RIDERS HORSEMEN’S ASSOCIATION
By Sally Francy
Summit Riders Horsemen’s Association was formed in
1967 by mountain residents, some of whom are still members of the
organization today, 42 years later, which says something about the
camaraderie of the group.
Over the years, the Club has seen many changes of
direction, dictated by the most popular equestrian activity its
membership currently prefers, but the one constant has always remained
keeping the focus on horses, and helping new and first-time horse owners
learn good and safe practices in horse care and horsemanship.
Summit Riders activities include two annual horse
show/play-day events, trail rides, camping trips, educational speakers
on topics of interest to the membership, plus a monthly, on-line
newsletter detailing upcoming events and featuring items of interest.
You need not own a horse to become a Summit Riders
member. Simply fill out a membership application and enclose the
appropriate fee. Your application will be voted upon by the Board of
Directors. Membership is a bargain price of $30 for first-time
individual membership ($25 annually, thereafter) or $35 for first-time
family membership ($30 annually thereafter).
A membership application may be obtained by
visiting the Summit Riders website at www.SummitRiders.com.
We would love to have you join in the fun, and we
wish you happy trails.
A Previous History
Karel Waugh and Sally Francy
The club was formed in 1967 by charter members Obie Morris, Ann Morris-Riedy, Charlie and Robbie Norman, Ted and Joan Parson, Ed and Doris Sermon, Richard and Maryetta Stebbins, Paul and Ginna Muller, Jim and Lenore Caudill, and Earl and Pat Mesloh. Obie Morris served as first president for two terms, 1968 and 1969.
Summit Riders past presidents are Eddy Lopez 1970, Richard Stebbins 1971, Don Jeske 1972, Maryetta Stebbins 1973, Ted Ducca 1974, Carroll Blackstock 1975, Karel Waugh 1976 and 1977, Vince Viverito 1978 and 1979, Gerry Alonzo 1980, Dale Edgar 1981, Kay Johnson 1982, Bob Waugh 1983 and 1984, Steve Bavilacqua 1985 and 1986, Vince Viverito 1987, Becky Lowe 1988 and 1989, Lorna Steele 1990 and 1991, Karel Waugh 1992, Connie Goddard 1993 and 1994, Doris Sermon 1995, Charlotte Smothers 1996 and 1997, Ellen Carter 1998 and 1999, and Becky Lowe 2000 and 2001. The first woman elected president was Maryetta Stebbins in 1973. The last man elected president was Vince Viverito in 1987.
The club chose its name at the January 1968 general meeting. Six names were voted on. “Summit Riders” received 15 votes. The name was changed at the May general meeting to Summit Riders Horsemen’s Association. Other names considered include “Ridge Runners” and “Loma Prieta Horseman’s Association.”
In November of 1968, a letter from the Division of Highways in response to a request from SRHA for a hike/bike/ride path to be incorporated into the construction of the “new” Highway 17 overpass, said. “It would be an improper expenditure of public funds to build a hiking and riding trail on this structure at this time since expected traffic will be very light and any present-day hikers or riders could use the structure in comparative safety.”
A campaign was also started to get a pathway along the north side of Summit Road. This path was completed in the early 1970’s and extends from Villa del Monte to Loma Prieta Avenue. (Santa Cruz County extended this trail from Villa del Monte to Old Summit Road in 1997.)
Traffic conditions in the late ‘60’s and early ‘70’s were such that Doris Sermon and Maryetta Stebbins rode all the way from the area of San Jose-Soquel Road where Joan Frommhagen lived (near Olive Springs Road) to their respective homes on Summit Road. Don’t try that today.
The first annual baseball game between the LPVFD (Loma Prieta Volunteer Fire Department) and SRHA was in 1969 and continued until 1990. The losing team had to pay for the keg of beer that was consumed during the game and the party that followed. A game was scheduled for 1991, but since the SRHA team was now a bunch of “old fogies” playing against the “young bucks of the LPVFD and their Division of Forestry ‘ringers’,” only firemen showed up for the game.
Speaking of “old fogies,” an article from the junior editor of the SRHA Newsletter in 1978 referred to “Mr. Fischer, Mr. Viverito, Mrs. Johnson and Mrs. Waugh” as “those old fogies.” (Karel Waugh was then 33 years old.)
The club’s first overnight was in 1971. Over thirty riders rode to T. E. Schmidt’s property on Mt. Bache Road. Back then, we slept in sleeping bags on the ground and told jokes around the campfire until the wee hours of the morning.
Many of us remember when the senior ride and dine was an overnight with horses. The chuckwagon was hauled to our campsite, as was gear for the campers. The chuckwagon was built by Charlie Norman in 1973. It is still used at the arena during ring events.
In 1975, 28 riders enjoyed a three-day Labor Day ride to Diane Uchytil’s ranch on Larkin Valley Road. They rode 25 miles to the campsite, plus a 12-mile round-trip to the beach for day riding. Vince Viverito was in charge of cooking the spaghetti and the water wouldn’t boil. (Ever try eating real “al dente” spaghetti? Yuk.)
In the mid-70’s, gymkhanas were a major ring activity of our club. In 1976, we had 100 entries for an April playday. The 18-and-over men’s competition was usually the highlight of the day in both barrel racing and keyhole events. Young hotshots such as Jonce Thomas, Dick Rose, Ron Parker, Vince Viverito, Bob Waugh, Paul Fischer, Dave Hilst, Steve Bavilacqua, Ralph Klindt and Dick Burriss always put on a great show. Competition was fierce, but friendly, with each participant always cheering on his fellow competitors.
The 1977 installation dinner at Adolph’s in Santa Cruz cost $8.50 per person. The 1987 installation dinner at Ideal Fish in Santa Cruz cost $16.95 per person. The 1997 installation dinner at Aptos Seascape in Aptos was, depending on what you ordered, $23-$28 per person. At this rate, we will be doing bag lunches for the 2007 dinner.
The club bought Santa his suit in 1975. Ron Parker has filled the suit with less padding each year since then. In fact, Jeannie (Mrs. Santa) may have to let it out a bit next year.
In 1980, SRHA put on its first NATRC (North American Trail Ride Conference) sanctioned ride. The rides were put on annually until 1991. The name was changed to the Dale Edgar Memorial Ride after the passing of Dale Edgar, a valued SRHA member.
The 1982-83 newsletter editors, Sue and Dick Burriss, passed along the duty to Karel Waugh with this statement: “We acknowledge the warning of our predecessors, the Hilst’s, that one year was too little and two years too much.” Our present editor, Sally Francy, has hung in there for eleven years, producing issues ever since the Loma Prieta Earthquake.
SRHA has been, for all of us, a club to form lifetime friendships. A family, of sorts. It will always provide a source of getting together and sharing life’s experiences.