A good day to horse around
By ELIZABETH GOLDEN
WALKER-- Musical chairs, rescue racing and water races were among the competitions at this year's two-day Kansas Western Horseman's Association horse show at the Rocking S Saddle Club.
Approximately 40 riders participated in speed, pleasure and show events. Ages ranged from 3 years old to seniors.
"It started with a bunch of us old people sitting around and talking about the events we did in state show when we were kids," said Linda Sanders, Scott City. "They don't have those events anymore."
Sanders participated in musical chairs, where contestants ride their horses around the ring while the music plays. When the music stops, they have to drag their horse to a barrel in the center and sit down.
"We only do these events at this show," Sanders said, "since they don't have these events at state show anymore."
The competitions must be in the KWHA rule book, which grows annually.
"We go to nations and other states do events we don't do," she said. "Everybody slowly gets the events in their rule book."
Stan Schremmer, owner of the arena, participated in the men's division of musical chairs.
"My family got involved about six years ago," he said, as his wife and all five grandchildren are active participants. "This arena started out as a little practice arena, and I just felt there was a need for something like this in Ellis/Russell county."
His granddaughter, Olivia, now 12, has been involved in riding since she was 2 years old.
"My wife is from Kansas City," said Ryan Schremmer, Olivia's father. "We moved out here because my daughter got so involved in horses. We wanted to be close to where everything is."
Ryan Schremmer, who built the arena, remembers when his father only owned one horse and a stock trailer.
"She (Olivia) used to ride it," Ryan Schremmer said. "My dad grew up with a guy who has an arena and she started competing through that."
The family now owns two large trailers and several horses.
"Now we have all this," he said.
"This is definitely my dad's passion," Schremmer said.
All proceeds raised from the entry fee, auction and concessions are donated to the KWHA scholarship fund.
"With this, no one makes any money," Stan Schremmer said. "Everything goes to the scholarship."
Each year, one high school student and one college student win $500.
"The judges watch all year long to see how (the contestant) is doing, and if they're helping with the events," he said.
The scholarship winner must be a member of KWHA and an active participant.
"Usually two kids apply each year," said Sanders, who is the organizer of the scholarship show. "They have to apply for the organization and work the shows. It's getting smaller and smaller since there are so many other activities for kids with sports year round. They do that instead of riding, but it's good because we know everyone who participates."
Participants hail from anywhere west of Wichita. Hutchinson, Smith Center, WaKeeney and Alton were among the representatives.
"We go all over the state weekend to weekend racing at the events," Stan Schremmer said.