Northern lights is a light phenomenon where veils of rainbows touch the skies across the pines and prairies of the Northern States. It is a spectacular sight to see! This year, Northern Lights Affiliate shone their light on the NVRHA. 2010 was a great beginning to what we hope to be a long relationship with NVRHA.
Our year started out with a surprise invitation from the Minnesota Expo to have NVRHA represent our events at the popular April venue held each year for the horse community at the State Fair Coliseum in St. Paul, Minnesota. Dave Currin and Jay Henson flew up and some key players stepped forward to be demo riders for the mock clinics presented to the crowd. We had a booth staffed by our dedicated members, a drawing for free lessons with Jay and Gena, as well as a drawing for two $100 off certificates for an event in 2010. We picked up about 50 names for our mailing list and the feedback on the presentations were exciting.
In May, we held an event at Swede Lake Ranch, in Wisconsin, with Jay and Gena Henson, clinicians/judges. It was Rick and Lyla Demulling’s first time putting on a NVRHA event and because it was right at their home, it was a warm comfortable setting with a lot of TLC from them, starting with Rick pulling out every “boy toy” imaginable to help Kim Deters’ rig get unstuck from the mud. We had 21 compete on Sunday, 15 who were Novice! David Slipka, Tom Bjorklund, and Werner Thiedemann apprenticed under Jay & Gena for the weekend in pursuit of their NVRHA certification.
Next on the docket was our event in Valley City, North Dakota, put on by Wyatt Zuan. He found out how crazy it can be competing and running the event at the same time, but boy did he pull it off! Wyatt added a nice touch to the awards by giving out halters with his personally braided leadropes. We had 23 attendees with 14 being novices! The weather was picture perfect and JJ Rydberg, Mitch Smith (popular roping clinician), Dave Currin, and Neil Henning (apprenticing for his certification) shared their vast knowledge with us for the weekend.
In July, our event was in Wessington Springs, South Dakota, hosted by Kamber, Elise, and Don Ulmer, Steve Grove, and Bill Krech, at Steve’s inviting Gun Barrel Ranch. Steve Grove and his friends, Harold and Steve, magnificent cooks and photographer, outdid themselves with their warm hospitality and fabulous cooking. This was Don’s third year working as a clinician/judge with the NVRHA group.
August’s “Pine to Prairie” event brought Jay and Gena Henson back up to Minnesota, joined by David Slipka (roping), and Tom Bjorklund (cow work). Lance Scheffel joined us to apprentice with Jay and Gena toward his judge’s certification. With four clinicians Saturday, it was packed with new tips and advice! Vicky Kettlewell and Greg Booth put this one on, a first for them, and the reviews were glowing. Strait Rail Ranch in Nevis, Minnesota, was a perfect setting for our clinic/competition so we hope to make this location a permanent venue in future years. Thanks to the organizing efforts of Jan Rooney, Jay and Gena followed up the weekend with a free YOUTH CLINIC which was attended by 16 girls (yep, no boys…). There were grins from ear to ear as they worked the cows and practiced the trail obstacles.
Windom, Minnesota, wrapped up the event year in September at the City of Windom Arena. The folks there were so accommodating, getting every detail just right for a new venue they had not experienced before. Although the number of participants didn’t reflect it, the feedback on this one topped them all thanks to Lance Scheffel, cow and reining clinician and judge, and Bonnie Minor, trail and ranch riding clinician/judge, as well as Susan Heyvaert, event manager.
The lights that shone the strongest this year were from our volunteers. Starting from scratch just a year and a half ago, our volunteers have made “the phenomonen” happen. Getting a website up and running, exhibiting at the Horse Expo, putting on five events and a free youth clinic, and planning a year end banquet takes a lot of dedication… and this group has DEDICATION! We look forward to the certifications of our LOCAL clinicians/judges; Neil Henning, Tom Bjorklund, David Slipka, Bonnie Minor, Werner Thiedemann, and Lance Scheffel. Our first annual Year End Banquet in November, will award the year end winners with Northern Lights buckles and many other top notch awards. We hope you will join us at our NVRHA events in 2011!