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North Star Morgan Americana Celebrates 50 Years In Tricolor Style

Linda Hagan Kvanbeck

PAUL, Minn.- At the first North Central Morgan Association (NCMA) Horse Show 50 years ago, radios played hits by Elvis like Love Me Tender and Heartbreak Hotel. Yule Brenner elevated the status of bald men everywhere in The King and I. Television viewers hoped Matt Dillon (that’s the Marshall not the current heartthrob) and Miss Kitty would finally get hitched, and Tom Hanks, Mel Gibson and Gina Davis were born to be stars.

The small NCMA show would grow to become a star of the upper Midwest. The show name changed to the North Star Morgan Americana, and top horses from the area and across the country have competed at the beautiful Minnesota State Fair Grounds in St. Paul, moving there in the early ’70s. These horses and/or their offspring have thrilled spectators and created lasting memories: Milaca Major, Colonel Jarnette, Milstan’s Darcie, Funquest Consuelo, Congodon, Mor Ayr Supreme, Wildwood Shamrock, Bonnie Lee Tempest, Ironstone Rebel, Figure’s Erika, Serendipity Glory B, Merriehill Hooligan, Medomak King Cobra, Legacy’s Viking, HVK Hotspur, HVK Fieldmarch, Serenity Flight Time, Troika’s Anatole, Summit’s Allegro, Oak Hill Perfect Pic, Equinox Accent, Fleetwing’s Major, Hylee’s Sadie Hawkins, Tug Hill Alibi, Hylee’s Rare Flare, Cabot French Pepper, Tracemark Tapestry … and many, many more.

The North Star Show faithful include many adults who started as kids. Anyone remember a quiet little girl who started riding Morgans with her neighbors Chuck and Arlene Berzins? She has gone on to breed the World Champion Park Harness and Park Saddle stallion Stand And Deliver – Tara Lindeen Good of Thornwood. NCMA members are proud of generously sharing their horse knowledge and love of Morgans, encouraging each other to “go for it” in whichever division excites them, whether ranch horse or park horse.

More than 250 Morgans were evaluated by Judges Larry Bolen, Tim Morrell and Mickey Bowen, carriage judge at the 50th anniversary show on July 6-9. Show Chair Sarah Moses, Manager Lloyd Landkamer and Secretary Cheryl Rangel ran an efficient and fun show with special emphasis on hospitality to celebrate the golden anniversary. There were aisle parties each night, a welcome barbecue, a dunk tank for your favorite trainer instigated by Jordy Johns, chuck-a-duck and jackpot judging for the spectators and welcome bags for the exhibitors.

Several farms and trainers in the area generously sponsored the jackpot championship classes for performance divisions. Jessica Cavanaugh with Merriehill Farm rode a beautiful mare endowed with grace and exuberance, The Silver Brook Surprise, to the Raptor Ridge English Pleasure Jackpot win for Timothy and Priscilla Lydon. A change of clothes, and Cavanaugh won the Hardwood Creek Farm Hunter Pleasure Jackpot on the ground-covering Merriehill Isa Boo for Epona Morgans.

What’s My Line was a sight as Stan Bodnar drove the exotic headed stallion to the Kohler Stables Pleasure Driving Jackpot Championship for Epona Morgans, making this their second jackpot win of the show. Earlier in the week, What’s My Line edged out Rum Brook Immortal Knight, driven by Jay Wood for his mother VeeAnn, to win the Ernie Wood Memorial Pleasure Driving trophy. Ernie would have been right on the rail to see these beauties put on a great show.

RGM Special Delivery owned by Shirley and Chelsea Coupal performed with style and elegance with Chelsea in the irons to take the prize in the Marlett Stables Classic English Pleasure Jackpot.


Tracemark Tapestry won the Arnette Lindeen Western Pleasure Jackpot for the second year in a row, looking elegant and steady as Andy Marlett jogged the glossy seal brown mare to the tricolor for owner Kristie Strom.

The Yearling Sweepstakes attracted 14 entries in its first year. Harlan’s Dutch Fantasy by Minion Millennium took unanimous top honors with John Hufferd at the lead for Margaret Van Meter of MSV Morgans. It was her first visit to North Star and she was joined by Barb Rudicel to watch the sweepstakes. Reserve went to FS Cherry Bounce by TVM I Promise for Caryn Possell, trained by Bert Earehart. Her first venture in breeding Morgans, Possell named the feminine filly in honor of her late grandfather who made the family-pleasing beverage Cherry Bounce …hmm, for an exhibitors’ party?

Harry Sebring joined Judges Bolen and Morrell for the sweepstakes class on Saturday night, then took up a curbside spot as Harry and The Lashwhips entertained the exhibitors with dancing in the street. Ken Swanson flew in to play the guitar and visit friends and family in the area. Jim Lowry was on drums, looking and sounding good, even after a busy show schedule. Good thing he still had enough steam left on Sunday, as every horse in the Lowry string hit the show ring.

Nan Willie Cecchettini deserved a thunderous round of applause for organizing the exhibitors’ party, the sponsors' lounge refreshments, the dessert party and the Italian cuisine for Hardwood Creek's around the world aisle party. She wore off those calories in a hurry riding Cabot's French Pepper to win the Stallion and Gelding Classic English Pleasure, the Ladies Classic English Pleasure and taking reserve champion in the finals.

A joyous occasion for the Gene and Marianne Dietz family on Saturday night was the retirement ceremony for their handsome hunter Tug Hill Alibi, winner of more than 155 blues in shows from local to national. You might be able to name the horses that placed above Alibi in hunter pleasure through the years, but you couldn’t begin to count the number of horses he beat. Gene purchased the gelding as a junior horse for himself, but soon shared the great horse with daughter Diane, and later with his granddaughter Kate. As the shoes came off in center ring, eyes were moist no only for Alibi, but also for Gene – he survived a life-threatening heart attack at the show last year while riding Alibi. There was much to celebrate this night.

On a sad note, the MacAloon Memorial English Pleasure Amateur Championship trophy now honors Linda MacAloon in addition to her deceased parents Jack and Dorothy. She passed away early this summer after a lengthy battle with cancer, spending her last months with her lifelong friend Carolyn Winslow. MacAloon will be remembered as one of the breed’s most successful and effective amateur trainer/owners with English pleasure horses such as Paramount’s Ultimate and Flashdance. The MacAloon Memorial trophy went to Kirsten Johnson on her new English pleasure gelding Monnington’s Titian, under the direction of Hardwood Creek. They were a beautiful pair to honor MacAloon’s life with Morgans.

Lyle and Colleen Wick had the distinction of bringing the most horses, 24 in countless classes, with a seemingly endless supply of riders and drivers in all divisions. Their daughter Alyssa showed seemingly effortless equitation skills to take top honors in the Saddle Seat and Hunt Seat Equitation classes, thanks to expert direction from her mother.

New to the show this year were expanded classes in the ranch horse division, attracting handy Morgans with working western charm. Ironstone Eveready and Carol Hitz enjoyed great success winning the halter, western pleasure, versatility and the open trail horse class. This pair is a perfect fit who enjoy trail riding in the mountains out West.

If you want warm hospitality, excellent class line up and a comfortable place to show your horse, put North Star Americana on your show schedule next year, July 5 - 8. Results can be searched by clicking on SHOW RESULTS.

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