The year is over….ALREADY! Let’s reflect…

I sit here on December 30th and I have to wonder where the year has gone.  It’s hard to believe that I have been retired from my full-time employment for a whole year already.  In fact, it seems like it was just a couple of weeks ago that I was photographing my last horse event of the Fall.  Maybe the fact that the temperatures have been so mild is the reason it doesn’t seem like Winter is here yet.

It has been a very busy November and December this year with lots of calls and emails from horse friends looking for photos and photo related merchandise to use for Christmas gifts.  As usual, calendars were big this year.  There were orders from the usual customers, plus a few big business orders.  I finally mailed out the last calendar order yesterday.  The order came in kind of late so I set the calendar up to start on February 1st instead of January 1st.  

As many of you know, I get a lot of the photo related merchandise that I sell from Hong Kong which is why I need a lot of lead time on orders.  I would love to deal with someone in the States or even locally, if they had good prices and had software that would allow me to design just about anything I want, like the software of the Chinese vendor that I currently use.  Many firms will provide the kinds of things that I sell, but they want big quantity orders and they do the design work for you for a fee.  Since many of the items I sell are one-off, these companies don’t want to do business with a small seller like me at prices that make it possible for my customers to buy the items.  I can get photos printed and mailed straight from the lab to the customer’s address in just a few days, but calendars, shower curtains, blankets, etc. come from Hong Kong and take several weeks.  

In reviewing the past year, there were a lot of great things that happened.  I got to go on three wagon trains and was able to ride for a lot longer than in the past when I had to work a regular job on Monday through Friday.  Also, it was great to be able to drive to an event a day early and, in some cases, stay until the day after the event before coming home.  Along the way, I was introduced to the Kentucky Trailblazers club and joined them for three events, including the 5 day wagon train across Kentucky from Shelbyville to Refro Valley and a weekend ride that wound up circling the state capitol building in Frankfort, Kentucky.  The Trailblazers now join the Community Draft Horse and Mule Association, the Eastern Kentucky Draft Horse and Mule Association,  the Southern Indiana Draft Horse and Mule Association, and the Friendship Club in southwestern Ohio as organizations that I belong to and whose events I try to attend whenever possible.  The only problem with having this many affiliations is that there are occasions when two or more of the clubs are having an event on the same weekend.  When that happens, I am put in the uncomfortable situation of having to choose between events.  My criteria is usually the uniqueness of the event and/or the distance I have to travel to attend.  Oftentimes, these criteria are very useful in helping me to make the decision regarding which event to attend.

As many of you are aware, I upgraded my accommodations this year by buying a new little travel trailer in late July.  No more tent camping!   Linda and I agreed that I was getting too old to sleep on the ground or in the back of the truck like I have for the past several years.  I was able to use the trailer a lot in August, September and October.  At one point, I was on the road for 12 days straight and went to 4 different venues to take photos during that time.  Now that we have better accommodations, Linda is considering coming along to a few events next year again.  She hasn’t done that for several years now.

One thing that I do have to admit to being disappointed with this year is this blog.  I started the blog with the goal of posting something at least every couple of weeks.  I haven’t been too good at getting that done.  I promise to try to do a better job at it during this coming year.

Well, the “meeting” season is upon us.  The  Eastern Kentucky Draft Horse and Mule Association is having their annual dinner meeting on January 7th in Owingsville, Kentucky and the Community Draft Horse and Mule Association is having their dinner meeting the following Saturday in Cynthiana, Kentucky.  There is information about both events on the website “Upcoming Events” page.  We already traveled down to Tell City, Indiana for the annual dinner meeting of  the Southern Indiana Draft Horse and Mule Association in mid December.  As always, the food was great and it was a lot of fun to touch base with all of our friends from that organization.  Unfortunately, the  Kentucky Trailblazers had their dinner on that same day and we weren’t able to attend.  Maybe things will work out better next year.

I guess that this is enough for now.  If you read this far, then you must be pretty bored and have more time on your hands than I would have thought.  Remember, there are only about 90 days until the start of April and the Spring season.   I look forward to seeing you down the trail.  If we haven’t met in person, be sure to come up and introduce yourself.

Till Spring!

Rick Conley 

(Note to self:  Maybe you should sit down and do this more frequently instead of saving everything for one big blog entry!!)   

