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UPHA Chapter Eight Show Continues to Grow

In its fourth year, the UPHA Chapter 8 Horse Show, held April 22-24, 2010 at the TriState Exhibition Center in Cleveland, Tenn., has grown when other shows have declined in numbers. The reason? Perhaps it’s the relaxed atmosphere or the "can do" attitude of the management, or the fact that as soon as you arrive, you know they are glad you came.

James Hale became the UPHA Chapter 8 Chairman in 2005 at the suggestion of Lisa Bible. Bible, now his chapter co-chairman, was instrumental in the creation of the Chapter 8 show. "I told James I thought he should be our chairman and that we should put on a horse show," said Bible.

Four years later, they have grown to over 200 entries in a three-day show held in the beautiful Tennessee mountains. "It’s a great facility," said Hale, "and Tri-State has been our partner in putting on these shows. We couldn’t ask for a better grounds manager or facility staff to work with."

In tough economic times, people are looking for more affordable alternatives for everything and the horse show business is no different. "One of our goals when we got started was to offer an affordable horse show, and we have tried to keep costs down. We were up 50 more stalls this year from last year," stated Hale. "On one of the busiest weekends in April, several barns attended this show instead of larger, more expensive shows for economic reasons." All those who work so hard to ensure the success of the show hope the fun, as well as the competition, will bring them back next year.

Upon arrival each stable receives a welcome gift. This year it was a collapsible cooler filled with ice cold water and soft drinks. "We try to think of little things that will make the show easier and more enjoyable for both trainers and exhibitors," Hale said. "The welcome gift is just our way of saying ‘Thanks for choosing us.’"

UPHA Chapter 8 made several changes this year; the first being the hiring of judge Steve Chadick. "When we started, in an effort to save money and to make the show more relaxed and fun, we chose a judge for each class from the trainers and experienced amateurs who were present," said Hale. That was a way to get started, but as the class sizes increased, it became more difficult to find a suitable judge for each class. "It was time to grow up and hire a real judge," he stated.

Chapter 8 also focused on the exhibitors’ party, making it more interactive and fun for families. The carnival-themed party offered electric bull rides, a giant slide and bungee run, various carnival games and all the pizza, cotton candy, popcorn and snow cones that one could eat. Various stables stepped up to sponsor the events and goodies. Kids and kids at heart had a great time. "There were as many adults enjoying the games as kids," Hale said.

The weather was beautiful until Saturday when a storm front moving in from the Southwest threatened with heavy rain and tornadoes that evening. "We were proactive and decided on Friday morning to run academy back-to-back with the Saturday evening performance," said Hale. "We took a 45-minute break between the two performances and kept right on trucking."

The timing worked out perfectly, and they got Saturday’s UPHA Pink Ribbon Performance in before the storms rolled in and the bottom dropped out. "I think people appreciated our aggressive efforts to get the show done within the time available. Everyone worked with us to make it a success," said Hale.

Chapter 8 has improved plans for next year. "We distributed a survey and are listening to the results," Hale said. "We plan to make some changes to the class schedule which will even out the line up. We hope that next year’s show is even bigger and better than this one."

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