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UPHA Tom Moore Hall Of Fame

UPHA Tom Moore Hall Of Fame – Ross Drake


Ross Drake was joined by Jim Taylor and Kim Langdon

when he was inducted into the Tom Moore Hall of Fame.

(photo by Jane Jacobs)

(Editor’s Note: The following speech was read by Mike McIntosh on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2007 at the UPHA/AHHS Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio.)

I have been given the honor of introducing our next inductee into the UPHA Tom Moore Hall of Fame.

Born Dec. 30, 1913, he was raised on a farm in Shelby County, Ind. Growing up, he realized that farming wasn’t for him. It was a much too unreliable way of earning a living.

He attended his first horse show in 1935 at the Indiana State Fair. After watching horsemen such as Bill Hill and Marty Mueller show fancy, high-stepping Saddle Horses, he discovered his life’s calling. After all, this looked like a lot more fun than farming and surely it was less of a gamble.

He went to work for Coach Billy Thom in Bloomington, Ind. While there, he and Coach Thom made many trips to L.S. Dickey’s where he gained valuable knowledge. His next stop was Howard Dickey’s in Detroit, Mich. Along with his other duties, he helped with Mrs. Dickey’s lesson program.

In 1941, he married Candace Ledger-Wood and left the horse business for a time. The world was at war and times were hard. He sold electricity for the Rural Electric Association to farmers in Michigan, then went to work in a munitions plant. After a short stint with the merchant marines, the war ended and the horse business drew him back.

In 1946, he accepted the training position at Plainview Farm and he and his wife moved to Kentucky. From there he went to work for Art Simmons where he was associated with such horses as Ann Rutledge, The Replica, Meadow Princess and Princess Ann. It was while there that his picture appeared in the Jan. 23, 1950 issue of “Life” magazine driving a pair of Saddlebreds.

In 1951, he took a job in Milwaukee, Wis., then started his own business the following year. In 1954, he moved his operation to Racine, Wis., where he had such horses as Moonshine Sweetie Pie, Wild Cherry and the top harness mare Pinecroft’s Genius Maid.

In 1957, he and his wife, Candace, purchased Oakwood Farm in Hartland, Wis. Not only did they manage a training and show barn with such stars as Regal Gold, Courageous Sable Sue Jean and Victory Serenade, but it was here that they developed their legendary horsemanship school. This program was so successful that upon the sale of their farm and business, there were over 250 students enrolled.

After the sale of Oakwood Farm in 1976, he and his wife returned to Indiana where he still resides. But he was not ready to completely retire yet. After all, he had raised a colt that needed training, a future gaited champion named Oakwood’s Courageous Commander.

He also became associated with the Brandts, whose daughter he instructed to the National Youth Finals Championship Award at the Morgan Grand National.

On Sept. 15, 1990, the Wisconsin Futurity Horse Show honored Candace and him as a living example of how individuals can touch the lives of so many people, in so many different ways, all with a lasting impact. They named it Ross Drake Stables Day. Over 200 former students and family members attended.

In September 2005, he was inducted into the Indiana Horseman’s Hall of Fame at the All American Horse Classic.

This past show season, I have had the privilege of having him accompany me. It has been truly amazing the number of people that have approached him at each and every show to introduce themselves as someone who rode with him, or whose parents or grandparents rode with him. Some of these include Judy McNeish, Mike Schallock, Tim Stark, Terry Ann Ullman, Jackie Behling-Sweeny and the list goes on and on. Not only did he teach his students to ride, he instilled a lifelong passion for our horses and our sport.

He is a charter member of the UPHA, a seven-times chapter chairman and a past board member of the Wisconsin Futurity.

It is with great pleasure that I present tonight’s honoree, Mr. Ross Drake.



UPHA Tom Moore Hall Of Fame - Dick and Jeanette Durant


Jim Taylor joined new UPHA Tom Moore Hall Of Fame inductees

Richard and Jeanette Durant. Barbara Friedman presented the award.

(photo by Jane Jacobs)

(Editor’s Note: The following speech was read by Barbara Friedman on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2007 at the UPHA/AHHS Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio.)

It doesn’t take a lifetime necessarily to amass a list of champion horses, which the Durants have been able to do. It doesn’t take a lifetime to win the Luraline Roth Award, the Audrey Guthridge Award, the UPHA Chapter 10 Horsemen of the Year Award three times or the World’s Champion Hall of Fame Award. It doesn’t even necessarily take a lifetime to win world grand championship titles.