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Things are winding down….

I got home from my big trip last Sunday night and everything went just fine.  Overall, I added about 600 miles to the truck moving around taking photos over the 12 days I was on the road.  The little trailer worked out great and really made it easy to move from one location to the next.  I’m afraid that I am getting spoiled in my older years.

I started out by going up to Winchester, Ohio where I joined a 3 day wagon train that ended up at Grooms’ Glen-Dale Park for their big Draft Horse weekend.  We had more “incidents” on that ride than any ride I have ever been on.  We had 7-8 wagons on the ride.  Of course the company was great, but the weather was everywhere from great to miserable, all in the course of 3 days.   I wound up with about 1,250 photos from that wagon train.

I stayed at Grooms’ for the weekend event and took a lot of photos, especially of the field work which is my favorite type of event.  I also took a lot of photos of their Sunday show for a total of about 2,300 photos from the weekend.  My calendar sales didn’t go very well mainly because of the weather on Saturday that kept most of the general public away.  It  was a very cold, windy day.  Although I did honor my commitment to give a portion of the proceeds to Dale and Glenna in support of the show, I am out several hundred dollars and have a lot of 2012 calendars left over.  I doubt that I will try that again!

From the Grooms show on Sunday afternoon, I drove about 150 miles down to the camp of the Kentucky Trailblazers which is near Shelbyville, Kentucky about 30 miles east of Louisville.  I got there right about dark and left with them on their 5 day wagon train on Monday morning.  There were 18 wagons that left their camp to travel east about 100 miles to Renfro Valley where the big Harvest Festival was being held.  Most of the ride was on little back roads where there was no cell phone service and fewer people.  We had great weather and the company was outstanding.  By the time we arrived at Renfro Valley, there were 31 wagons and the group had swelled to well over 100 people.  I had a great time and took over 4,000 photos along the way.

I stayed at Renfro Valley with the group and enjoyed visiting all of the booths and exhibits.  I especially enjoyed the bluegrass music that was on the big stage near the camping area.  I left to start home on Sunday morning after the 3 die-hards of the group started their trip back to Shelbyville in their wagons.  Everyone else loaded their horses into their trailers and took the easy way back home.  On the way home, I decided to make a stop in Paris, Kentucky at the farm managed by Homer Raders in order to get some Fall photos for the 2012 calendar that I am making up for Homer’s customers.  That side trip resulted in a few hundred more shots to add to the collection.

Once I got home on Sunday afternoon and I downloaded all of the photos I had taken, I had a total of about 7,760 photos to be processed.  Of course there are many of those that will never see the light of day as they aren’t that great.  So far, I have spent this week (between other family demands) reviewing, selecting, editing and posting the photos from the Ohio ride and from Grooms’ event out on the Internet.  I was about to start on the Renfro Valley photos today, but thought I would take a break to update the blog on what has been going on.

Right now, I only have one more weekend event scheduled.  It seems that there are a couple of groups planning rides for the weekend of Halloween coming up at the end of the month.  I had tentatively committed to go to ride down in Frankfort, Kentucky over that weekend, then I received a card in the mail inviting me to a ride by Phillip Hester in Mt. Olivet, Ky.  I am afraid that someone will not be happy with me if I don’t show up at their event, but there is little I can do about that.

Well, I have to get to work on the Renfro Valley photos as I have noticed folks coming to the website looking for them.  Somehow, I also have to get the grass cut today.  Maybe I can talk my wife into the need for exercise that the lawnmower can provide ……….


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We’ve been awful busy…..

Golly, the month of September is quickly drawing to a close.  Just one more week to go and it will be October already.  I have been staying awful busy this month and there is a lot more still to come.

As I reported in my last post, I went down to the Tell City area of south central Indiana about 50 miles southwest of Louisville to join a wagon train.  The Southern Indiana Draft Horse and Mule Association was having their annual ride.  They left on Saturday morning and planned to ride up through the entire next week.  I got there on Friday afternoon and rode with them through the following Wednesday.  I left on Thursday morning after they left the campgrounds to start their Thursday ride.  Needless to say, I had a great time!  The weather was great with a little rain at night a couple of times.  The club members are all really nice and friendly and my friends Edith Conyers and Bonnie Mitsui were also part of the group. We crossed over the bridge into northern Kentucky on Wednesday morning and the group planned to ride down the Kentucky shore to Tell City where they would cross back over to Indiana.  The ride was very well organized and the food was great!  The new “chuck wagon” that the club members built last winter was very impressive.  I can’t wait until next year!!

