The Show Goes On

Despite evacuations of key staff, California's Wine & Roses Show continues.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

Rachel Fingerle of Elk Grove, CA showing Dillon Starlight, a 2009 gelding, at the Wine & Roses AQHA and Versatility Ranch Horse Show.The show went on despite many of the exhibitors and staff having to be evacuated because of fires in California. (Stacy Judd Photography)

Rachel Fingerle of Elk Grove, California, shows Dillon Starlight, a 2009 gelding, at the Wine & Roses AQHA and Versatility Ranch Horse Show. The show went on despite many of the exhibitors and staff having to be evacuated because of fires in California. (Stacy Judd Photography)

They say horse people are tough. Nothing illustrated that better than the week of October 9, when it seemed half of California had caught on fire.

Rumor had it the Quarter Horse Exhibitors Association of California’s Wine & Roses AQHA and Versatility Ranch Horse Show would be cancelled.

The show, which took place October 12-15, continued even though the show’s manager, Chris Spencer of Fairfield, California, was unable to attend. Chris’ dad, one of the show’s announcers, had to be evacuated as well.

Vernon Lawrence of Red Bluff, California, was recruited to serve as show manager. Other interim staff members were brought in, too, stepping up to serve in the time of need.

Exhibitor Robin Wyant of Marysville, California, brought her horses to the Rolling Hills Equestrian Center, the show’s venue, in the wee hours of Sunday morning.

“All I had were the clothes I left with,” said Robin, who competes in pleasure events on Craklin Impulse. “Just my show clothes.”

Facility manager Terry Skevington opened the equestrian center’s doors to anyone who needed a temporary home.

“Without Terry and his son Scott’s help and guidance and support, I would have been a wreck as my husband stayed behind,” said Wyant. “I had been planning to show at the Wine and Roses show that week in Corning, but it was really tough being up there knowing my husband stayed behind.”

A local business, McCoy’s Ace Hardware and Farm Supply, came to Robin’s aid, providing her with much-needed clothing because, as Robin put it, “My sparkles would not have worked in town.”

The fires subsided, and Robin ended up winning several classes, but the atmosphere of extending a helping hand continued throughout the show.

“Every time we show at Rolling Hills, the facility has grown or improved in some manor and the show staff ensure we are happy at all times,” said Amanda Wooten who won the amateur all-around on Lopin In My Dreams. “Winning the amateur all around was a surprise. This was the first show for (us), so to come out and have such a successful show made me very appreciative and excitedly happy.”

The northern part of the state has a large population of cutting, ranch horse and reining exhibitors, and they always support any and all local shows. Wine & Roses was no exception.

“Had a good show at QHEAC,” Manny Martinez of Hollister, California, posted on Facebook. Manny competes in amateur cutting on Cats Lil Moon Gees. The gelding was the AQHA high-point junior cutting horse for 2016 and hopes to repeat the title in 2017.

“Great facility and the stalls are good,” Manny added. “If you haven’t shown there before, you need to go and show and take it all in. The people who put on the show are very friendly and courteous and it all starts with the show secretary, Sue Kvern and all of her show staff.”

The show is known as a good venue to try something new. That was the case for Versatility Ranch Horse exhibitor Karol Read of Chico, California.

“I am new to this division,” Karol said. “I was happy to have my first rated show so close to home.”

Wine & Roses is known for its hospitality, too. Friday night included a wine and cheese social as well as an annual silent auction that benefits QHEAC.

“I feel we are very fortunate to have this facility and the opportunities it can offer all horsemen in the north state,” Karol said.

On Saturday, exhibitors enjoyed a special treat when country music star Michael Martin Murphey greeted show staff and exhibitors at a potluck dinner. Murphey had been in town for a concert at the Rolling Hills Casino.

“Starstruck,” said AQHA scribe Irene Davis after meeting the singer. “Always great judges and staff. Just fun.”