BROOKINGS, S.D. — To get 14 Six Horse Hitches to line up for final placement in the show ring at the Dakota Royal Charity Draft Horse Show June 23 & 24 in Brookings, SD…it will take a bit of ‘traffic control’ via voice and hand signals. That is when the skills of a seasoned announcer and a well-qualified ring man will be put to the test before the audience. After the dozens of volunteers direct the skilled hitch drivers of tons of horses to the Swiftel Center’s show ring, the ‘traffic control’ duties are then up to Announcer Keith & Ring Man Walter, Jr., who both have decades of experience to ensure they can complete their ‘traffic control’ tasks.
As a third generation horseman, Announcer Keith Tongen, Brownton, MN will use his voice to communicate to the hitch drivers during the competition, line up and award placing announcements. During the entire competition, the audience should keep a close eye on the ring action and the calm hand signals. Much of the information to the Announcer will be ‘hand signaled’ from Ring Man Walter Schaefer, Jr of Sioux Falls, SD who must communicate with the three judges to relay info to the announcer. He will rely on his lifelong draft horse experience at Schaefer Belgian Farms in Winfred, SD to keep the classes running smoothly.
Announcer Keith Tongen and Ring Man Walter Schaefer, Jr will use their quiet communication skills to work as a team to ensure that the fast paced show ring action of the one ton equines always trots in a smooth direction, including reversals and parking the hitches for line up for final placing. This calm direction (without scratching the wagon parked next to you!)…makes all in the audience ask…’How can they do that when parking at the Mall is hard for me?’ Bring your camera to see the skilled drivers and their draft horse hitches all lined up in the show ring! Do the math…14 six horse hitches parked in the show ring…how many tons of horse power is that?
Have your show program judging page open and mark your placings to see how your eye measures up to the three well qualified judges. The 2018 judges are: Iowa natives Terry Pierce from Oakland, Iowa and BOB ROBY, from Rockwell City, Iowa. Joining them is LYNN APENHORST from Spring Valley, MN. After the trotting action is complete and the 14 Six Horse Hitches are parked, the three judges will make their final inspections. When the final placings are announced, the 14 six horse hitches then need to navigate out of the show ring and even more expert skills from the hitch divers will be on display for you to enjoy!
The volunteers who coordinate the only South Dakota Draft Horse Show that hosts a North American Six Horse Hitch Classic Series event do not take this historic event lightly! Dozens of volunteers travel from many states to ensure that the view from the AC stadium seating in the Swiftel Center is memorable. Much work is done behind the scenes to make for a fast paced event for all ages to enjoy. With 14 Six Horse Hitches from 10+ states entered to compete, the Dakota Royal Charity Draft Horse Show at the Swiftel Center in Brookings, SD will be historic. Six Horse Hitches from across the US entered include:
1. All Star Farms (Percherons) from Ohio & Michigan-NASHHCS Champions 2016-17
2. Ames Construction-Ames Percheron Farm from Minnesota- NASHHCS Champions 2011-12, 2007-08, 2002-03, 2001-02
3. Blue Ribbon Days Percherons from Missouri, Iowa & Indiana- NASHHCS Champions 2014-15, 2013-14
4. Broken Spoke Clydesdales from Kansas
5. Dakota Thunder Shires from South Dakota, trained in Minnesota
6. Heritage Hill Farms (Belgians) from Michigan
7. Hidden Y Ranch (Percherons) from Colorado
8. Pittman Percherons from Minnesota
9. Schreiber Percherons from Minnesota
10. Shining Star Percherons from Iowa
11. Solomon Clydesdales from Kansas, trained in Iowa
12. Willow Creek Belgians from Illinois
13. Young Living Percherons from Utah
14. Zubrod’s Percherons from Oklahoma
Get ready to show some true South Dakota hospitality to each of the hitches who have traveled from all across the US to compete in this national level draft horse show! The Swiftel Center doors open @ 11am Saturday & Sunday so you can visit the gentle giant hitches, their crews & many vendors BEFORE the show! Don’t forget to place your bids for the Silent Auction items to help youth in the Draft Horse community! NOTE!!–This SD show is unique by starting with the six horse hitch competition at 1pm daily, as its first class, so don’t be late! Enjoy marking your placings in the show’s program, and see how your eyes compare with the 3 judges!
Additional hitch classes of fours, unicorns, teams, carts, ladies & youth, along with farm team contests will provide plenty of show ring action for a family afternoon. Be sure to visit the barns after each show to interact with the gentle giant draft horses and chat with their drivers, and the crews who have traveled from all across the US to compete in this national level South Dakota show.
Tickets are available at the Swiftel Center in Brookings, SD, or at the door the day of the show. Admission is $10 adults & $5 for 11 & under. With free parking, AC comfort, stadium seating and an elevator, a multi generation family afternoon is easy. The Brookings ‘Dakota Royal’ draft horse show has become a very popular Midwest destination to anchor a family vacation and enjoy all that SD has to offer. Learn more about the horses and crews from across the US traveling to this national level South Dakota show via the facebook page “Dakota Royal Charity Draft Horse Show.” https://www.facebook.com/dakotaroyaldraftshow/
— Dakota Royal Draft Horse Show