I came home from the Indiana ride on Thursday and left again on Friday for a weekend ride down in Scott County, Kentucky being hosted by my long time friend Rob Stroub.  The Saturday weather was ideal and we rode about 20 miles.  The weather on Sunday changed drastically with lowered temperatures and overcast skies that promised rain at any time.  We got lucky, however, and didn’t get wet.  The highlight of the Sunday ride was a stop at Oliver and Molly Carroll’s farm to see the 10 new mule babies that Oliver had brought home from down in Alabama.

When I got home on Sunday, I had a total of about 3,400 photos to be reviewed, selected, edited, and moved to the Internet.  It wound up taking almost the entire week to get through everything and about 700 photos were added to the website from these two events.

I will be going down to Asbury College tomorrow for their annual Draft Animal day.  After that, I will be leaving early Wednesday to join a 3 day wagon train out in Ohio about 50 miles east of Cincinnati.  That event will end up a Grooms’ Glen-Dale Park on Friday for the start of their weekend field day and show.  When I leave there on Sunday afternoon, I will be heading for Shelbyville, Kentucky to join a week long wagon train that starts Monday morning and ends the following weekend in Renfro Vally for their big bluegrass festival.  This is a new event for me and I am looking forward to the ride.  Hopefully, I will get those photo all processed and online in the following week or two.


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What a change!!

I attended the 2011 US National Plowing Contest last weekend in Huber Heights, Ohio just north of Dayton.  The event was at Carriage Hill Farm which is a part of the Dayton Five Rivers Metroparks system.  It is a living, work recreation of an 1880’s farm.

The weather on Friday and Saturday was very hot, but the skies were clear and beautiful.  There was talk that the Friday temperatures could possibly break the all time record for that date.  The plowing on Saturday was for practice and provided an opportunity for the competitors to join in some fun.  The ground was in great shape.  There was the usual competitor’s dinner on Saturday night and everyone drew their plots for the Sunday competition.

Overnight on Saturday, however, a series of very strong thunderstorms rolled through the area.  It was probably the worst storms that I have ever camped in.  My little trailer was doing some rocking and rolling during the night.  A nearby local resident told me on Sunday that he had recorded 4 inches of rain in his rain gauge overnight.  In addition to the rain, the temperatures took a very sharp nose dive after the storms rolled through.

The ground for the Sunday plowing was a real mess on Sunday morning with standing water in a few plots.  It was downright cold and a misty drizzle was still falling through much of the day.  All of the competitors took it in stride, however, and went out to plow in conditions that they had not faced before at home where they wouldn’t have attempted to plow ground as wet as this.  However, some of them had come long distances and weren’t going home without at least giving it a try.

The photos from this event are now out on the website.  Some of the Sunday photos are less than great.  Between trying to keep the camera dry and the overcast conditions with the reduced lighting, it was a challenge to get the job done.  On several of the photos, it appears that there are faint white vertical lines in the photos.  This is caused by the raindrops that the camera picked up as the shot was taken.

My next adventure begins on Friday of this week.  I will be hooking up the trailer and heading down to Tell City over on the other side of the state of Indiana.  I am joining up with the Southern Indiana Draft Horse and Mule Association for their annual wagon trail.  The ride starts on Saturday and continues through the following week, ending on Sunday.  The group will cover about 150 miles in southern Indiana and over in north central Kentucky.  I plan to ride with them for 5 days before returning home to repack and head out to attend the Community Draft Horse Association weekend ride down in Scott County Kentucky.  This will be a busy few weeks coming up, so don’t look for any updates to the blog for a little while.

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Vacation is over…..back to work….

We returned from our family vacation down in Derby, Indiana on the Ohio River.  We had a lot of fun and I thnk that all of the children and grandchildren did too.  They are all back in school now and the summer is starting to wind down.