So to measure Dick and Jeanette’s lifetime achievement, maybe we should turn to the qualities that are far more reaching and enduring. The Durants represent through the years the qualities of devotion, integrity and the rare ability to always judge the whole of a person in the best favorable light. Their qualities have helped them, and all of us who have been apart of their lives, enjoy this industry to its fullest potential. Their passion has become our passion.

There are very few constants in our industry. The faces change, blue ribbons fade to purple and great horses become mere folklore of our industry. The Durants have achieved this Tom Moore Hall of Fame Award because they represent the idea.

But there’s something else that makes them different and I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Like all of us here, they love their horses and their dogs and cats but that’s not it.

They love people and they love people who love horses. They keep their customers forever. The Wirtzes, the Antaleks and Jane Mueller have been with them for 50 years. We’ve been there for 377, and Cairns, the Schultzes, the Teaches and the Oselkas have been there for 25 years. And if someone does leave them, there are no hard feelings or rancor and those folk always know they are welcome to come back and many of them do.

The door is always open. Jeanette and Dick are family people-their greatest pride is their two daughters, Lynn and Margaret and their two grandchildren, Julia and Olivia.

Both Lynn and Margaret went on to college and Lynn became a dental technician but then couldn’t stand it and returned to her true love, horses. And as you know, she and Junior Ray are the trainers at Bell View Acres. Margie studied here in the States and in Italy-became and art teacher at the Art Institute in Chicago and has taught for 17 years in the inner city schools in Chicago where her creative ideas were featured in the Chicago Tribune and Family Circle Magazine.

Jeanette never really had any formal riding lessons. She just fell into it. Her father died when she was three. Her mother went to work to support her five children and Jeanette, the youngest, started riding the neighbor’s horses. When she didn’t come home from school on time, they always knew exactly where to find her. She eventually went to work for Kay and Everett Ledbetter outside of Chicago where she trained for many years and then moved on to train for the Mocny family. It was while she was training for the Moncys that she happened to meet Dick.

Dick was born and raised in Michigan. His first job was at the age of 11, working on a neighbor’s dairy farm for 10 cents an hour. He milked an awful lot of cows to earn a dollar. Then somewhere along the way he met and worked for Chester Caldwell, Charlie Houston and Mark Dickey and that’s when he and Tom Moore became colleagues working side by side and that’s when he became a devout Illinois resident.

While at Delaine Farm, Dick had a customer by the name of Mrs. McCoy who had a couple of lovely show horses that she wanted to have trained up north with Dick and would then send them “down south” to be shown by Jeanette. You realize of course that this “up north” and “down south” were towns surrounding Chicago.

When they were married in 1962, they fittingly enough asked Tom and Donna Moore to be their attendants. Even after marriage they remained training separately where they were for a while. Dick was up north in Morton Grove, Ill., for Delaine Farm and Jeanette was down south in Lemont, Ill., for the Mocnys.

Dick has judged every important show in the United States and Canada except, he reminds me, for the Toronto Winter Fair. An example of his judging:

I remember several years ago, when he was judging a show in Vermont. He had an open class full of trainers and one young girl. When the class was over, the young girl won the blue ribbon and deserved to. When her mother came over to thank him and tell him how shocked she was that he would tie her daughter over all the professionals, Dick replied, “I did not come all the way to Vermont to tie people.”

Dick stopped judging several years ago but about a year ago, one of the shows in Ohio convinced him to do it one more time. He said he enjoyed himself greatly, saw some wonderful horses and when it was all over, they gave him a standing ovation. What does that tell you?

In 1966, they built their own barn in Lockport, Ill., combined forces and with the masterful help of their old friend and trainer, Junior Ray, plunged into the very competitive Illinois show scene.

As Brendan Heintz put it, “They resisted the urge to go to Kentucky.” They were part of that grand Illinois training crowd from the 50s through the 80s who made such an impact on the Saddlebred industry, most of whom were the founders or early members of the UPHA. That group included: Tom and Donna Moore, Chat Nichols, Ben Segalla, Bob Irwin, Bonnie Byrne, Rex, Shirley and Max Parkinson, Kim and Fran Crumpler, Dick Obenauf, Clarence (Possum) Johnson, Dawn Atlas, Bonnie Kittredge, Carolyn Folkers, Charlie Houston, Jim Harrell, David Kerger, Wanda Menton, Chris Reardon, Jim Kohler, Bob Vessel, Tim Fredericks, John Nix and Matt Carfi.

