

Krussell and Scott were also the battling trainers in the ladies division in which they split. The Scott-trained team of April Wish and Jenny Carlson trotted away with the tricolor streamers ahead of CH Nic Nac Caramac and Rusty Grundy. In the qualifier, it was the Krussell-trained team of Grundy and Nic Nac Caramac making the last pass. April Wish and Carlson had also won the amateur qualifier. Reserve in that qualifier, Kate Baumann and Up Close & Personal WRF were crowned the Amateur Three-Gaited Grand Champions with Sandy Kropidlowski and novice champion Born Independent in the reserve role.

Part of a great week for her, Sarah Werry swept the junior exhibitor three-gaited division with the Tom Bombolis-trained Callaway’s Mandate. The Glenmore Farm team turned back a good group of challengers in both rounds, including twice reserve champion Tantalize Me, ridden by Andrew Slater.

Robert Ratte was listed as the owner of the Junior Three-Gaited Champion Callaway’s Wanna Bet with Tom Scott in the irons. Their blue ribbon performance was followed by Rick Wallen and Gretchen’s Gift.

A.J. Bruwer put the pressure on every time he went to the ring. In an extremely competitive open park division he came back to win the grand championship aboard Vicki Reed’s expressive SJ Great Guts. They held off the leg-waving newcomer In The House, who was reserve grand champion for Tom Bombolis and owner/breeder Glenmore Farm. Pat McConnell made his debut show aboard Gigolo Joe to take third in both rounds. Bombolis and In The House made the starring victory pass in the qualifier.

Results also changed in the amateur park competition. From a class of nine, Brittany Baird and Tuff Hedeman put it all together to command the tricolor honors for trainer Pat McConnell and MBA Equestrians. Qualifying winner In My Sight was right there with a good performance for owner/rider Rusty Grundy. Julie Spanbauer and the beautiful stallion Santana’s Tropical Heat Wave were third in the championship.

One of the top individual performances of the week came from Fine Harness Grand Champion Just Wicked. The talented, black champion was driven to perfection by A.J. Bruwer for Shirley Rinehart. Reserve Grand Champion First Class Heir won the qualifier ahead of Just Wicked with Tom Bombolis at the whip. A world’s champion park horse last year, First Class Heir is wearing the harness like a star.

From the young horse ranks there were plenty of stars like Junior Fine Harness Champion Because I Said So, driven by Richard Obenauf and UPHA Fine Harness Classic Champion Royal Crest’s Rockin’ On, driven by Pat Wessel.

World’s Champion Valiant was the lone road horse in action this week. Lance Hayes was the driver for Ben King and Lyssa Gibson.

After defeating two other teams for the Open Road Pony blue, Denise Steinhauer and Thunder & Lightning were the solo act for the championship.

The Steinhauer family had a lock on much of the roadster pony division at the WREA Spring Show. Meredithe Steinhauer and Thunderation won the Maggie Robertson Amateur Road Pony Championship ahead of the class’ namesake and her entry, Seamair’s Caprice. The results were the same in the qualifier.

Bluegrass ’76 made his debut under Pat McConnell’s direction to win the AHHS Road Pony Youth Medallion with his partner, Ashley Baird. Reserve honors went to Devin Curran and Regal’s Commando LF.

Tommy Hilfiger was the lone cob-tail on the grounds. Robert Richards of River View Stables presented him in the open and amateur classes.

Sue Powers and Queensbury Debutante were two for two in the Hackney Pleasure Driving Pony Championship and qualifier. The Rick Wallen-trained team was ahead of Robert Richards and Final Answer in the championship and Kurt Antonacci with Romeo’s Poet LF in the qualifier. Kellie Loeb and Lightning Up were by themselves in the AHHS Youth Medallion Pleasure Driving class.

Nine entries filled the ring for the Five-Gaited Show Pleasure Championship and coming from a reserve ribbon in the junior exhibitor qualifier, Lindsay Kellner and Callaway’s Don’t Panic triumphed with a tricolor victory pass for Knollwood Farm. Winsome Farm’s Laura Miller and Reedann’s Yes You May exited as the reserve grand champions after they started the week as the adult champions. Heir’s Special Report and Sammy Jo Galica turned in the winning performance from the junior exhibitor qualifier.