I spent last weekend at Yount’s Antique Farm Show in Pleasureville, Kentucky.  The show included displays and demonstrations using old tractors and quite a few pieces of equipment powered by antique steam engines.  There was bluegrass music on Friday evening and there was a tractor pull on Saturday afternoon and evening.  It was a very interesting show and best of all, there was no charge to enter the grounds to see everything.

Members of the Kentucky Trail Blazers wagon club were camped on the grounds and had a wagon ride scheduled to start from the farm show on Saturday morning.  I was invited to join the group by my friends Homer Rader and Danny Crawford.  I took my new trailer down on Friday morning and stayed until early Sunday.  A small group of wagons left the farm show just after supper on Friday and took a 4 mile ride in the local area.  On Saturday, there were 10 wagons and we left the grounds at 9AM.  It is hard to judge, but we probably rode about 15 to 18 miles around Henry County on Saturday before returning to the farm show grounds.

As soon as we got back, I grabbed my camera and headed off to explore the grounds and see what other photos I could take.  I ran into Mike Shields who I hadn’t seen for a couple of years.  He told me he had been using his mules and had just finished doing some plowing demonstrations.  I told him that I would have liked to have gotten some photos.  Since his mules were still all harnessed, he grabbed his walking plow and the lines and we headed back over to the fields.  Mike started to do some plowing while I snapped away.

Among the spectators who gathered to watch Mike plow, there was a 5 year old boy who had on his cowboy hat and boots.  Mike asked him if he would like to try plowing.  The younster took the plow and Mike guided the mules while I snapped photos.  The youngster was tickled to be able to plow and Mike was just as happy showing the little guy how to do it.  He said that it makes his day whenever he gets the chance to show a younster how to work with the animals.  I had tears in my eyes watching the amount of time and effort he put into making sure the younster had a good time.

While Mike was plowing, Jim Mahan drove up on a little tractor he was using to provide rides for some of the children on the rounds.  I haven’t seen Jim in a few years and his health is not the best.  He has had replacement surgery for both knees and can’t get around very well anymore. However, he took up the lines to Mike’s mules and, as a joke, he had me take a couple of photos where it looked like he was actually plowing.  He wants me to send the photos to his wife.  We brought each other up to date about some of our common acquaintances for a few minutes before he moved on.

I then spent some time watching the tractor pull and was able to take some shots of the happenings to include on the website when I posted the photos from the weekend.

About 6PM, the club members set up a big pot luck supper with lots of different dishes provided by those who had ridden and others who just came to eat.  I was invited to eat with them and everyone was extrememly nice.  While we ate, the tractor pull was continuing on the track about 100 yards away.  Overall, I had a great time with this group.

My next big photographic adventure will be the National Plowing Contest at Carriage Hill Farm up in Huber Heights just north of Dayton, Ohio over the Labor Day weekend.  I communicated with Jim Butcher to ensure that I can bring my trailer up and camp there.  He indicated that it will be no problem and that he was looking forward to seeing me at their event.  I plan to set up near Mike Downs and his group so be sure to look me up if you are there.  Hopefully, everything will work out well with the weather and we will have a great weekend.

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Mid-August … School starting already…

It’s almost mid-August here in southeastern Indiana and many schools around here are starting classes next week.  At least it looks like the long heat wave has finally ended.  We set the record for the most consecutive days with temperatures over 90 degrees F since records have been kept.  I think there were over 20 days with temperatures of 91 or higher.  The good part was that the grass went dormant and stopped growing.  We are getting away with only cutting it every 10 days or so and then only to trim the weeds that continue to grow.

We will be closing things down here at Conley’s Horse Photos later this week to take a few days off with our children, some friends and our grandchildren before the youngsters have to go back to school.  There are 10 of us (or more depending on who else shows up).  We’re  planning on going over to the other side of the state on the Ohio River for a nice long weekend.  We have a large home rented there and I am taking my boat so the kids can do some sking and tubing before their summer ends.  “She who must be obeyed” and I are staying a few more days after they return to the city.

We picked up the new travel trailer last Thursday and now have it parked here at the house.  It is pretty small, but it has everything I need.  Since I am the only one who will be using it most of the time, I don’t really want anything larger.  I spent last Friday and over the weekend going over everything and moving the things I normally took along on my trips into the trailer.  There was plenty of room and I still have three empty compartments to use for my clothes and last minute things.  It is basically ready for me to hook it up and head out.  The rear bunk has a big plain door with nothing on it so I ordered a large decal of the Conley’s Horse Photos logo photo to put on it.  It will be tricky to get it mounted correctly, but we already put two on the truck, so we know what we are up against.

