California Riding Magazine • November, 2012

And The Winner Is…
Big champions crowned at the
26th Annual Draft Horse Classic.

Rick Newborn – along with his team of horses, Diamond and Jennifer – competes in the Americana Class. Rick and his team were voted as People's Choice in this class. Photo by Ron Calef,

Draft horse exhibitors from California, British Columbia, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, and Washington competed for more than $35,000 in premium awards at the 26th annual Draft Horse Classic. Held at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley Sept. 20-23, the competitions took place during six performances over the four- day event.

Gary Nebergall of Arthur, IL judged the Draft Horse competitions and halter show. Dwight Gilbert from Nevada was the judge of the pulling contest; and Craig Trnka from New Mexico was the horseshoe competition judge.

Preparing a Draft Horse for competition! Photo by Ron Calef,

The winner of the Six-Up Ultimate Hitch Championship was Kirk Messenger of the Mark Messenger Memorial Hitch, from Cheyenne, WY.

Dakota Messenger, also of Mark Messenger Memorial Hitch, and Katie Cook of Young Living Percherons from Mona, UT, were recognized as the outstanding lady drivers, both accumulating high points to win the Susan Parnell High Point Perpetual Award.

The Teamster of the Year Award was presented to Steve Smith, an honor bestowed upon him by the voting of his fellow teamsters. Smith is from Quail Creek Percherons in Carmichael, CA. The Draft Horse & Mule Association presented their special Teamster Award to Kirk Messenger. Ciera Barry of Shady Oaks Ranch in Millville, CA, won the Youth of the Show award.

Kyle Hohu, representing Siren's Clydesdales, displays a Clydesdale in the Halter Show. Photo by Ron Calef,

The Overall Supreme Champion horse, Hugh; the Grand Champion Stallion, Ogdensburg HC Variety; and the Grand Champion Mare, Mission Bell Abigail; are all owned by Castagnasso Clydesdales and shown by Tony Knecht of Sonoma, CA.

The winner in the 2012 Edward Martin Perpetual Horseshoeing Competition was J D Downs of Colorado.

Kirk Messenger and his Percherons perform at the 26th annual Draft Horse Classic. Messenger, of Cheyenne, WY, was the winner of the Six-Up Ultimate Hitch Championship. Photo by Ron Calef,

At the second annual Classic BBQ Cook-Off, the Grand Champion was Richard Holguin, cooking for Cecil's Smokin' BBQ of San Jose; and the Reserve Grand Champion prize went to Mary Odor, cooking for Mad Mo's BBQ of Meridian. The People's Choice Champion was Bad S BBQ of Sunnyvale, with Ryan Pang cooking.

At the Harvest Fair, the People's Choice award for the Scarecrows went to Nancy Brown, and the Best of Division in the Scarecrows went to
Rivera Swartzendruber.

Mike Schubert of Rees Family Belgians of Elk, WA, competes in the Six-Up Ultimate Hitch Competition. Photo by Ron Calef,

A complete list of 2012 Draft Horse Classic awards, as well as all the Harvest Fair winners and a complete list of Barbecue Cook-Off results, is on the Nevada County Fairgrounds' website at

The 2013 Draft Horse Classic is scheduled for September 19-22. Tickets will go on sale on May 1, 2013. Visit for more information.