Young and old cowgirls and cowboys, and everybody in-between, and everyone a horse enthusiast, made for a fun time for all.
It was the annual year end awards banquet, this time an even more special occasion than always, because this year was the golden anniversary celebration of the Eastern Kansas Horseman’s Association (EKHA).
A couple handfuls of those on the ground floor of organizing the horse show circuit group were in attendance as were several follow-up generations, who’ve continued in the horseback competition fascination of their forefathers.
Scrapbooks and newsletters revealing just a tad bit of the EKHA story were displayed before supper at Salina as horseshow friends, some for 50 years, talked and reminisced.
Then, Noalee McDonald-Augustine, EKHA president, served as master of ceremonies for the evening affair. She credited EKHA today for the forward thinking of those who were involved in the group’s formation, some who’ve continued for five decades.
Jane Wallace, who’s served in a number of leadership roles while competing in EKHA shows four decades, introduced several EKHA members and families who were instrumental in starting EKHA, and those longtime participants and leaders.
Marlene Flinn of St. George served as the first EKHA secretary and was in attendance with her daughter Wanita Vann. Both had competed in the first year of EKHA shows, when their husband-dad, Merle Flinn (deceased) served as the first EKHA president, and along with son-brother Steve competed, as well.
Mrs. Flinn, who coincidently was celebrating her 75th birthday, and was serenaded with appropriate recognition of such, spoke briefly to the group.
“EKHA was started so families who love horses could have organized weekend shows in the eastern half of the state, not have to drive a long distance, or compete against major professional showmen. Obviously, by looking at the crowd here tonight, and all of the children and families, EKHA is continuing most successfully in the same way for which it was founded,” Mrs. Flinn recognized and complimented.
Faye (Peck) Heath, an original competitor who has served in various EKHA leadership roles in the past 50 years, and has even competed in the past decade, spoke of her involvement and of her friend Rosalie (Rezac) Clymer.
“Rosie and I didn’t miss many shows in more than 40 years. We always looked forward to the weekends, visiting with our many horse friends, and especially the kids we rode with. They’ve all grown up now, have children of their own, and many have grandchildren. It’s been a great ride,” Faye acknowledged.
Marshall Heath, Faye’s husband, congenially commented: “Faye and Rosie were always a team, and if anybody needed any help with a horse they were right there making sure everybody was safe, and the show went on without a hitch.”
In recognition of EKHA’s golden anniversary, Shirley McDonald, EKHA point keeper whose husband (Ron), daughter (the president), and grandchildren are EKHA riders, made a special quilt and donated it for the fundraiser auction conducted as one of the evening’s features.
Col. Lynn Langvardt, a longtime EKHA member and participant, whose children and wife, also now ride and compete, served as auctioneer with assistance from his dad, Col. Howard Langvardt, and Col. Ron Shivers, both past EKHA presidents who were involved in the organization from its very early days.
Twelve 50th anniversary EKHA buckles sold for an average of about $125 to benefit EKHA, and one especially-designed Golden Anniversary EKHA Trophy buckle sold for $805 to Howard Langvardt.
Of course, highlight of the evening was the awards presentations handled by President McDonald-Augustine with assistance from a number of other members.
Every award is important to the recipients, so it’s difficult to claim which ones are the most significant and prestigious.
As featured earlier, the Super Horse Award went to Little Cowboy Lane ridden by Nichole, Michelle, Heather and Jayden Patry, always with guidance from their parents Josh and Marlene Patry.
Highpoint horse award for the entire 2013 EKHA show season went to Peppy ridden by Brooke and Sierra Wallace and their aunt Sara Prochaska. Peppy and Brooke also received the award for highpoint junior horse and rider unit.
Jazz and Jane Wallace, one of the longest continuing EKHA riders, collected the senior highpoint horse and rider unit award.
Mitchell County Riders was named the highpoint saddle club for the year, followed in order by Salina Silver Spurs, Sand Springs Saddle Club and Santa Fe Saddle Club.
Yearend highpoint age group honorees were Reece Langvardt, six-and-under; Michelle Patry, seven-to-nine; Nichole Patry, ten-to-13; Noalee McDonald-Augustine, 19-40; Sara Prochaska, 41-60; and Ron McDonald, 61-and-over.
The Rosie Clymer Most Improved Youth Rider awards went to Jayden Patry and Morgan Poole, while the Rosie Clymer Youth Sportsmanship accolades were presented to Weston Langvardt and Ellie Wiles.
Officials were elected during the EKHA annual meeting prior to the banquet. EKHA officers for the coming year include Noalee McDonald-Augustine, president; Marlene Patry, vice president; Heidi Lange, secretary; and Susan Melhus, treasurer.