The Show Manager Pronounces it Good

National Appaloosa ShowThis is my last post from the National Appaloosa Show. I’d like to thank the ApHC for having me out once again and hope to see you for the World Show.

Before I left I spoke to Show Manager, Keri LeForce. She’s seems to be the “lady who knows it all.” If Keri doesn’t know the answer, no one does. She says the show has been going really well and that the facility people are very responsive. To get ready for the new location she’s been on the site at least 5 times before the show. It gave her a chance to see how other shows used the facility for one thing.

I had heard a number of people mention how good the security is and she echoed that. Prior to the show she went through a security schedule with the staff here so that it’s as good as other venues. The feedback she’s been getting seems very positive. She says the theme of the comments she’s been hearing is, “We didn’t expect it to be this nice.”

One of the things that’s nice about this facility she says is that there’s so much parking that people can often park next to their barn. The site also has lots of hookups for anyone attending with a live-in trailer too.

You can listen to my interview with Keri here: Listen To MP3Interview With Keri LeForce (5 min MP3)

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Categories: Audio /National Show

Wayne Beck Conversation

Wayne BeckWhile I was wandering around the barns with Steve Taylor we came upon a relaxing Wayne Beck, Beck Farms. We sat down and had a nice conversation which I thought I’d share with you.

Wayne says he’s owned Appaloosas since 1950 and has been involved with other breeds too. He says the breed has been revolving around the quarter horse which has changed the look and performance of the breed. Wayne is for cross breeding.

I asked him what he thought about Jackson, MS and he said the judgment is still out. He says he told everyone during the last year that “If you come to Jackson with a good attitude, you’ll probably have a good experience. But if you come here mad and upset, your chances of have a good experience would be pretty short.” He’d like to see a better market for Appaloosas and more sales around the country.

You can listen to my interview with Wayne here: Listen To MP3Interview With Wayne Beck (12 min MP3)

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Youth Judging Contest

Laurie WunderlyAfter a 10 year absence, the Appaloosa Youth Judging Contest was re-kindled at the National Show. Helping make it happen is Lori Wunderllich, pictured to the left of some of the contestants.

She’s real happy with the results since there were 18 teams in the competition, 2 college/16 youth.

They judge horses in the morning then have to face a real judge in the afternoon where they provide reasons to justify their placements. Lori says the contest provides students a first opportunity to learn judging and develop some real self confidence in their abilities.

You can listen to my interview with Lori here: Listen To MP3Interview With Lori Wunderlich (2 min MP3)

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Trainer of the Year

Debby LethamThe Trainer of the Year is Debby Letham, Letham Stables. She received her award during the year end awards banquet.

Debby says she and her husband train mostly youth and non-pro horses. She’s very honored to be chosen for the award. Debby says that they stand various stallions and have four of their own. They also breed mares and train colts and just pretty much stay very busy.

She attributes their success to the fact that they work well together as husband and wife. They complement each other. Besides training they also put on clinics and donate time to 4H. They like to give back to the horse industry they love.

You can listen to my interview with Debby here: Listen To MP3Interview With Debby Letham (2 min MP3)

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Larry Baker Checking On The Mood

Larry BakerLarry Baker, ApHC Vice President, walked the barns earlier this week at the National Show to talk with people about how things are going and what they thought of Jackson, MS. He was also helping present awards on Sunday night.

Larry says that the show has been good so far and the competitors he’s spoken with seem happy. He admits that the horse business is in a slump but says that good horses are still bringing some good prices. That’s why he promotes quality which is something shows like the one going on are all about.

Larry is optimistic about the future and says the “best is yet to come.” Overall, he describes the mood of the people he’s spoken with as upbeat.

You can listen to my interview with Larry here: Listen To MP3Interview With Larry Baker (3 min MP3)

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Racing Into The Hall of Fame

Clarence CourtrightAt the ApHC Year End Banquet a number of people were inducted into the Hall of Fame. One of them was Clarence Courtright who was sitting at my table.

I had a great conversation with Clarence who is still riding. His main involvement with Appaloosas has been racing although he says he has done some jumping with a mare he owned. In fact, he won some jumping competitions in Canada with that horse.

Clarence says he started riding at a very young age and was asked to ride and race Appaloosas. He recalls the Sacramento State Fair and winning races with Appaloosas in 1964. He says he won the first Appaloosa Derby in the state of California. Over the years he’s been on a lot of horses and really like Appaloosas. He thinks they’re great horses.

Clarence likes Jackson, MS. He’s been here before and like most towns he says, it just keeps getting bigger. He spent some time at the show and says it looks like the showing side of the business is coming back but he’s not too sure about the racing side of things.

You can listen to my interview with Clarence here: Listen To MP3Interview With Clarence Courtright (5 min MP3)

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Horse Travel Network

Mark HardyIf you’re planning on traveling with a horse then you might want to check into the advice and help of some experts. The experts at Horse Travel Network. This is a new venture which was just announced at the National Appaloosa Show.

Mark Hardy is the President of Horse Travel Network. This morning he and I sat down and wound up talking far longer than I think we planned but he’s an interesting guy and this new venture sounds like it’s got some great potential. One of the things I find most interesting is how they’re totally internet based and have already got over 700 people signed up and it’s brand new! Word of mouth is working for them big time. The site will include advice, forums, blogs and of course, listings. It’s going to take advantage of some social networking applications which are really popular today.

The Horse Travel Network is a new sponsor of the Appaloosa Horse Club and offering their members a special deal right now of a free membership. All you have to do is use the code czc10 when logging in.