Their spirit and energy is endless. They are quiet, modest, almost humble but their impact on their profession has been immeasurable. Jeanette was the first woman to show a road horse and the first woman to show a five-gaited stallion.

Just last week, as Jeanette was working a fine harness horse, Dick pointed to her and said, “That’s the best under paid trainer in the country.” The admiration between them is evident and contagious.

As I look back over the years with Jeanette and Dick, I can think of some of their most memorable phrases-

  1. Know when to quit when you’re ahead. Don’t be greedy.
  2. Each horse has only so many horse shows in him, so pick your shows and classes wisely.
  3. When you’re judging, judge only what you see, not what you wish you saw. Then no one can complain.
  4. Treat your horse with respect. Listen to what he’s telling you.
  5. Feel it with the seat of your pants.
  6. Louisville is not the end of the world.
  7. Don’t burn your bridges.
  8. Don’t go trail riding on vacation and tell them you’re a fabulous rider.
  9. Don’t ever trust a horse named Killer.

To sum up Dick and Jeanette- suffice to say they’ve done it their way and with verve and class. An old Irish saying says it best: "Life’s journey is not to arrive safely at the grave in a well-preserved body, but rather to slide in sideways, all worn outs, shouting ‘Holy s__t what a ride.’ "

UPHA Tom Moore Hall Of Fame Induction - Randy Tabor

Elliot, Will Henry and Paige Tabor joined Jimmy Robertson

after Randy Tabor was posthumously inducted into the UPHA Tom Moore Hall Of Fame.

(Photo by Jane Jacobs)

(Editor’s Note: After a comprehensive video presentation that included many of the famous 3-T Farms horses along with family and friends who shared their fondest memories of Tabor, the following speech was read by Jimmy Robertson on Friday, Jan. 5, 2007 at the UPHA/AHHS Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio.)

A character with character.  "Ride ‘em with their ears up."  If that ain't a six word clinic.  The young lady who shared that with us is Hillarey Whitaker, longtime employee, longtime friend, longtime student of Randy and a wonderful horsewoman. 

I'm sure you all know the other five gentlemen, (I use that term loosely on a couple of them), great horsemen all; icons in our sport all.  Daddy Bill, a UPHA Hall of Famer.  The last two UPHA Horsemen of the year, and I'm sure some future Hall of Famers.  I've also got a quote from Elizabeth Deknatel, longtime friend of Randy.  (She wouldn't let me say old friend).

"For a lot of years Randy and I shared a favorite movie, The Shawshank Redemption."  I got to thinking about why we both liked it so much.  One, it was about right over wrong, good over evil and two, it was also about the enduring close friendship of two very different kinds of people.  Randy knew there were no obstacles to the truth, no obstacles to friendship.  That is why all of us love and miss him."  Thank you, Elizabeth. She's an old friend of mine too.

Members of the UPHA Tom Moore Hall of Fame "must possess the respect of their peers through the professional conduct they have maintained throughout their careers. Must have willingly given of themselves in efforts to help their fellow professionals."  Randy had a damn good time doing it. 

A character with character. A character all right, but with an ability to turn a laugh “at” situation into a laugh “with” situation. I remember a couple of years ago at Louisville, I was leaving the ring after a strip class. Thinking I was 25 years younger and 50 pounds lighter. . . all right 75 pounds lighter.  I thought I could vault over the fence but after a very feeble effort I used the gate.  It was a big class and I was glad no one probably saw this sequence. The next day I saw Randy and the first thing he said, "Jimmy, I seen ya.  I seen ya trying to scale that fence."  Then he took three steps gaining 25 pounds a step and mimicking me trying to jump the darn fence, and it was me.  Then came that infectious laugh we heard a couple of minutes ago, but laughing with me, not at me.  A character with character.

Sow an act, reap a habit. Sow the right habits, reap character. Sow character, reap destiny. Randy's destiny is in our UPHA Tom Moore Hall of Fame. Randy's legacy is in most of our barns. Randy's legacy is in most of our fields. Randy's legacy is at all the tables here tonight; especially that one over there.

Before I ask Paige and her and Randy's children, Elliot and Will Henry- their legacy, to come up I'd like to read a short poem that hangs on the wall of Randy's parents, Glyndle and Nadine.

Help me believe
    In what I am
    and all that I am
Show me the stairway
    I have to climb
Lord for my sake
    teach me to take
    One day at a time

Paige, could you, Elliot and Will Henry, please come forward and accept the UPHA Tom Moore Hall of Fame Award for Randy Tabor? 


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