Park pleasure was also a large division with 11 in the qualifier and eight back in the championship round. Diane Nyhammer had a lot to be happy about as her new entry, Magna Carta, received the tricolor nod from Judge Cates. John Willis presented this handsome and lofty going campaigner for the title. Reserve Grand Champions Harlem’s Irish Dancer and Carol Matton rode out with the blue prize in the qualifier for Emily Wiersma.

Ray Krussell hit the gate with a bright newcomer and Ms. Betty Grable was the hit of the Junior Park Pleasure class. Krussell was preparing the young star for owner Morgan Wolin. John Willis had Ted Klint’s Attaché’s Special Rose in top order to command reserve grand champion honors.

Pat Wessel had several of the Rademanns’ Royal Crest youngsters looking good. Among them, Royal Crest’s Stone Wars was the UPHA Park Pleasure Classic with Hector Lopez riding. Sharon Worzalla and Scandalist took home the reserve money.

Barbara Goodman-Manilow made one of the most exciting rides of Sunday afternoon’s championships. Teamed with the homebred Teuchers, Goodman-Manilow took control of the 39 and Over Show Pleasure Championship and finished with a big-time win. Huge, expressive and talented, with more performances like that, Teuchers will be one of the leading contenders in the pleasure division. Winner of the 39 and over qualifier, CH Shadows Make Believe paraded as the reserve grand champion for rider Sue Duchow and owner Russell Petersen.

The 18-38 championship saw a considerable drop off in numbers from the qualifier. Moving up five places, Sara Pieper and Santana’s Special Report wore the tricolor from the ring, followed by Laura Miller and Groovy Baby who had also been reserve in the qualifier. Stacy Wessel piloted the nice bay horse, Fine By Me, to the 18-38 qualifier blue for Alicia Sacotte.

With the quality of entries in the 14-17 pleasure championship, this class would have been a good one at anybody’s show in the country. The battle of world’s champions ended up going to the new team of Sarah Werry and He Walks On Water. This tricolor performance was directed by Glenmore Farm trainer Tom Bombolis. Winner of the 14-17 qualifier, CH Trapp Mountain and Angela Darrow commanded reserve grand champion honors, while Katie Salvi and the always expressive World’s Champion CH Petra’s Beyond Belief went home with the yellow streamers. Other ribbon winners included Hard Day’s Night TS with Michelle Krentz, CH Wild Harley with Elizabeth Schultz and Casey O’Grady with Brittany Baird.

When the gates opened for the nine-horse 13 and Under Show Pleasure Championship, it was pretty impressive as well. Coming back from a reserve in the qualifier, Fine By Me and Alicia Sacotte visited the winner’s circle to accept the tricolor honors. The reserve grand champion streamers belonged to the elegant Kabu who was also ridden to victory in the qualifier by Ashley Baird of MBA Equestrians. Novice rider pleasure winner Katie Koeppel and Whatever Works earned the yellow ribbon just ahead of 10 and under champions Maya Manilow and CH First Light Of Dawn.

The Wisconsin Owned and novice horse pleasure classes were both large. Twinkie and Carrie Glapinski led the way in the novice competition, while Gretchen Bentz and Turn Up The Heir were first in line for a prize in the Wisconsin owned event.

A nice section of junior pleasure horses found Jack Nicholson and Jourdan Schaye on top twice, followed both times by Tura Lura Lura and Sarah Luft.

Long noted as being the pleasure horse circuit of the industry, the Midwest area boasts many pleasure classes with many top stars. And long a show pleasure driving force, Elizabeth James-Lipscomb was back at it again. She drove Shot With Glory to win the Show Pleasure Driving Championship and section A of the qualifier. Reserve in section B, Appletini and Barbara Goodman-Manilow finished the week as the reserve grand champions. Junior champion Pierre Cardin was right there with Barbara Hendrickson to take third in the large championship, while section B champion So Fortunate was fourth in the final round with owner Janene Becker.

