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Cowboys and girls strut their horse-handling prowess as the Kane County Fair kicks off

This year’s Kane County Fair Open Horse Show featured well-seasoned competitors ranging in ages from six-and-under, 10-and-under, 11-17 and 18-and-older in the Carroll Arena at the North Events Center on Saturday, August 6. Under the direction of Ann Hepworth, who conducts training in her Orderville corral, as well as at Best Friends, was assisted by her husband Marty, and judged by first-timer Jessie Innegess.

Cole Heaton, Valley High School senior, offers some insight into his win guiding Drone in “Trails”: “Me and my brother (Bronx), we got first and second place. We were at kind of an advantage with some of these things just because our horses, they’ve been ‘cowboy-ed’ on. They’re pretty broke, and they’re not super-scared or anything. So, some of these other horses are a little bit more wild and a little bit more nervous. And I think that’s what gave us the edge. We calmly went there and did all of the obstacles that we could do and came out on top.” He also scored best in the “Western Pleasure” category. Photo by Jerry Melrose.

“My name is Dune (Stotlar). I’m seven, practically eight, because my birthday is on August 12. I won first-place in ‘Trails’ on Stormy. He did the hula-hoop, and pretty good.” Photo by Jerry Melrose.

Basically,” Innegess notes, “I’m coming and trying to pick horses with the least amount of resistance. So, I’m looking for horses that keep their heads and nose soft, and don’t ‘root’ their nose out when they stop. Looking for a relaxed horse. Also, looking for a well-levelheaded rider who is going to take the time to make the best out of the situation they’re going through with their horse at the time.”

Classes included Fillies, Colts, Mares, Geldings, Stallions, Showmanship at Halter, Leadline for the six-and-under, Western Pleasure, Trail, Ranch Riding, Reining, Barrels and Poles. Among the all-around High Point winners were 10-year-old Norah Sahotra, and in the 11-17 group, Addison Kartchner, who won in Ranch Riding, Western Pleasure, Showmanship, Trail and Barrels, pocketing $80 in prize money for her efforts.

“It was great!” concluded Andy Heaton, a Blue-Ribbon winner himself, as was his wife

“It just felt good,” says weary-eyed Colbie Heaton, eight-year-old daughter of Brent and Carole Heaton of Alton, about winning her Blue Ribbon in the “Western Pleasure” class riding Drone, attributes her success to the fact that she “paid attention.” Photo by Jerry Melrose.

Tracee, parents of Cole and Bronx. “Ann Hepworth has done a great job this year. She got some very challenging obstacles made for a fun afternoon.” As for his family, “We got lucky; we got a couple of good horses that are having a good day. Drone is starting to figure things out.”

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