10/03/08 — Horse show winners take fair center stage

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Horse show winners take fair center stage

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on October 3, 2008 1:46 PM

Hannah Jones looked the part -- matching pink boots, cowgirl hat and shirt.

But the 3-year-old didn't seem too interested in helping her uncle, Kyle Lancaster, lead a donkey named Gus around the ring at Thursday night's Open Pony and Mule Show.

In fact, it took a promise of french fries from her parents to get her hand on the rope.

Hannah and other children under 6 years old opened an evening at the grandstand that ultimately belonged to horses, donkeys and a few mules.

Maryjane Davenport made her way around the ring, too, pulling on the halter rope to get her reticent animal to follow along.

Before the night was over, she had won three ribbons showing a pony and horses.

The 6-year-old said her favorite part of the show was "going in and running" the animals.

The animals might dwarf her, but Maryjane said she is not scared of them.

"I handled them real good," she said.

The daughter of Perry and Phyllis Davenport of Seven Springs, Maryjane has been around horses all of her life. Her parents buy and sale horses for a living "from here to Tennessee," her father said.

Her sister, Jessica Rasanke, was also showing horses Thursday.

Asked which of them was better, Maryjane responded, "I am."

But she does not share her secrets with her sister.

For Ben Sautter of Mount Olive, Thursday night's show was a chance for him to continue to follow a childhood passion. It also provided an opportunity for introducing his son, Wesley, to showing horses.

Wearing matching black cowboy hats, the father-son duo competed in the same category. Ben won a ribbon.

"I (showed horses) when I was really little, then my family moved to Cary and we weren't able to do it for a while," Ben said. "Then when my parents retired and moved back to Mount Olive ... I moved back and started showing again."

Sautter said it had been many years since he had shown horses at the local fair.

He added, "I really got started back up again this spring and Anna was helping me out. I had Cookie, a two-year-old state champion. After I bought her, I put her in the barn and didn't ride her very much. Then Anna got me excited about showing again. This year I have taken a grand champion with Cookie three times. We are just having a good time."

Thursday night, Sautter was showing his other horse, Second to None, for the first time while Wesley Sautter was showing Cookie.

Wesley, a student at the Sampson Early College, was making his first appearance showing a horse and said he was a "little bit nervous."

So was Cookie, who reared up on her hind legs and had to be calmed down.

One of the evening's stars, though, had no nerves as he made his way around the ring.

Last year's Reserve Champion, a white stallion named Rain Cloud and his handler, 19-year-old Mark Massey, came to take home an even bigger prize.

And that is just what they did, as Rain Cloud was awarded Grand Champion.

It was a night for the horses, indeed.

Just don't tell Hannah.

For her, it was all about the fries.