Being called an entertainer had little effect on Benji. She’s been there, done that. Me? I think I’ll have my badge framed as it’s the first (and probably the only) time it’ll ever happen to me. But what a fun, fun weekend it was. Kathleen and I feel very honored to be invited into inner circle with such amazing clinicians as Ken McNabb, Craig Cameron, and Richard Winters. And television/radio personality Rick Lamb who emceed the event and his lovely wife Diana. And singer/songwriter Mary Ann Kennedy, and Cowgirl Hall of Famer Tootie Bland who founded Road the the Horse, the World Championship of Colt Starting.
On the evening before the event 6000 ticket holders are offered the opportunity to get autographs from the clinicians, Rick Lamb, and the entertainers. Did I ever feel privileged to sit in with that group. The line stretched virtually out of the arena and didn’t get any shorter for almost two hours.
Benji dropped off into dreamland almost immediately
after a rigorous afternoon of rehearsals. Totally zonked.
Chatting with clinician competitors (r to l) Richard Winters,
Ken McNabb, and Craig Cameron, and singer/songwriter Mary Ann Kennedy
Rick Lamb dropped by the booth before the doors
opened Friday Afternoon
Whenever things weren’t happening in the arena we were swarmed
Thank the good Lord for dear friends Gene Bergeron and George McPeek who flew in from New Hampshire to help us erect the booth and help man it. We couldn’t have done it without them. I don’t think I’ve ever signed my name so many times at an event before. Without George and Gene, Kathleen would’ve been on her own handling the crowds.
Opening Ceremonies: RTTH Founder Tootie Bland walks Benji to the center of the
arena to present emcee Rick Lamb with a box of Wheaties, Breakfast of Champions, because Benji
says Rick doesn’t need to compete. He’s already a champion… and because General Mills
sponsored the big Jumbotron :)
This year’s Road to the Horse was one of the hardest fought by the clinicians in the history of the event and the first one ever in which no horse was yet saddled by the end of the first day of competition. The photo below reveals one of the reasons why.
Kathleen, George, Gene and I each selected the horse from the remuda of ten that we would choose if we had to pick one and head to the round pen to compete. Mine was Horse #1 – the one in the middle!
I wasn’t around when Kathleen took this picture. Apparently neither was clinician Richard Winters because he selected #1 as his colt for the competition. Gene picked #9, which was chosen by clinician Ken McNabb. The horse we all agreed we would never pick was #10.
When the clinicians drew lots to see who would select first from the remuda, Craig Cameron drew the low number. “I might surprise some folks with my selection,” he said, “but I’m gonna choose #10. I think he might need a friend.”
Shows how much we know. Craig won Road to the Horse with #10 becoming the World Champion of Colt Starting. At the end of the first of two days in the round pens everyone felt it was pretty much a dead heat between the three clinicians, but when colt #10 came into Craig’s pen the next day there was an amazing transformation. Apparently he spent the night digesting Craig’s efforts to effect a relationship, and the next day he was a different horse, now trusting and willing, and very curious. Everybody was blown away.
The Road to the Horse prides itself on being very much a family-oriented event. Kathleen happened to spot Ken McNabb’s two sons and two of their friends watching the goings on together. Friends. And family. So cute.
Once again, thanks so much to Tootie and all involved in making it a a very special weekend for us. And congratulations to Craig for showing us that there is always another way to look at your horse.
To read more about Road to the Horse: http://www.roadtothehorse.com/