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Annual Meeting

By Jane Licht

On November 13, 2004, the Midwest Distance Driving Association (MDDA) held its first ever Awards and Pot-Luck Social at the McFarland Municipal Center.  Members came from all over Wisconsin and a few from Minnesota and Illinois to enjoy each other’s company, swap stories, eat lots of good food and witness the awards ceremony.  (See pictures at the bottom of this article)

Lively conversation, the sharing of photos, the sale of new MDDA caps, bidding on items at the silent auction and gathering around the hors d’oeuvres table were popular activities early on. Following the delicious potluck dinner, President Wes Licht made some announcements.  Holding up large calendars, he indicated that three couples who have participated in MDDA events with their horses have their photographs in Robert Mischka’s 2005 Driving Horse calendars:  Lowell and Carolyn Larson, Mark and Julie Dahlberg, and Wes and Jane Licht.  MDDA member Pauline Stollenwerk was featured in the Draft Horse calendar in 2003.

Wes invited everyone to introduce themselves by giving their name, where they were from and how they had been active in MDDA thus far.

MDDA Board members Connie Grey and Sandy Rudstrom reported that they attended a Distance Riders Association of Wisconsin (DRAW) meeting and were optimistic about the group possibly hosting two distance drives in 2005.

Wes and Sandy presented driving awards to various members for their accomplishments throughout the season.  Wes explained that the winners were notified ahead of time so that they could chose from several alternatives, such as a horse blanket, vest or jacket and their name and their horse’s name were monogrammed on the prize item.

Those receiving special recognition were:
Randy Rudstrom, Singles Champion;
Connie Gray, Reserve Singles Champion;
Wes Licht, 3rd Place Singles and  Sharon Brunzlick, 4th Place Singles
Jac Deweese, Singles Champion Limited Distance;
Pauline Stollenwerk, Reserve Singles Champion Limited Distance
Julie Dahlberg, Rookie of the Year Pairs Champion.

(Look under YE Awards for pictures)

Gift certificates from Advanced Biological Concepts were given to Theresa Burns, MDDA Past President, and Sharon Beck, MDDA Webmaster for their dedicated efforts in promoting distance driving and MDDA.  Elinore Tonsor, MDDA liaison to Upper Midwest Endurance and Competitive Rides Association (UMECRA), also presented Jac Deweese with a framed photograph of him giving a pony cart ride to Louise Reidel, who many consider to be the grand dame of distance riding in the State of Wisconsin.

Elinore then told the story of how, during the Show Me the Money drive, two deer jumped in front of Randy’s young horse Buddy so closely that they may have brushed his nose hairs.  This startled Buddy who began rearing.  Before Randy could get him under control, Buddy broke a shaft on the cart.  Randy unhitched him and found that the harness was undamaged but realized that he had a long way to go to get back to the start of the trail.  So being a resourceful person, Randy cut a sapling to make a splint for the shaft and wound duct tape around and around to stabilize the splint.  Randy and Buddy got back to the finish only a few minutes outside their window of time.  Wes presented Randy with a wood plaque that had a deer antler, large roll of duck tape, small framed photo of Randy driving Buddy and a small metal plaque attached that read, “Deer and Duct Tape Award, Randy and Buddy, Show Me the Money 2004.”  Randy seemed surprised and very pleased to receive his unusual award.

Next, Wes invited Raven Fisher and Gary Jackson to come forward to receive special awards for their truly remarkable driving adventures at the Wildcat Drive.  You’ll need to ask them to fill in the details.

Wes presented some very nice door prizes to lucky winners.  He reminded everyone to check the MDDA Newsletter and website for 2005 events.