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The Show Must Go On - Twin State Celebrates 21st Year


by Bob Funkhouser

DEERFIELD, N.H. – During a five-week span in May and early June the cozy Deerfield Fairgrounds hosted three Saddlebred/Morgan/open pleasure shows with the last being the 21st annual Twin State American Saddlebred Association Horse Show. Despite three days of heavy rain, the spirit of the exhibitors, and thus the show, was never broken. In fact,
Deerfield is one of the few outdoor facilities in the country that could have handled the amount of water that fell Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The newly resurfaced straightaway went a long way in allowing trainers to work horses as well as warm up for classes. If it hadn’t been in excellent condition, the weekend could have been extremely miserable for both trainers and exhibitors. Mercifully, the show ended on a bright note with the sun finally emerging for the final session on Sunday.

There is a great family atmosphere at Twin State that attracts everything from the backyard, do it yourself exhibitor to top performance champions. At the helm was Show Manager Helen Fenton whose smiling face has welcomed exhibitors for several years. Twin State President Robin McGahey and the show committee worked with Fenton to host another fun, grassroots type show. Judges Euchee Matthews and Diane Sheehan didn’t have a great number of gaited and walk-trot horses this year, but there were many competitive classes throughout the three days of showing.

Also part of the Twin State family, Larry Wahl again served as ringmaster and his wife, Mary, ran one of the friendliest offices in the country. Barry Caisse was also back as ringmaster, while Jo Hight officiated as steward and Rick Howe provided the farrier service that wasn’t needed nearly as much as one would think with the conditions as they were. Often seen in the show office as part of that team, Christine Balch went upstairs this year to do a fine job as announcer.

“I’m not Peter Fenton, but I gave it a try and hopefully it was okay,” exclaimed Balch.

There is lots of tradition at Twin State and over the past five or six years a new tradition has emerged. A group of barns started having a Saturday afternoon cookout and Belmont celebration. Last year it turned into an extremely successful fundraiser for Todd Mathieson. This year the invitation was again opened up to all the exhibitors and what a feast it was. With help from guest cook Dave Rogers, the group of cooks and organizers which included John and Sheri Lampropoulos, Courtney Cahill, Will Powers, Tim Lydon, Bob Funkhouser, Donald Trussell and Mike Matozzi served many pounds of ribs, steak tips, deep fried turkey, burgers and hot dogs along with all the fixins. A make shift big screen was also put up to view the Belmont and enjoy the betting pools.

Amazing as it may seem, all survived the rain to make for a great gathering over an early summer weekend. The junior exhibitors and amateurs were fearless and track conditions allowed for the show to go on, creating some memorable moments for the seasoned veteran and beginner alike.

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