This weekend will be the Boone County Fair Draft Horse Show and for the first time in many years, I won’t be there to take photos.  However, I usually don’t sell much if anything from this show, so going on vacation with the family is going to take priority this year.  I hope they have a good turnout as it is one of the last shows still running.

Well, see everyone when we get back.  It will be nice to rest a little since I know that starting with the last weekend in August, just about every weekend and several weekdays will be busy with horse photo activities until mid-October.  I hope my camera and my clicking finger can take the strain……


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As we start August…..

Well, it is almost unbelievable that it is now early in the wee hours of August 2nd already.  As the expression goes, “Where does the time go?”  Yesterday, we have set a record for the most consecutive days over 90(F) in the time they have been keeping records.    First thing you know, it will be winter and we will be begging for warm weather again.  The cycle never stops.

We went down to Dannie Crawfords  over the weekend of July 22-24 to ride and have some fun.  The temperatures at that time were in the mid 90’s (F) with the humidity very high so that it felt like it was 110 (F).  I was suprised at the number of wagons and outriders that showed up for the ride.  We had 11 wagons and carts on Saturday with about 15-20 outriders.  We still had 6 wagons on Sunday which is an unusually high number for a Sunday.  There was a little breeze both days and none of the animals got stressed.  Of course, we took a lot of breaks and most of the teams were mules which seem to handle the heat better than horses.  As usual, Dannie with help from Shelton Morris, had a great dinner for us and he also had the same bluegrass group from last year (with a new mandolin player added) to keep us entertained.  I love bluegrass music, so I sat there until they finally quit playing at dark.  They were quite good, although they are just local players and don’t even have a name for their group.  Overall it was a fun weekend.  Too bad that a lot of others didn’t brave the heat and come out because it was a really great event.

I have finally taken the step that I have been considering for quite some time.  Those of you who know me know that I have a tent that covers the back of my truck and that I  use that tent as my sleeping quarters when I go to take photos at a lot of the events that I cover.  In fact, I am jokingly referred to as the “gadget man” because of all of the things I have accumulated to make my camping weekends enjoyable.  Well, those days are now over.  Last weekend, I had nothing to do and had made some inquiries about various travel trailers and campers listed on Craigs list.  I even checked into a couple of small horse trailers that I thought might be able to be converted to sleeping quarters for me.  Everything I looked at was old and in bad shape or I didn’t get a response from the seller.  Finally on Saturday afternoon, Linda and I went to a local trailer dealer and bought a brand new travel trailer for my use.  The only rule that she gave me was that I wasn’t to use it as a “bunkhouse” or porta pottie for all of the other folks at these events.  She wanted me to keep it in nice shape so that she and I could use it for our joint trips.  We now own a Starcraft AR-One small light weight travel trailer.  It comes with just about everything you could want from air conditioning to microwave to stereo.  In fact, there are no options offered by the company as they feel that it has all you might need or want.  It is only 15 feet long with a drop out bunk in the rear that I may not really need to use.  It weighs in at under 3,000 pounds loaded, so I will have no problem pulling it with my big pick up truck.  Already, I have had inquiries regarding how many it will sleeep.  I now have to figure out how to tell my friends that it only sleeps one person….ME! I look forward to no more wet tents to fold up and no more unloading everything in the truck so I can put up my tent to sleep in.  With the various wagon trains coming up in September where the site is moved daily to accomodate the route, I really hope this will make life a lot easier for me.  Of course the fact that I am now 65 years old and climbing in and out of the truck tent gets harder every year had nothing to do with the decision to make this change.


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Mid-July and H O T!!!

It is mid-July here in southeastern Indian and the temperatures are really HOT.  The humidity is also high and that combination makes it feel like a sauna when you have to go out of the air conditioning to do anything outside.

