'Ladies' Pleasure at March to the Arch

Laughs abound during special events as the March to the Arch charity horse show raises funds for St. Louis Children's Hospital.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

Rider Brian Cox, from left, Greg Tordoff, and horse owner Mike Vargo celebrate the win in the costumed western pleasure class at March to the Arch. (Larri Jo Starkey photo) For more photos from March to the Arch, scroll to the slideshow below.

For the 10th time, men dressed as women, and for the first time, a woman dressed as a man for the annual horse show that keeps exhibitors, judges and donors laughing for charity.

In its 10th year, March to the Arch continued its march to laughter in Lake St. Louis, Missouri, with the specialty costume western pleasure class – a class won by a hunt seater.

“I thought doing the hunt seat would be different,” said Brian Cox of Mount Perry, Ohio, who performed as “Nancy Sue,” a hunt seat rider who chose to give newly married judge Larry Hansch a BIG hug.

Wink, wink.

“I’ve watched Nancy Sue (Ryan) ride for a lot of years, and I thought it would be fun to play around,” Brian said. “We called her and asked if it would be OK, and she was all for it. It was exciting.”

After an initial presentation of participants, the audience bid on them in a calcutta and then openly rooted for their favorites. Bribes were encouraged, and audience members cheered and catcalled “politics” when Brian won.

“It was fun because Larry was here judging,” Brian said. “It’s for a good cause.”

This year, the show will benefit the children's cancer research at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, and in 10 years, the show has raised about half a million dollars for different cancer causes. Silent and live auctions will also benefit the hospital this year, along with donations and table sponsorships.