During the summer of 2007 we showed in many locations in Illinois. One interesting trip was to the
DuQuoin State Fair Grounds in, you guessed it, DuQuoin. The show was the: DuQuion Memorial ShowThe fairgrounds at DuQuoin are without a doubt the nicest facilty we were at all summer. Imagine, the show ring was monstrously large, with all under cover stands, hot and cold (did I say HOT?) running water for the horse washing area, and nice are for the supervisor and staff. The awards were exceptional, including actual trophies!!! It was a shame that the weekend show we attended was so poorly attended by other exhibitors. I think they missed a gem of the show season, and hope next year attendance will be up.
We met many people and made some new friends. Here we are with a mom and her daughter who volunteered to hold two of our horses. Unfortunately I could not contact them and have lost their names. But from left to right the horses are: Lucky Four RebelChase RebelHeir, Toad Hill's Paint Me Picasso, Toad Hill's Kiss Me Kate, and Toad Hill's Stormy Weather. All but Picasso ended up the season as National Multi-Color Champions in their respective classes, while Picasso came in second in his.
While there we also did some touristing as my friend is a wine enthusiast and likes to see something more than horse shows. We went down further south and got on the Shawnee Wine Trail to see what southern Illinois had to offer.
I have included two photos. The first is of Blue Sky Vineyards, of a very impressive winery that was quite It has a Tuscan theme and you can see acres of vines around the main building. They offer "free wine tasting Monday through Friday, a variety of hearty sandwiches, pizzas, and snacks, as well as wine-alternatives such as beer and mixed drinks. " We did not sample the wine because we had more traveling to do.
Another vineyard we stopped at was Alto Vineyards and Winery. According to their website it is "the largest and oldest winery in southern Illinois." It was a lot smaller than Blue Sky but they have a porto that was decent although it can't compare to the ports from the Duoro, Portugal. Oh well, southern Illinois is not the perfect wine growing country but they try.
On the way back to the fairground we saw from the road a unique park. It was set up as a tribute to the son of a family that apparently had died at a young age. It was completely free, although donations are appreciated to keep it up, and the figures and buildings were creative, artistic, whimsical and interestion to see. For kids, there were climb privileges too. To the left is a small dragon, and below I have a photo of a really large reclining dragon that shows a youngster climbing on top of it. The mom is standing in front of the dragon.
There were other adventures, but that may be for a later blog. It was a long weekend, we saw the chariots and I have to say that DuQuoin has a great showing area and plenty of room in the arena for the horses pulling the chariots to really run full speed. (Please note that they are not supposed to go that fast usually, but the handlers were very experienced. Otherwise it may be quite dangerous for an amateur.)
Needless to say after a long weekend everyone needed to relax. I let the show horses out on the lawn, and as you can see, they all enjoyed mowing the lawn for me.
(Front to rear: Kate, Stormy, Picasso)