The month started with the annual 4th of July Party on the River down at the farm of Pat Hicks and the recently deceased Mike Stroub near Cynthiana, Ky.  Mike’s death just a few weeks prior to the event cast a shadow over the festivities.  Although everyone tried to carry on as we knew he would have wanted, it just wasn’t the same without him there.  Due to all of the rain earlier in the season, Al and his family were working to get the last of the tobacco set and Patrick was trying to get the last of the pumpkins planted down at the Pumkin Patch in order to have them ready for the Fall crowds.  It was very hot both Saturday and Sunday, but we got the horses harnessed and rode both days.  We had to take a lot of breaks to let the horses cool down and water.  It was especially hard on the two draft horse teams that were on the ride on Saturday and there weren’t any draft horse teams that came back to ride on Sunday.  Overall, we had fun, but the size of the crowd was down, probably due to the uncertainty of holding the event so soon after Mike’s death.  I stayed over on Sunday along with Mike’s sister Janet and her family, but a light rain shower early Monday morning convinced us all to go ahead and pack up in case the weather got bad and we were stuck down by the river as had happened a few times in the past.

The second weekend in July was spent down in eastern Kentucky.  The Eastern Kentucky Draft Horse and Mule Association held their annual Draft Horse Show and Pull at the Lion’s Club park in Owingsville.  This event is always held the week following the county fair and it is a great facility with a well prepared show ring, plenty of stall area, and even some nice camp sites on the grounds.  As is the case with many small local shows, the number of entries was very limited with many of the entries coming from only a few entrants.   Surprisingly, the Friday night horse pull had 8 entries and the winning team pulled 9,000 pounds.  This was a farm pull where jerking the sled, for example, was not permitted.  Has it not rained earlier in the afternoon and wet down the crushed gravel track, there were a few teams that probably could have pulled more weight.  The dampness of the pulling area, however, prevented the sled from pulling as easily as one might have thought.

The show on Saturday didn’t start until late in the afternoon and the high temperatures kept the crowd size down.  Those that did attend sat on the hillside on the west side of the arena where a giant old tree provided quite a lot of shade.  Almost nobody sat in the metal grandstands along the east side of the arena where the sun was beating down mercilessly.  Mike Atkins from up in Ohio came down to do the judging and was his usual outgoing self.  He gave all of the participants plenty of time in the ring and also entertained the crowd with his antics.  At one point he called the resident jokester Jeff Becker out into the arena and had him demonstrate a trot and gallop before pouiring a bottle of water on him.  Despite these antics, however, Mike did a really good job of placing the exhibitors and shared some of the reasons for his placements with the exhibitors.  It is one of the first shows I have worked where I didn’t hear anyone complaining about the judges decisions.

Saturday evening was dedicated to the “fun” events like log skiding, the obstacle course, and the farm chore race.  Many of the spectators were gone before these classes ended, but the participants really didn’t care because they were having a lot of fun.  Overall, the show went very well and Mike Downs and his wife Joyce are to be complemented for all of the work they did in preparation and in finding sponsors to help make the show a success.  I just hope that we can keep enough interest to keep the show going in the future.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that one of the members of the Orme family was really missed over the weekend.  Pinky Orme, wife of Mark Orme, had recently had surgery to have a cancerous tumor removed and wasn’t able to attend.  Although Mark was there for the pull on Friday, he stayed home with his wife on Saturday.  I’m sure that Pinky knows that all of us are pulling for her and will offer a few prayers that she is able to overcome this medical situation.  Anyone who knows her knows that she is very upbeat and usually full of energy.  Remember to keep her in your prayers.

Well, next weekend will be Dannie Crawford’s ride at his farm near Flemingsburg, Kentucky.  We know it will be hot.  Fortunately, Dannie’s farm is on the Liking River just below Cave Run Lake and the river will give us all a place to cool off.  Last year, Dannie had arranged for some bluegrass music groups to play on Saturday evening.  I love bluegrass music and hope he has them back again this year.  Come on down and join the fun!  There is a Google link on my website with a Google map that will lead you right to his farm.


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June is almost over already…..

It’s been a busy couple of weeks since I updated the blog.  I went down to Columbiana Farm near Paris, Kentucky on Friday, June 17th for Homer Raders ride.  I got there early in the afternoon and rode around the farm for awhile taking photos of the beautiful grounds and the horses that board there.  It seemed that just about every mare on the farm had a foal at her side.