You can listen to my interview with Mark here: Listen To MP3Interview With Mark Hardy (8 min MP3)

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Ring Man On Stage With Callaway

Justin AinsworthDuring the Callaway concert last night, one young man had a song dedicated just to him. Callaway called him down to the stage and provided him with a very special moment.

He’s Justin Ainsworth and if you’ve been here at the show then you’ll have seen him working hard in the rings. Justin says he’s been working cattle, opening gates, setting up poles and doing just about anything asked of him. He says it’s hard work but good work and a little tiring.

He’s been around horses since he was 5 and feels like he knows what he’s doing. I asked him about Callaway and he says he’s known her for a long time but was surprised when she called him up on stage and sang a song to him. He likes to hear her sing and says that someday she’ll, “Make George Strait level.”

You can listen to my interview with the Justin here: Listen to MP3 Interview With Justin Ainsworth (2 min MP3)

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Callaway Performance

CallawayLast night Callaway performed her benefit concert for support of Appaloosa Youth Association activities. She was a big hit with the young audience.

She played a full set of songs with her band and showed why she’s an up and coming star.

The ring was opened up so that everyone could come down out of the stands and get up close and personal. It took a little coaxing but once Callaway got started most of the crowd moved on down.

You can watch Callaway perform one of her songs in this video:

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Savannah Scott Gets A Trailer Full of Awards

Savannah ScottI know Savannah Scott’s family didn’t bring an extra truck but they’ve got a Featherlite Trailer to take home and use for a year. Savannah received numerous awards. In fact, you need to listen to her list them off in our interview. Besides the trailer she’s taking home 2 saddles, 2 belt buckles and a laptop computer.

I spoke to Savannah, along with her Mom and trainer, after the youth awards yesterday. She says that this is a once in lifetime achievement and she wants to just enjoy the moment. When I asked her if she had to put in a lot of work to be so good she said, “Perfect practice makes perfect.”

She’s going to continue competing and said she may show a couple of horses still before leaving.

You can listen to my interview with the Savannah here: Listen to MP3 Interview With Savannah Scott (2 min MP3)

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Terry Thompson Says Get Together

Terry ThompsonWhile I was out in the ring earlier this afternoon I met Terry Thompson who is a trainer. He’s been in the appaloosa business since he was a teen and to date has had about 250 world and national champions. He says his specialty is fitting and training people and horses, especially masters.

Terry says he was originally against the move to Jackson but the security has been better than he expected. He says the show has been consistent and everyone has been nice and that he’s enjoyed himself. He’s interested to see how things come out financially.

From a business standpoint he says the economy has been a problem and also fuel costs. But he says the breed has survived a lot of years. He wants to see the board and members think about things, get together and not be selfish about decisions.

You can listen to my interview with the Terry here: Listen to MP3 Interview With Terry Thompson (5 min MP3)

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Training Young Pleasure Horses

Tim ZuidemaTim Zuidema is a dedicated western pleasure horse trainer. He says he’s been showing Appaloosas all his life. His main interest is young horses.

I interviewed him in the ring while he was mounted and he says that business is good. He thinks the ApHC has been doing some good things like moving the show to Jackson and starting the slot futurity. Although they didn’t sell all the slots in year one he says it helps increase the purses for pleasure horses here. Tim also commented that morale seems to be high and that he’s pleased with Jackson.

You can listen to my interview with the Tim here: Listen to MP3 Interview With Tim Zuidema (3 min MP3)

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Jim Says He’ll Come Back To Jackson

Jim JirkovskyOne of the ApHC board members here at the National Show is Jim Jirkovsky from Kearney, NE where he trains horses with his wife. He says they train all around horses. He thinks these horses can do more than one thing.

He’s enjoying Jackson and thinks the facilities are nice and the town is friendly. He says the security has been good and that he’ll come back.

I asked him what he thinks about the horse industry and he says it’s down right now but that things go in cycles and that it will come back. He says we’ll turn things around. He’d like to see the board make current members happy since they’ll be the ones to go out and get new ones.

You can listen to my interview with the Jim here: Listen to MP3 Interview With Jim Jirkovsky (3 min MP3)

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Categories: Audio /Board /National Show

Featherlite Trailer Man

Gary RaakTwin Cities Featherlite Trailers has been a supporter of the Appaloosa Horse Club for a long time and according to Gary Raak, they will continue to be. He did admit that it’s a little further than he normally drives his trailers to a show but he brought plenty to see. The company is based out of Minneapolis, MN and Gary says that with current diesel prices it cost about 60 cents/mile for each truck/trailer he brought.

He thinks the facilities here in Jackson have been good. So if you’re looking for a good trailer he’d like to see you over in the Trade Show Center. I don’t know if you can tell from the picture but this live-in trailer he’s standing in front of has a fire place (not needed here right now) and nice tv. There’s more out on the lot too.

You can listen to my interview with the Gary here: Listen to MP3 Interview With Gary Raak (4 min MP3)

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Kirk Fordice Equine Center Manager

Kirk Fordice Equine CenterOne of the main show buildings here at the Mississippi Fair Grounds is the Kirk Fordice Equine Center. Named after a former Governor of the state, the building is managed by Billy Williams.

I sat down with Billy and asked him about the facility. He says he’s been managing it for about 6 years. The facility holds 2,500 people and there are 1,000 stalls on the grounds. Besides the fair, he says most of the events held here are equine events.

You can listen to my interview with the Billy here: Listen to MP3 Interview With Billy Williams (3 min MP3)

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