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Team Effort is the Key at Oshkosh Charity

by Leeann Mione

OSHKOSH, Wisc. – Once again this year it was a big team effort at Oshkosh and their effort paid off with a very successful show, June 29-July 2, 2006. Approximately 350 horses made the trip to Oshkosh with their owners, exhibitors and trainers in tow and with a full slate of classes scheduled, put on a good show all weekend for the assembled crowd.

The Winnebago Saddle Horse Association, led by President Lance Hayes, Vice President Julie Spanbauer, Club Secretary Sarah Lucht and Treasurer Katie Boycks teamed with the horse show committee and horse show staff to make everyone feel welcome.

One of the keys to last year’s success was the use of a three-judge panel which resulted in a huge increase in numbers. This year John Champagne, Jim Cherry and Lee Adams-Hudson were named to judge the Saddlebreds, Hackneys, roadsters, Friesians and equitation classes. They had their work cut out for them with some of the country’s best stock in front of them in class after class.

Chris Boycks and Lance Hayes again took on the duties of show coordinators. With their direction things went smoothly both in and out of the ring.

Show secretary Lisa Nolte and assistant Vicky Holston kept things running smoothly in the office. Holston also served as ring secretary. George Robertson and Julie Spanbauer shared ringmaster duties and Doug Irvine announced the classes from center ring. Peter Remender was the barn announcer. Bill Salvadori, as organist, set everything to music and Rick Osteen captured the action as official photographer. Traces CT, Ltd. was the official videographer of the show and with big classes, especially in the pleasure divisions, had to be on their toes to capture the action.

Jeff Couch was the show’s farrier and Sandy Balcher was in charge of feed and straw. Roxanne Klaver was the trophy and ribbon coordinator and again this year, beautiful trophies by Douwe Blumberg were presented.

Great Lakes Veterinary Clinic served as official show veterinarians and the city of Oshkosh Fire Rescue Department served as medics. The show’s beneficiary, Fox Valley Technical College Fire Protection Color Guard, also took care of the gate duties and presented the flag each evening.

Mike Bletsoe was in charge of setting up center ring and with Julie Spanbauer was again in charge of hospitality. The hospitality is one of the reasons people keep coming back to Oshkosh each year. The committee works hard to provide a first rate exhibitor’s party, provides coffee and donuts each morning and a cookout Saturday afternoon. Sandy Balcher also sponsored an ice cream social.

Oshkosh Charity has a unique ambiance that is unusual at many horse shows this time of year, as Lexington Junior League approaches and the World’s Championship Horse Show is right around the corner.

Perhaps that is due to the big number of pleasure horses that make the trip. The show boasts its biggest numbers in those classes with adult and junior exhibitor classes having to be split to accommodate the numbers even in the Sunnyview Expo Center’s big ring. Perhaps it is due to the warm welcome from the show committee who go out of their way to make sure owners, exhibitors and trainers alike are well taken care of all weekend.

The focus wasn’t entirely on the pleasure division however, as a large number of classes in other divisions boasted big numbers and great competition. The Open Five-Gaited, Three-Gaited and Fine Harness Stakes proved to be competitive and entertaining for the crowd on hand.

The Open Three-Gaited Stake was the first of the three open stakes Saturday evening and a field of three came through the gate to perform for the panel and the crowd. Junior/novice winner Lilly Pulitzer was successful making it two for two with Julio Rodriquez up for Barbara Friedman in both classes. Callaway’s Mandate and Tom Bombolis exited with the reserve streamers for Glenmore Farm.

Harlem’s C My Radiance and Peter Archer captured the Fine Harness Championship for Dr. Mary Jensen amongst a group of three. The Soprano and Ed Murray took the reserve grand championship for Casey McKibbage.

Rick Wallen and Saint Bart also had a pair of contenders to compete against for the title of Five-Gaited Grand Champion. They proved to be victorious according to the panel and rode out with the tricolor and trophy for Janene Becker. Highpoint’s Mahogany Prince and Kenny Smith were reserve for Abby Reising.

Oshkosh Charity has found a formula that works, but in an effort to please those who spend their hard earned dollars to come to the show, show management is always making adjustments and taking suggestions. One of the changes made this year was to convert to a non-rated show. No doubt it will be the exhibitors who respond to the call for feedback as to whether or not that becomes a permanent fixture.

Oshkosh Charity Horse Show is truly a pleasure and continues to be a major stop for the Midwest show circuit for its competitive classes, great hospitality and warm and welcoming staff.

Complete results can be found by clicking on SHOW RESULTS.

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