While riding around, Homer sought me out on his golf cart to give me the news that he had just received a call from Lee Tucker stating that Mike Stroub had been found dead at home in his recliner.  Apparently Mike had not been feeling well  after lunch and had told his crew he was going to the house to rest.  It was quite a shock to me since, while Mike was diabetic, he was only 60 years old.  I had been looking forward to going to his farm for the annual July 4th Party on the River.  Later I found out that it appears that Mike suffered a massive heart attack.  I’m sure that he was under a lot of pressure with the two farms and with Patricia fighting cancer.

The news of Mike’s death along with a lot of rain on both Saturday and Sunday morning made for a rather dreary weekend for me.  We were able to ride both days and enjoyed some of the best scenery that we get to see on our regular rides each year.  I took a lot of photos, as usual.  Homer and Glenda put out quite a spread on Saturday evening with ribs and chicken along with all of the trimmings.

Mike’s layout and funeral service were held on Monday and Tuesday at Ware’s Funeral Home in Cynthiana, Ky.  It had been arranged for Jack Harp to bring his Belgian horses and his wagon to the funeral home on Tuesday to take Mike’s remains from the funeral home to Battlegrove Cemetery, a trip of about 4 miles.  There was quite a long procession of friends and family members that stretched for about one mile behind Jack’s wagon.  I got permission from Patricia and the family to take some photos of the trip.  After the service, we all went to Indian Creek Church where the members had laid out a really nice meal for everyone.  Several folks approached me asking for information about how they could see the photos I had taken.  I handed out my card and have already sent DVD’s of the collection of photos of Mike through the years that I posted as a tribute to Mike on my website, along with photos from the funeral service, to both Patricia and to Mike’s daughter Christy.

After the service, Patricia made it a point to let me know that we were still more that welcome to hold the annual July 4th Party on the River at her farm.  Rob and I had talked previously about changing the “name” for this event to “The Mike Stroub Memorial Party on the River.”  I will be going down to the farm on Friday afternoon and hope to stay until early Monday.  I got some fishing gear out of the boatr when I returned from fishing on Tuesday, so I am ready to go.  Hope to see you there!


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Horsepower, but not from horses…….

None of the local clubs had any horse events scheduled over the weekend of June 11-12 so I was enjoying some leisure time at home catching up on my emails and doing some reading.  On Sunday morning, I received a text message from my friend Scott Giska asking if I was around and if he might be able to borrow a camera for a car show that he was planning to attend.  After a few messages back and forth, it was decided that Scott could borrow the camera, but that he would have to allow me to go along with him to the show.

Scott picked me up around noon in his black Porche Boxster convertible and we drove into Cincinnati to Ault Park where the 2011 Cincinnati Concours D’Elegance was being held.  The weather was perfect with temperatures in the mid 80’s and clear skies with a nice breeze.

What an event!  There were cars there from all over the country and even a few from Canada.  With the exception of a couple of local club groups, all other cars on exhibit were there by invitation only.  The theme was “Red Hot Rides: Ferraries and Fire Engines.”   Needless to say the number of Ferraris and other exotic makes was very high.  There were also several fire engines, a few motorcycles, a display of actual vintage Indy cars, along with several top notch antique autos.   Overall, there were about 225 vehicles on  display.

Scott and I spent the afternoon wandering the grounds looking at cars and being awed by the quality of the displays and by what a great venue Ault Park turned out to be to hold a really high class event like this.  Both of us had seen photos of the famous Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance and felt that the Cincinnati version was right up there with Peeble Beach, without the ocean, of course.  There was a large crowd that had paid the $25 entrance fee to get into the show, but the grounds were large enough to handle the crowd and one never felt overwhelmed by the numbers of spectators.  Thanks to all of the rain we had in April and May, the grounds were immaculate and most of the autos were parked in the lush grass.  That made it much nicer and more comfortable walking around than the typical situation at other events where the displays are on a concrete or blacktop surface.

Both Scott and I took photos throughout the afternoon.  When we got home, I combined our photos and have published the best of them on the website under the entry “UNREAL Horsepower.”  This has double meaning because the site normally only displays “real” horse photos and also because some of the exotic cars like the Ferraris and even some of the Indy Cars on display have an unreal amount of horsepower under the hood.

I hope you enjoy the photos.  I know that we sure had a ball taking them!


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