Adult riders mixed it up with their country pleasure saddle horses. Showing from the Lance Hayes Stables, Leslie Laforce guided Reedann’s Semper Phi to the championship honors for Rivi Hatt. Under the direction of Robert Gardiner, Megan Dragich and The King’s Man were right in the hunt for the reserve championship. Royal Crest’s Rolling Rock and Stacy Wessel topped the 18-38 qualifier, while Shelagh Roell and Highpoint’s Gentleman Dandy turned back the challengers in the 39 and over event.

Sarah Werry had a weekend to remember as she won her third championship, this time the Junior Exhibitor Country Pleasure title. Having never been on CF Chief’s Rage before, Michelle Krentz qualified Chief’s Rage for Werry with a reserve in the qualifier behind Elizabeth Reimer and Gold Commission. Werry was back in the saddle for the championship round and made the victory pass for Glenmore Farm. Reimer and Gold Commission settled for the reserve championship streamers for Northern Tradition Farm.

Storms A Brewing was a two-time winner in the country pleasure division. Natalie Haugen was aboard for the novice rider blue, while Gretchen Bentz did the honors in the Wisconsin owned class. Jan Ribordy and Chepengo scored the blue from the Novice Horse Country Pleasure class.

A.J. Bruwer just kept sending entries to the winner’s circle. He directed Jacqueline Coffey and CH Radio Active to the top of the Country Pleasure Driving Championship, their second victory pass of the week. Twice reserve was Kourageous Genius Supreme and Judith Manning.

Susan Honkamp and Marcia Scott traded places in the Country Western Pleasure Championship. In the first round, Scott and By Reservation Only had their table waiting for them in the winner’s circle and Honkamp was reserve with In The Zone. Round two found Honkamp moving ahead and taking the tricolor back to Knollwood Farm. Sharon Vuinovich’s Winsdown Cosmos was the top choice from the Shatner class.

Moving to the equitation division, Michelle Krentz has taken over the Knollwood Farm spot as the top senior rider. Coming of the Saddle Seat Equitation Championship at Des Moines, Krentz warmed up with a winning ride in the NHS Good Hands class before taking her second Saddle Seat Equitation Championship of the young season. Reserve to Krentz in the NHS Good Hands event, La Fleur/Van Ess Stables’ Faye Wuesthofen was also the reserve grand champion.

Wuesthofen’s sister, Jessica Wuesthofen, was the blue ribbon rider from the UPHA 17 and Under Challenge Cup, while Knollwood Farm student Deanna Lanigan topped the USEF Medal. Ray Krussell directed Mary Salvi to the winner’s circle in the 13 and under class and Dr. Morgan Wolin to the UPHA Adult Challenge Cup.

Angela Darrow had her game face on as she gave Knollwood Farm two more equitation victories. Hers came in the Pleasure Equitation Championship and the 14-17 qualifier. Gretchen Bentz garnered the reserve grand championship after also having taken reserve in the UPHA Pleasure Challenge Cup.

Cori O’Brien won that UPHA Pleasure Challenge Cup after taking reserve to Deanna Lanigan in the Saddle & Bridle Pleasure Medallion. Also in the pleasure equitation ranks, Nick Maupin was the 13 and under winner.

For the youngest of riders, the Walk and Trot Equitation Championship belonged to the talented young lady by the name of Ariana Cerecedes. Instructed by Jonelle Gardiner, Cerecedes also won the UPHA Walk and Trot Challenge Cup with a good ride. Winner of the 10 and under walk and trot class, Eva Heniges was the reserve grand champion.

And for the very beginning riders, Lena La Fleur, Addam Van Ess, and Caleb Cymbalak sported their talents in the Lead Line class.

When it was all said and done the 2006 show was enjoyable and competitive. It was a beautiful Madison weekend filled with strong class after strong class. From the open to amateur/junior exhibitor to young horses, champions from the WREA Spring Show will be shining in other winner’s circles as the year goes on. Complete results can be searched by clicking on Show Results.

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