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We’re glad you stopped by to visit our website on distance driving. Perhaps you’ve just discovered MDDA and want to learn more about just what we do. Perhaps you’ve come to check the schedule to see when and where competitive drives are being held or check the results of past drives. Or perhaps you are just interested in looking at some photographs of our horses and drivers at the various competitions. Whatever the reason, thanks for browsing and drop us a line if we can answer any questions or be of service to you.

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Annual Meeting

2010 Annual Meeting for Midwest Distance Driving Association
By Jac Deweese

Members began gathering at 12 pm on November 14 for the MDDA Annual Meeting and Awards Party.

After renewing acquaintances, enjoying informal visits, looking over pictures from the early days of the organization and sharing recent activities, the 30 attendees began gathering the food for lunch.  As usual the food was plentiful, varied and delicious!

President Gary Jackson started the meeting at 2 pm by asking everyone to introduce themselves, their horses and where they were from.  Following the introductions Gary moved quickly to the primary business of seeking nominations/volunteers for the board of directors.  Existing members volunteered to continue, but there was a need for at least one new member to replace Wes Licht, who elected to retire form the board after serving 10 years (5 as president).  Ruth Casserly agreed to serve on the board   and was accepted by the members.

Webmaster Jac explained that the MDDA web site now offered the ability to fill out the membership form and pay dues on-line.  The printed form will continue to be available to those who don’t wish to do it on-line.  A few of the members have used the new system and think that the early bugs have been resolved.

MDDA members Ray and Alice Hubert had been asked to bring their racing harness and bitless bridle to explain exactly how it worked.  The harness does not have a breeching.  Instead the harness includes a very secure attachment of the shaft directly to the saddle.  It is clear that this arrangement does not represent a safety issue.  However, with a heavy cart the horse might suffer from holding the weight entirely on the saddle.

Alice explained how her bridle works.  The bitless and blinkerless bridle is certainly different, but if the horse is used to working in a bitless and/or blinkerless bridle, it should not be a safety issue.  It was agreed that the board would develop suitable language in the rules to allow use of the racing harness with an appropriate vehicle.  (Current rules require a breeching or brakes.)

After the meeting guest speaker Bonnie Mielke, an experienced  rider with over 43,000 miles and 1st place competitive rider for 2010, gave an excellent presentation on conditioning.  She explained that a horse needs time to build up for competition.  She recognized that our driving horses typically do fewer miles and thus can be conditioned over shorter distances but she does recommend an extended conditioning period before the season starts.  Her own plan includes 10 weeks to prepare before the season begins.  Bonnie recommends maintaining a calendar and writing down each workout including distance, time and any notes that help evaluate the horse and its progress.

Bonnie then talked briefly about some ideas on nutrition and supplements.  She is a strong believer in using electrolytes.  She also uses oils as an energy source, but this is for horses doing a minimum of 25 miles in competition. She subsequently added to her presentation by noting that she hadn’t mentioned the importance of days off.  This is when the horse recovers from those minor aches, pains, and pulls and is just as important as the work days.

After Bonnie’s presentation it was time for AWARDS!

The awards presentation started off with Jac recognizing Wes Licht for his 10 years of leadership and service to MDDA.  Jac noted that Wes was a part of the small group who actually organized MDDA in 2000 and he has been active in distance driving since 1996.  Jac also noted that Wes was instrumental in getting members like him involved in MDDA.   When Jac directed the question to the audience, there were a great many hands in the membership who had had a similar experience.

Wes then introduced Jack Shea as the MDDA Volunteer of the Year and presented him with a nice fleece vest.  He explained how Jack’s efforts as treasurer and co-ride manager for the Iron Oak event were invaluable to the organization.  Jack finally understood why the bill for the year end prizes didn’t look right!

Gary presented Tim and Ruth Casserly with an Outstanding Participation award in recognition of their competing in all 10 scheduled events and driving on 21 of the 22 days offered at these events.  They received personalized coffee mugs for this truly outstanding effort!

Topping off this achievement, Tim and Ruth Casserly won the Pairs Champion award with Auran Bachlava and Auran Harley Davidson.

MDDA’s rookie drivers blew away the competition with:

Rick Nelson and Buddy winning both Champion Single and Rookie of the Year

Tammy Sunderlage with Diamond Dust winning both Reserve Champion Single and Rookie

Terri Delke and Georgette placing both 3rd Single and Rookie

Alice Hubert and Mini Hapi Times placing both 4th Single and Rookie

Jack Shea and Kim won Champion Single Limited Distance

Katz Jackson and Talon were the Reserve Champion Single Limited Distance

Glenn Garbisch and Akhea place 3rd Single Limited Distance

Ray Hubert and Penquin Beware earned a Rookie award

Ray Hubert and Pistol Pete also earned a Rookie award

Congratulations to all the winners and a special congratulations to our outstanding crop of rookies!  We look forward to hearing more from you all in future years!

