NOVEMBER 1999 BACK ISSUE
Part of Horse Previews Magazine website. Posted on 11/05/99; 2:00:00PM.
Opening Ceremony at the 1999 Wishing Star Gallop
There were several changes to the Gallop this year. The video stallions were shown from 1pm to 2pm, and the stallions that were present were previewed between 2pm and 4pm.
Performance of "Elvis" with wish children Katie Bentley, Jourden McClain and Cortney Kiene. His performance was electrifying! Photo by Kathy Sauther.
In addition, a great new twist was brought to the stage as "Elvis" Live Productions kicked off the Opening Ceremony. What a great performer he was! Elvis Wendlandt is a magnificent, talented impersonator that has a voice identical to Elvis. He gained the admiration of all Gallop spectators. His performance was highlighted with dramatic special effects on stage, dry ice and colored strobe lights danced around, and mirror reflections brought excitement to his performance. On stage three teenage girls were dressed as his groupies in 1950's costumes. They sighed, screamed, danced, cried, and at times would faint as he performed. The audience did not know, until they all exited the stage, that these three teenage girls were Wishing Star children. What drama and entertainment they brought to the stage! You would have thought some high school drama girls were brought to the event to act. If you missed his performance, try and catch him next year. He provided quality family entertainment that pleased the young and the young-at-heart. Good choice Wishing Star!
Julie Powell and RaeAnne Pendell in a special number to debut our Ambassador of Good Will for 1999, "Because You Love Me." Photo by Kathy Sauther.
This year's Production Numbers brought a new face to the stage - Julie Powell. Losing known actress and singer April Vogel to a career move, Julie filled her shoes with class. A professional singer and actress herself, Julie Powell appeared on stage singing a very powerful song - "Because You Love Me." The music began as the sheer white drapes lit up. We saw the silhouette of a horse and child. The child was mounted and wearing what appeared to be a "Cinderella" wardrobe. Slowly the drapes opened, and in came a black stallion "Desert Dark Fire+" - owned by Dan & Suzy Braaten of Spokane, Washington. Mounted was Wishing Star's Ambassador Of Good Will for the 1999 Gallop, 10 year old RaeAnne Pendell. She was dressed in a pink and white glittery turn-of-the-century dress, with a headpiece to match and veils from the hat that flowed down her body. Around her headpiece was a diamond crown. She was a perfect princess! Three attending "pages" walked along side her; all were dressed in period coats and top hats. When she reached Julie, she was escorted from the horse to the stage. RaeAnne took hold of Julie's hand, and what unfolded was breathtaking to seen.
Production number of "Something to Believe In," and "I Believe I Can Fly." Photo by Kathy Sauther
Then several Wishing Star children appeared, Julie sat down on a chair that was center stage, and the children circled around her as she began to sing, "Something To Believe In." Ten Wishing Star children listened to her sing and then joined her in chorus. As they began to sing, more children came onto the stage and joined in. The words to the song were perfect and touched the hearts of all who were there. Upon completion of this song, Julie spoke on the importance of Wishing Star's mission for its children and the appreciated support of all who had come. She talked about her "wishes" as a child. One of them was to be able to fly. From those words she began to sing, "I Believe I Can Fly." The stage was filled with the area talent of Julie Powell, Barbara Turner, wish families, Gallop committee people, and the Janet Gorman's Children's Choir. This performance was one of the many highlights that signify the quality of the Gallop, and its prestige in the Northwest!
Ambassador "RaeAnne Pendell" talking to audience after production numbers. She wanted to give "thanks" to everyone supporting Wishing Star, and her family for being there through her battle with leukemia. Photo by Kathy Sauther
At the end of the singing productions, the audience witnessed a very rare moment. RaeAnne had asked Gallop Coordinator Barb Turner if she could have the microphone to address the audience herself. She shared with the spectators her battle with Acute Myeloid Leukemia and what life has been like for her. She thanked everyone for the support they were giving to Wishing Star, and how special her family is to her. Never in the history of the event has a Wishing Star child spoke to our audience. She was an inspiration to all that listened. RaeAnne's wish is to go to Disney World. Her family of four will soon be on a plane to that magical kingdom!
