by Jennifer Condren

OZARK, Mo. - The 2007 show year has concluded, the points have been tabulated and the first high-point banquet in Missouri was held on Saturday, Feb. 9 for the Southwest Missouri Horse Show Association. Approximately 60 people were in attendance for the annual meeting, election of officers and banquet held at the Riverside Inn in Ozark, Mo. SWMHA is a multi-breed organization consisting of walking horses, Missouri Foxtrotters, Saddlebreds and Arabians. Points are tabulated for affiliated shows within 150 miles of Springfield. An array of awards was presented in 49 divisions across the different breeds.

President Brad Huffman began the annual banquet with a business meeting and election of officers for the 2008 show season. Brian Nichols will serve as the 2008 president and Pat Denney will replace Out-Going Secretary-Treasurer Sarah Mitch for the coming year. Rick Morrison will serve as president-elect for 2009. The 2008 horse show was the main topic of discussion and Sarah Mitch volunteered to serve as the show chairman for the June-planned event.

Each year members donate items to be auctioned as a fundraiser for the coming show season and this year member’s generated money to sponsor several classes for the horse show in a short period of time.

After some time to visit with old friends and a delicious buffet dinner, it was on to the awards. Ritz’s Heart Of Ice received the top award of the night by earning the 2007 High Point Champion for points earned in the Open Amateur class with Brian Nichols. Ritz’s Heart Of Ice is owned by Mrs. Glenda Nichols and prepared for the show ring by the Nichols family. Ritz’s Heart Of Ice also earned top honors in four individual divisions.

Out-Going President Brad Huffman thanked Sarah Mitch for her dedication and efforts put forth over the last two years as secretary-treasurer. With show season just around the corner, members of the SWMHSA are eager to get into the show ring for the 2008 season.