2010 Annual

[img src=]340Socializing
Larry Clapper checks pictures, Rick Nelson standing while Nate Sunderlage, Katz Jackson and Tammy Sunderlage visit in the background. Visitors Derrick Mielke and Michelle Deweese sit at the table.
[img src=]220Socializing
Larry Clapper, Nate Sunderlage, Rick Nelson, Katz Jackson, Tammy Sunderlage, Wes Licht and Jack Shea
[img src=]170Socializing
Recognizable faces .. Lori Schoofs, Jack Shea, Glenn Garbisch, LuAnn Shea, Linda Low, Terri Delke, Marguerite and Michelle Deweese
[img src=]140Enjoying Lunch
Right to left. Ray and Alice Hubert, Jane Licht, Katz Jackson (standing),Tammy and Nate Sunderlage, filling their plates, Wes Licht, Becki Mielke, baby Joselyn and father Derrick Mielke, right side of table, Rick Nelson, Mr. Kluge, Roxanne Corneeche/Kluge, Ruth and Tim Casserly
[img src=]160Enjoying Lunch
Lori and Jim(?) Shoofs, Larry and Mary Clapper
[img src=]140Enjoying Lunch
Linda Low, Carol Dilbert, Tony Troyer, LuAnn and Jack Shea, Glenn Garbish and Terri Delke
[img src=]120
Jac & Rick Nelson visit with Bonnie Mielke and her husband
[img src=]120
Jane Licht introduces herself
[img src=]120
Rozanne Comheecke/Kluge and Dave Kluge
[img src=]110
Tony Troyer making introductions
[img src=]90
The 2010 Annual MDDA meeting began with conversation and good food.
[img src=]80
Treasurer Jack Shea is preparing some special grab bag prizes.
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There was good attendance with many members present.
[img src=]80
Enjoying a pot luck lunch before getting down to business
[img src=]70
The Deweese family gathers for the meal
[img src=]90
Jac Deweese's granddaughter may be a future member. Auntie Michelle is holding her.
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President Gary Jackson opened the meeting by asking everyone to introduce themselves.
[img src=]80
Becki (formerly Deweese) explained her experiences with distance driving. Now she is busy being a mother.
[img src=]90
Ray Hubert explained his harness, originally made for harness racing, but it has some nice safety features.
[img src=]80
In case of an emergency, the harness can be quickly unsnapped from the shafts.
[img src=]70
Alice Hubert holds her bittless bridle that one of their horses uses.
[img src=]80
Jac brought in his traditional driving harness for comparison with the Hubert's harness.
[img src=]60
Jac uses a full collar harness and traditional bridle with a driving bit.
[img src=]60
Jack Shea explained that in 2011, Iron Oak will be only one day (Saturday, April 24) because it falls on Easter weekend.
[img src=]40
Tony Troyer introduced the guest speaker, Bonnie Mileke who has logged more than 40,000 miles of distance riding, including over 60 one-hundred mile rides.
[img src=]60
Bonnie spoke about conditioning your horse for both distance riding and driving.
[img src=]40
Bonnie explained that for the well-being of your horse, you must plan and execute a conditioning program well in advance of the riding/driving season.
[img src=]60
Jac Deweese asked MDDA members how many of them had been pulled into the sport of distance driving by Wes Licht. Quite a few raised their hands.
[img src=]50
Jac asked Wes to come forward to receive a special award.
[img src=]60
Wes was a bit overwhelmed when he opened his award.
[img src=]50
It was a beautiful plaque with photos of all the horses Wes used for distance driving over the past 14 years.
[img src=]60
Wes introduced the MDDA Volunteer of the Year.
[img src=]50
It was Jack Shea who co-managed the MDDA ride-drives.
[img src=]50
Treasurer Jack noticed that the order was incorrect. Actually, it was not because of the vest ordered for him!
[img src=]50
Gary Jackson (right) presents a demin shirt to Rookie of the Year Rick Nelson.
[img src=]40
Second Rookie is Tammy Sunderlage
[img src=]50
Third Rookie is Terri Delke.
[img src=]50
Fourth Rookie is Ray Hubert who actually qualified with two horses.
[img src=]50
Fifth Rookie is Alice Hubert. Gary was delighted that so many qualified for rookie status this year.
[img src=]50
A special Participation Award was presented to Tim and Ruth Casserly who drove their pair in 21 distance driving events during 2010.
[img src=]50
Jack Shea won the single horse limited distance (LD) championship with his Canadian Kim.
[img src=]50
Katz Jackson won single horse reserve champion LD with her Morgan mare Talon.
[img src=]60
Glenn Garbisch won third place single horse LD with his Arab Paint Akhea (Junior).
[img src=]40
Rick Nelson won single horse champion.
[img src=]50
Tammy Sunderledge was single horse reserve champion.
[img src=]40
Terri Delke won third place single horse.
[img src=]50
Alice Hubert won fourth place single horse.
[img src=]50
Ruth Casserly.
[img src=]60
Ruth tells about being interviewed for an article in Driving Digest magazine
[img src=]50
Tim and Ruth Casserly were pairs champions.
[img src=]50
They were awarded special mugs with photos of them driving their horses.
[img src=]50
There were many grab bag winners.
[img src=]40
Ruth is one of the happy grab bag winners. Time to clean up and go home.
[img src=]70
Deweese family, Marguerite, Michelle, Becki Mielke, Joslyn Mielke, Jac, and Derrick Mielke

2 comments to Annual Meeting

  • Katz Jackson


    Nice article. I hope the CD I sent you also arrived and tomorrow or the next day, after deer hunting and butchering, we will get our 2010 registration, etc., in, and take advantage of the new website features.

    Happy Half Moon and Post Thanksgiving Day,


  • Rick Nelson

    Yea ,,, I found it ,,.
    Thank you Jac.

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