By all accounts, the Surface Creek Saddle Club had a successful summer this year. Competition was keen in the 2018 Saddle and Buckle Series gymkhana. Horses and riders were impressive and spectators were plentiful. It was almost perfect -- almost.
Now comes the hard part as the nonprofit group's volunteer board meets this month to decide the best way to manage its scarce resources. There's a lot to be done to continue the club's efforts to provide a safe and competitive environment for horse enthusiasts of all ages and the community is already stepping up to help.
Tate Locke of Cedaredge's Cristee-Meade Building Company donated the materials and labor to erect a sturdy frame for a new steel arena sign. The sign itself was fabricated by Paul and Tracy Dill of TP Services who donated their labor to create a beautiful work of art at the entry to the arena grounds. Andrew Biszant of APB Tree Services brought his "cherry picker" to the arena to help several other volunteers hang the sturdy metal sign. There are plans to add a bulletin board below the sign to post notices and recognize the saddle club's generous sponsors and amazing group of volunteers. And finally, after years of running an extension cord to the contestant sign-in booth, West Elk Electric, a long-time patron of the Saddle Club, donated the labor to install permanent electrical lines and added new outlets and interior lights as well as a motion sensor light to the rear of the building.
So what's left?
The saddle club needs a tractor with more horsepower and four-wheel drive to work the arena grounds. They're hoping to replace their ancient machine with a donated one but, if not, they'll sell their current tractor and use their limited resources to purchase a used off-brand tractor. They've identified a possible replacement and the price looks affordable. It will be a challenge to repair but Varner Equipment in Delta has pledged to make sure parts are available.
Then there's the wall.
The saddle club grounds consist of two performance areas: a race track and an arena. The track is on higher ground and the wall separating it from the main arena needs to be replaced. The club is seeking a contractor who can construct a stem-wall and frame to which existing fencing panels can be attached. The ideal wall will also include plumbing for sprinkler heads. The club will be seeking at least three bids from contractors and they are hoping for a bargain price. The selected contractor will receive lots of benefits. The company will be promoted on the club's webpage and Facebook page and their company name will be prominently displayed as a corporate sponsor on a permanent arena sign.
Other needs which the club hopes a donor will step forward to provide are:
• Roofing for the grand stands to protect spectators from sun and rain.
• Remodeling of the arena bathrooms.
• A reel for the fire hose used to wet down the arena.
• Two laptop computers to make the best use of event timing and recording software.
The club's volunteer officers will meet in September to discuss ongoing arena maintenance and begin planning for next year's events. The saddle club is a nonprofit organization which is operated entirely by volunteers. Any individual or business desiring to contribute time, materials, services, or funds to the club's efforts is urged to contact Keith Stillings, president of the Surface Creek Saddle Club, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Melinda Katchur, secretary/treasurer, at MelindaKatchur@gmail.com.