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UPHA Sallie Wheeler Distinguished Service Award - Dana Sibbet

Editor's Note: The following speech was read by Cary Bartz Friday, Jan. 6, 2006 at the UPHA Convention in St. Louis, Mo.

The Sallie Wheeler Distinguished Service Award is presented to a person or people who have dedicated themselves to the betterment of the show horse industry and profession of showing horses.  Tonight's first recipient has done just that for over 20 years.

He was born in Minneapolis, MN in 1964. Three years later his parents, Don and Ramona, began sewing blankets for their show ponies.  When other exhibitors asked them to make blankets for their horses, it struck a chord and the beginning of a new venture, RaDon.

Don passed away in 1980 following heart surgery. The family business that began in the Sibbets’ basement 12 years earlier made a decision to expand.  During RaDon's growth in the '80s and '90s many changes were made to further improve both the quality and performance of their products.

Our recipient helped in the shop after school and once he turned 18 he started college and began working for the family company full-time.  Over the next 22 years his role in the family business grew along with his involvement in helping just about all aspects of the show horse industry, and specifically the UPHA.  His first trip to a UPHA convention in 1984 exposed him to many of his horse trainer heroes.  It was there that the late Tom Moore took the time to explain the mission, merits and long term goals that the UPHA would play in the show horse industry.

From then on his commitment to the UPHA was unwavering.  As Vice President and Sales Manager of RaDon, his positive attitude, charismatic personality and unified teamwork approach make his leadership a pleasure to work for and with.

RaDon, Inc. is the industry leader in the show horse world, outfitting Saddlebreds, Morgans, Arabians, Hackney, Draft Horses - you name it they dress it - across the US and internationally with custom apparel.  They are all about the “looking good” by outfitting us with quality stall drapes and accessories, as well as trunks and containers from his own company, Appointments USA. A big supporter of UPHA, RaDon has generously donated tack room curtains to our auction every year for over 20 years.

In addition to running his family's company, he enjoys snowmobiling and is retired from a successful snowmobile racing career after placing third in the WSA Snowcross World Championship Series in 2000 due to numerous injuries.  An outdoorsman, he also enjoys winter ice fishing and in 2005 won the award for the “neatest” ice fishing house. He sits on the board of directors of the Scott County Fair, the World Power Sports Association, and the Prior Lake Hockey Association.  Very family oriented, his greatest pride and joy is his seven-year-old son, Evan, who plays hockey and has also shown an interest in snowcross racing.

This recipient has shared his passion and ideas in the most direct, positive and honest manner possible.  He has applied his sensitive and expressive abilities to uplift rather than tear down.  I am proud and honored to have this opportunity to present this award to the most caring and giving person I know, Dana Sibbet.

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