Nokata Stallion "Chief" with owner "Dale Offerman" - participating in the opening ceremony. Photo by Kathy Sauther
Another new twist added this year was a special performance by one of Darik Anderson apprentices - Dale Offerman. He performed with his stallion, "Chief." This stallion is a rare Breed known as the "Nokota" horse. He is the only Nokota stallion in the Western United States. Nokota horses are bred directly from the War and buffalo horses confiscated from "Chief Sitting Bull" in the late 1800's. They are excellent barrel and pole racing horses. These Indian horses are better balanced on their hindquarters than most breeds which gives them an uncanny jumping ability. They have unexpected strength and endurance for their size, making ideal mountain and trail horses. They exhibit the smooth "Indian shuffle," a gait desired by many. The Nokota is the last remaining strain of the "Northern Prairie Horse," and the last known strain of the Native American war and buffalo horses. It was a treat to see this rare breed, and enjoy a great performance.
Darik Anderson with Paint Horse Stallion "Chrome." They are one of the biggest draws to the event. Performing their liberty free style performance. Photo by Kathy Sauther.
After Dale's performance you could feel the anticipation from the audience. Many had not seen Darik Anderson before. Others had not seen him perform without his Arabian stallion, Bey Shahboom. The opening was once again exceptional! Smoke from behind the sheer closed drapes crept out from underneath the curtains. Music began and a dim light brightened creating a beautiful silhouette of a horse with his handler. Lights from behind the drapes were blinking on the silhouette of his new performer - Paint Horse Stallion, Chrome. Slowly the curtains opened. From billowing clouds of fog Chrome and Darik Anderson appeared. It was a breathtaking entrance! These two captivated a standing room only house. The appearance, and intelligence of this magnificent stallion impressed thousands of people attending this year's event with his graceful free style liberty performance. To watch Darik performing with this new stallion was a credit to the talents of this gifted man. Chrome and Darik were a sight to be seen as they performed in an arena. It was a spectacular performance executed with obvious devotion by both horse and trainer.
In addition to the Big "D" Blankets, this year's event also offered other non-stallion service auctioned items. For many years now - in his compassion for Wishing Star's children - Patrick Swazye has been autographing a personal message on one of his posters, making it a collector's item for someone's home. When asked he has never refused. Patrick Swazye's poster, art framed by Pacific Flyway Gallery, captivated spectators and bidders. It went home with Barbara Hicks of Chattaroy, Washington. Southwest Airlines donated two round trip tickets anywhere in the U.S. Vicki Shelden of St. Maries, ID purchased the tickets. John & Joyce Wing of Wing's Fencing and Fabrication once again donated a free-standing heavy duty fourteen-gauge galvanized 12 x 12 paneled corral with a super bull gate. It sold to Dale Boles of Mead, WA. Al Randall of Pine Rock Marketing - in cooperation with Professional Choice Sports Medicine Products, Super Sweats, Ortho-Flex, Vita Flex, Rio Vista, and Lexington Safety Products donated a complete trainers package, selling to George Greasley of Deer Park, Washington. Wishing Star thanks Patrick Swayze, Southwest Airlines, John & Joyce Wings, and Al Randall. Your efforts and support will bring a smile to a little child's face.
The evening ended in great success. The stallion services auction attributing over $45,000 to the gross figure of over $77,000. Coordinator, Barbara Turner, tells us that the success of this event would not have been possible if not for the sponsors. "Our sponsors are where it begins," Barbara tells us, "but not where it ends. Gallop's success comes from the support, contributions, and donations of stallion owners, trade show participators, volunteers, businesses, and spectators. I am also proud of the horse industry. Regardless of breeds, we have all come together to work for a great cause and successful event. Everyone plays an important roll in this success story."
Patrick Swayze's framed collector's photograph during the auction. Photo by Kathy Sauther.
Wishing Star's Gallop Coordinator, Barb Turner, reminds us that as you read this article "wishes" have been completed and are currently being granted to several children. "We granted 62 wishes in the 1998/99 fiscal year, said Barb Turner. The average cost of a wish is up to $4,600. Some of the 62 wishes granted were a vehicle, music set-up, computer, Lakers game, Pro-Bowl in Hawaii, train ride, a visit to the Lego Company, family reunion in Hawaii, playground set, a visit from grandma from Mexico, a horse, dirt bike, shopping spree, San Juan trip, Wheel of Fortune, hot tub, TV/DVD, Honda car, Big Red Boat Trip, or our most popular request - Disneyland or Disney World. All who supported the Gallop should be very proud of your efforts. You have helped to make "special" children's dreams a reality. I thank you all!"
For more information on stallion services, booths, volunteering help or being a sponsor - Contact Gallop Coordinator, Barbara Turner - 466-8719 / 744-3411 or drop a line to Wishing Star Foundation, Attn.: Barbara Turner, W. 915 2nd Ave, Suite #3 - Spokane, WA 99201.