Magic made at this year’s horse show

Lisa Bridgeford shows off her Grand Champion Gelding and Grand Champion Mare at the 2017 horse show. Merlin and Ivy won beautiful halters in purple, Lisa’s favorite color.

Photo courtesy of Karen Miller

The Central Montana Fair Horse Show was again a success. Over 60 horses and riders competed both days. The horse show began on Saturday. Jan Larson was the AQHA judge this year. She did a nice job with all 55 classes. The halter classes were huge this year, with over 30 horses showing. Lisa Bridgeford won Grand Champion Gelding with her paint Merlin. Reserve honors went to Codi Uecker with her gelding Jasper. Lisa also won Grand Champion Mare with Ivy. Allie Uecker took reserve champion with My Credits Good.

“Lisa was tickled because both halters she won were purple, her favorite color,” said Penny Uecker.

Trail was held in the Pavillion again with two trail courses set up. Naomi Summers judged Arena 1 again this year and explained the various obstacles the riders must accomplish. Tracey Haugen, grounds manager, had the arena in good shape. She was there the whole weekend, making sure the arena was watered and worked.

Almost every class had at least eight competitors.

“We had a wonderful class of green horses this year,” said Paul Huff.

Huff has worked with young horses his whole life and appreciates the work that goes into training a horse.

The Riders with Disabilities portion was very well attended this year. The crowd enjoyed their drill team program, followed by the western pattern class. Taryn Thompson won the class, with Tiffany Jorgenson second. Ranch Pleasure had a lot of kids in it again this year. Jessica Horan won 18 and under and Bailey Werthheimer, who won last year’s, won 19 and up. All those hours trailing cows and chores help in that class.

Paul Wertheimer was heard telling someone, “I told my kids, they are only allowed to have one useless horse on the ranch.”

“Meaning a show horse,” Bailey interjected.

Lead line was another big class: Sammi Van der Hagen, Aaliyah Eike, Kyler Hansen, and, making his horse show debut, little Kade McNeel.

“He got to ride Jasper and didn’t want to get off,” said Russ McNeel.

Costume class was fun this year. Sammi Van der Hagen was Moana, Tike Erickson a bronc rider and Carson Patton was the bird from the Pirates of the Carribean. Sunni, Don and Michelle Hecht were at the show all day cheering all the kids on.

“Their horse program is how over half of these kids get their start. They worked tirelessly to make sure they had top-notch clinicians and a safe place for kids to learn. Don was always eager to help any kid with their horse. The Silver Spurs had a wonderful horse program for over 18 years because of the generosity of the Hecht family. The kids in their horse program have grown into responsible young adults,” said Karen Miller, event coordinator.

Ali Erickson won the Walk Trot trophy.

The division winners at the 2017 horse show were: 11-13 – Rachel Spint Champion, Allie Uecker Reserve. 14-18 – Jessica Horan Champion, Bailey Uecker Reserve. 19 and up – Codi Uecker Champion, Faith Stevenson Reserve. Green Horse – Marijah Hanson Champion, Lucas Dekker Reserve.

Codi Uecker won every Open Division class. She shared her 4-H colt to maturity project horses, Jasper and Chet, with her little sisters Allie and Bailey. It was chaos at the Uecker trailer with two horses and three girls showing.

“I don’t know how they do it,” said Laura Johnson, event volunteer. “One minute it’s Allie, then Codi, then Bailey, and somehow they keep it all straight. Kudos to John and Penny.”

Gene Meir announced both days for the show. He is always there to help in any way he can. Mindy Henderson was speed event chair this year. She did an amazing job getting ready for all the cowboys and cowgirls that enjoy themselves so much.

Sunday’s speed event day started at 9 a.m. with barrels. Gracie O’Neil and Sammi van der Hagen traded first and second all day in the lead line. The Van der Hagens brought two horses and let Gracie borrow one. Sammi’s mom, Mickey, got in some leading this year. Bodie Lund, Jasper and Virgil Tholt placed first, second, or third all day in the Pee Wee division. In Child, Sadie Johnson won every race but the Flag. The Junior division had lots of winners with Jennifer Cochran leading the way with three wins. The adult division was pretty evenly matched with many different winners. Rick Biehl won every Jack Benny ,with Ed Butcher in second.

The fair is a magical time in Central Montana and it’s fun kicking it off every year. We could not do it without our generous sponsors. A big thank you to Big Dry Saddelry, Torgersons, Fleet Supply, Custom Cuts, Central Montana Foundation and Harley and Bobbie Rouns. Thank you to the many volunteers that worked tirelessly to make both days a success. Thank you, Central Montana, for making the 2017 horse show a nice memory for so many.

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