It was all oversized belt buckles, cowboy boots and hats, tight jeans, and of course, horses at Saturday’s Kansas Buckskin Horse Association show Saturday at the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds.
The event, which also runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today, is one of four summer horse shows at the fairgrounds sponsored by the Buckskin Horse Association. The final show is scheduled for Sept. 5 and 6.
The shows offer horse enthusiasts a chance to compete and observe nearly 100 classes of horse events including showmanship, horsemanship and speed competitions. While buckskin horses, characterized by a tan and gold coat with black points, are the featured horses at the events, there are also events for other types and breeds of horses.
Contestants range from kids just starting out in horse showing to professional horse trainers who have been working with horses for decades.
But they are all united by their deep affection for horses, said show organizer and Kansas Buckskin Horse Association board member Marty Bloomquist. “We’re inflicted with an incurable disease: the love of horses,” she said.
The shows are a family event for many participating this weekend.
Tracy Hockett and her fiancé, Darrin Fultz, traveled from Prescott to show eight of their horses. The couple run the Fultz All Star Performance Horses training facility in Prescott, and they travel to shows all over the region during horse show season, which runs from spring through early fall.
Fultz, who makes a strong impression with his cowboy attire and southern twang, said that while he makes his living working with horses, it’s more of a way of life for him. “Horses kind of get in people’s blood,” he said. “It’s just what we do.”
Atchison 10-year-old Alex Ober came to the show with his mom, Rebecca, and his horse, Belizé. Alex has been coming to shows for about two years, and he and his mom travel to several shows per month.
Horses appear to be in Alex’s blood too, but he hasn’t made them his whole way of life just yet. For him, the shows are just a good time and a chance to enjoy horses.
“(I go to shows) just for the fun of it,” he said. “And to ride.”