EQUESTRIAN KYLE ELLIS’ long-standing dream came to fruition when the Star Spangled Performance Horse Show took place at the Clallam County Fairgrounds in early July.
The show organizer for at least six years had asked other local organizations to host a Washington State Horsemen-approved B-system show with a Fourth of July theme, but they all declined.
“So I decided to host it myself,” Ellis said.
According to WSH rules, only approved clubs can host shows, so he formed his own club, simply called Star Bangled.
WSH rules also state a club must have at least six members.
Kyle and his folks, Tom and Sheri Ellis, are the first three, and three supportive friends make a legal club.
“I started planning and secured the show way back in January,” Kyle said.
“I soon discovered the show needed about $3,000 for awards and prizes, which meant I’d need a lot of sponsors.”
He went right to work. By show time, he had raised the money and gained more than 15 sponsors.
“I like to say he dreamt it, built it, and the people came,” Sheri said with smile.
In the beginning, she said, Kyle received a bit of hullabaloo and naysayers, but by the show’s conclusion, people were coming up to Kyle and congratulating him on a job well-done.
The show’s 53 competitors had 66 horses that filled two barns at the fairgrounds. While the majority were local, several came from across the state, including from Eastern Washington.
According to Kyle, it was “the biggest WSH-approved horse show this year.”
They also had more volunteers helping out than jobs, a sign of how much people enjoyed the show and the Ellis family.
“Kyle’s spent years traveling to WSH shows across the state where he’s built friendships, and folks on the show circuit came to like and respect him,” said Sheri.
“So when Kyle put together the Star Spangled show, they brought their horses here to show in support of him.”
Kyle, who’s competing this year on Eye B Stylin, aka Vegas, said probably the most memorable and fun time was during the Saturday night pizza feed, when Westside Pizza donated about 30 “amazing” pies.
“It was a lot of work but well worth it,” said Sheri. “People kept telling us how much they enjoyed the show and asking if we were going to host another one next year. The answer is yes.”
“Everyone was so pleased to see and stay at such clean grounds,” Kyle said. “Most of the grounds we stay and show at are dirty, but Clallam County keeps it nice and clean.”
Here’s the Sequim High School Equestrian Team’s state finals results.
All finished in the top 10 when the team traveled in May, with temperatures soaring into the high 80s, to Moses Lake, where coach Terri Winters said more than 400 competed.
The state team consisted of team captain senior Lena Sharpe and seniors Christina Overby-Morgison, Justine Roads, Tylar Decker, Brianna Albright, Kyla Gabriel and Emily Millar. Younger members were Anne Meek, Matisen Anders and Kelly Anders.
■ Canadian flags: Fifth out of 23 teams, with Lena, Tylar, Brianna, Anne and alternate Emily.
■ In-hand obstacle relay: The team was seventh out of 22 teams, with Lena, Justine, Christina, Kyla and alternate Matisen.
■ Working fours: The drill team placed seventh out of 18 teams for a fantastic showing, which included Lena, Brianna, Tylar and Kelly, and alternate Anne.
■ Individual flags: Tylar, fourth.
■ Steer daubing: Anne, sixth.
■ Pole bending: Brianna, seventh.
■ Figure eight: Tylar, 11th; Anne, 13th.
■ In-hand trail: Kelly, 11th.
■ Trail: Christina, 14th.
I’m sorry to hear that coach Winters is retiring after more than eight years because I think she did an outstanding job.
Terri said she wants to have more time competing in her own horse shows.
Over the years, I’ve witnessed Terri spend countless hours helping the team better itself, along with encouraging each individual member to be his or her best. At shows, Terri’s often the first to arrive and the last to leave.
She’s also been quite diligent in providing me with team news and results so that if a member chooses to go to college, he or she has a newspaper clipping of accomplishments to add to his or her portfolio.
Plus, sometimes the news is just plain fun to share with friends and relatives.
In short, I’m in awe of Terri’s dedication and selflessness — and other volunteer coaches like her — in helping countless youths that aren’t her flesh and blood.
Next year, Katie Salmon-Newton will take the reins in coaching the Sequim team. She’s another who’s given much of her time coaching and helping young equestrians, most notably for Peninsula Junior Rodeo.
■ 1 p.m. Sunday — Freedom Farm’s Mary Gallagher is giving a horsemanship workshop at Elisa Halcomb’s farm on Loftus Road in Port Townsend. Her training methods focus on building a strong physical, emotional and mental balance between rider and horse.
Horses and handlers of all levels and disciplines are welcome to attend the two-hour session. $25 per person. Auditors are welcome.
Email Michelle Grimmer at firstname.lastname@example.org or Halcomb at email@example.com.
■ Friday-Sunday, Aug. 9-11 — Jeffco Fair 4-H & Pony Club horse show.
■ Thursday-Sunday, Aug. 15-18 — Clallam County Fair 4-H horse show
■ Saturday-Sunday, Aug. 24-25 — Peninsula Junior Rodeo and Sandy Bailey Memorial Fundraiser at the Clallam County Fairgrounds. Phone Tina VanAusdle at 360-460-0791
■ Aug. 24-25 — Joe Wolters horsemanship and cow working clinic at Freedom Farm, 493 Spring Farm Road in Agnew. Sign up for events with Gallagher at 360-457-4897.
Karen Griffiths’ column, Peninsula Horseplay, appears every other Wednesday.
If you have a horse event, clinic or seminar you would like listed, please email Griffiths at firstname.lastname@example.org at least two weeks in advance. You can also write Griffiths at PDN, P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362.