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Rock Creek Riding Club Hall of Fame

As read by Peter Fenton

Tonight we celebrate the history of the Rock Creek Riding Club by inducting 6 individuals into the inaugural Rock Creek Hall of Fame. The Club, which was organized on April 21, 1929, has been home to and played host to many individuals who have had an important impact on Saddlebred history. The Rock Creek Riding Club would like to borrow a quote from long time club member Virginia Dulworth that says, "thank you all, who in our past, have brought us so honorably to the present."

C.J. Cronan Jr.
He was a founding member of the Rock Creek Riding Club in 1929. C.J. Cronan Jr. better known as June was Mr. Saddlebred. His devotion to Saddlebreds and many years’ dedication as Executive Secretary of the American Saddle Horse Association enabled the breed and organization to progress to its present stature. He is credited with forming the first Saddlebred futurity program in 1927, which is the foundation for more than 50 futurity programs across the country. Also, he was instrumental in the formation of the American Youth Horse Council in 1968. In addition to numerous award and honors, the ASHA named their prestigious Sportsmanship award in his honor. The Rock Creek Riding Club and Horse Show are proud to induct C.J. Cronan Jr. into the inaugural Hall of Fame.

Helen & Charles Crabtree
They were legends in their own time. Helen & Charlie Crabtree were the managers/trainers at Rock Creek from 1954 to 1957. They helped put the Rock Creek Riding Club on the map. This Hall of Fame husband and wife team were formidable competitors and would ultimately earn 75 World's Championship titles and instruct 22 National Saddle Seat Equitation Champions during their careers.

Helen was the foremost authority on saddle seat equitation and literally wrote the book on the subject. She developed the Crabtree Saddle, the first saddle designed specifically for equitation. She was the first woman to be named Horseperson of the Year in 1964. In addition, the UPHA renamed their Instructor of the Year Award in her honor.

Charlie was known as "Mr. Fine Harness" because of his unbelievable skills in the buggy, though he was equally superb in the saddle. He was instrumental in turning Crabtree Farms into one of the most influential breeding operations in saddle horse history and was rewarded just last year with induction into the Breeder's Hall of Fame.

The Rock Creek Riding Club and Horse Show are honored to induct Helen and Charles Crabtree into the Hall of Fame.

Jim B. Robertson
Our next recipient, Jim B. Robertson was manager/trainer of the Rock Creek Riding Club from 1959 to 1965. While at Rock Creek he imparted his own knowledge of saddle seat equitation to numerous riders, a tradition that he would carry on by instructing five riders to National saddle seat equitation titles. Jim B. was also an accomplished showman with four Fine Harness World’s Grand Championships and a Three Gaited World’s Grand Championship. His numerous awards include UPHA Horseman of the Year in 1989 and 1992, induction into the UPHA Hall of Fame in 1990 and the World’s Championship Horse Show Hall of Fame in 1992. Jim B’s influences are still strong today through those who apprenticed under him. The Rock Creek Riding Club and Horse Show are proud to induct Jim B. Robertson into the Hall of Fame.

Harold Morgeson
He is known as Mr. Rock Creek. Harold Morgeson has done more for the Rock Creek Riding Club and Horse Show than anyone in the Club’s history. Not only was he the longest serving President in Club history, he was the long time horse show chairman, who along with legendary horse show manager Herman Miles, elevated the status of the Rock Creek Horse Show, which earned the show numerous horse show of the year awards. Harold was also instrumental in helping the Club rebuild and survive after a devastating fire in 1996. He might be best known as the best-dressed tractor driver in America…who can forget his signature straw hat and suit. Harold Morgeson is a treasure and the Rock Creek Riding Club is proud and honored to induct him into the inaugural Hall of Fame.

Dorothy & John Lenore
Home is California, however their hearts are right here in the Bluegrass. The Lenores have been long time exhibitors and sponsors of the Rock Creek Horse Show, really for more than 30 years, stemming from the time when their youngest son, Jamie, was a champion equitation rider and later a top amateur exhibitor. The Lenores have continued to give unqualified support to Rock Creek. After the devastating fire in 1996, they were among the first to step up to help rebuild the club. The Rock Creek Riding Club and Horse Show are proud to claim John and Dottie Lenore as lifetime members and inaugural members to the Hall of Fame.

Sarah & Rob Byers
They have a special connection to Rock Creek that is truly unique. Rob and Sarah Byers met at Rock Creek while working for Frank and Nancy McConnell in the late 70’s. They started their hugely successful Premier Stables at Rock Creek in 1980 and married a year later. They had their first World’s Champion performance horse and World’s Grand Champion equitation rider while at Rock Creek.

Rock Creek was the beginning of over 100 World’s Champions trained by Rob and Sarah including CH Face Card, 12 times World’s Champion CH My Front Page Lady, Saddlebred Triple Crown Champion CH Boucheron as well as numerous performance and equitation champions. Among their many awards, Rob and Sarah were winners of the 2003 ASHA Sportsmanship awards and this year’s UPHA Horsepersons of the Year. The Rock Creek Riding Club and Horse Show are honored to induct Rob and Sarah Byers into the Hall of Fame.

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