Ex-Weston cowboy rides into quarter horse big leagues - Etcetera - 11/19/13

Kirk Hall shows what ranch horse maneuvers look like while working a calf. The former Weston resident is set to compete in the senior working cowhorse class on Wednesday at the American Quarter Horse Association World Show in Oklahoma City.

Kirk Hall shows what ranch horse maneuvers look like while working a calf. The former Weston resident is set to compete in the senior working cowhorse class on Wednesday at the American Quarter Horse Association World Show in Oklahoma City. Courtesy photo


Former Weston resident Kirk Hall has enjoyed working with and riding cow horses so much that the time has fairly flown by.

The expertise he’s gained from years of ranching on horseback qualified him to compete in the American Quarter Horse Association World Show senior working cow horse class. The show started Nov. 8 and runs through Saturday in Oklahoma City.

Aiming to go for the win, Kirk said by phone on Nov. 13 that “We’re gonna give it our best shot.” He had just arrived that day at the show. Wife Shelly will fly in today to watch Kirk compete Wednesday.

“Kirk learned his animal husbandry skills growing up on our ranch near Weston, but the reining/cowhorse training has come through years of working with many horses and learning from other trainers such as Pat Parelli,” said Kirk’s mom, Brenda Kirk, a teacher who now lives in College Place.

This will be his first time out in an AQHA show, making him a “little guy up against the professionals,” Brenda noted.

To qualify, Kirk won his circuit in the Midwestern states. He will ride Semi Dry China, a 6-year-old bay mare he has trained since she was a yearling, and now owned by Mick Anderson of Custer, S.D. The working cow horse event combines both a reining pattern and working a cow down the fence, Brenda said.

The 1997 Weston-McEwen High School alum grew up on the family ranch outside Weston. Post-graduation from the University of Montana, Kirk ended up in South Dakota. The Halls and sons James, 8, and Kaden, 5, live and work on their ranch near Hot Springs, S.D., where Kirk trains horses with his business, Hall Performance Horses.

The ranch also has buffalo, milk cows, chickens and a small herd of Angus cows, according to his website, hallperformancehorses.com.

Kirk has been training full time for eight years and cultivated his love for cow horses eight years ago. He shows cow, cutting and reining horses around the Midwest. Shelly’s 4-H and rodeo background tie in nicely for AQHA non-pro competition in reining and working cow horses. The Halls home-school their sons, who ride, compete in mutton bustin’ and show in AQHA shows.

Kirk is also the son of Gary Hall, who lives in Delta Junction, Alaska.

Folks in retirement facilities, schools and other area locales benefited from the artistic handiwork of Camp Fire Walla Walla After School campers, who decorated pumpkins as part of their Halloween festivities.

The pumpkins went to Wheatland Village, Washington Odd Fellows Home, Blue Mountain Humane Society, Walla Walla Public Schools and Walla Walla Area Crime Watch for the D.A.R.E. spaghetti feed.

“These are in appreciation for the support that each of these agencies give to Camp Fire Walla Walla,” said Peggy Needham, communications coordinator.

For more details about Camp Fire programs and activities, see www.wwcampfire.org or call 509-525-3180.

Through an ambitious effort, the nonprofit Kirkman House Museum hosted a whirlwind of events under the Festival of Converging Histories umbrella Nov. 8-9.

Despite a massive marketing campaign that reached at least three times more people than normal, attendance was much lower than anticipated and lower than what was needed to be profitable, said Rick Tuttle, a member of the Kirkman Board of Directors.

The weekend focused on the traditional Victorian age, spiced up with a trend seen in contemporary times: steampunk. Both are tons of fun for those who love to dress up and who are interested in the period named for Britain’s Queen Victoria, and steampunk, which takes elements of the time and soups it up with steam-driven elements — think cogs, wheels, goggles and whiz-bang “weapons” that look as though they came a bit later on when the steam-driven era took hold.

As part of the weekend, Gesa Powerhouse Theatre featured Professor Beebe’s Emphatically Spectacular Variety Show, which drew an audience of 106. NERDprov’s improvisational comedy used suggestions and participants from the audience.

From Walla Walla, Troupe Azure who did a number of steampunk-based belly dance routines never before seen in this timeline, Rick said. A fashion show featuring everyday steampunk designs by Eliza Van De Rostyne completed the first half.

After intermission, Steampunk Sorcerer Master Payne bamboozled the audience and Miss Haley Bombshell Boutique from Kennewick offered more steampunk fashion.

“For the final act Professor Beebe produced another NERDprov group from a different alternate reality which left the audience laughing right to the end.”

The first Whispered Memories Psychic Fair at the museum drew 50.

The group session was joined by six other psychics, each working in their own fields of expertise.

Meanwhile, downtown at DaMa Wines, two vendors offered steampunk wares. By wearing Victorian or steampunk clothing into participating establishments, festival goers received discounts at certain downtown wineries, Frosted Cupcakes and Bright’s Candies.

The Grand Victorian Ball on Saturday night culminated the whole shebang at the historic Sharpstein School. “The gymnasium was decorated with chandeliers and the lights were dimmed to give an air of elegance,” Rick said. Garbed in their finest steampunk, Victorian or modern regalia, 42 participants danced to the 12-piece Country Dance Orchestra from La Grande, and caller/Dance Master Dan Clark.

“We lost $1,160,” Rick said. “We were not able to secure sponsorship, which would be necessary to do further events of this nature. I expect to continue the Psychic Fair expansion from just the traditional Whispered Memories because that portion was profitable.

Perhaps having the events under the umbrella of the Festival of Converging Histories and it being the first year confused folks as to what it was all about.

“We also think they didn’t understand what Steampunk was about and that it is merely an extension of the Victorian. The intent was to model the event after what Port Townsend (Wash.) is doing, with the large festival concept with many activities during the weekend and hundreds of people running around town in costume.”

“I think a lot more education needs to take place in Walla Walla about Steampunk in particular in order to have successful events here,” Rick said.

“We are a great town to have such events because we are a Victorian town in nature. I think we could eventually create Steampunk and Victorian weekends like Port Townsend, but the town’s businesses and tourism entities need to get behind the idea and support it.

“In the mean time we would like to continue, or create the tradition of the Grand Victorian Ball once a year, but finding suitable space and funding has been a big problem. We need sponsorship for the Ball as it is not fair to continue to ask the band, sound guy Rich Monacelli and the dance caller to provide services for free.

“Walla Walla does not have any other event like this where you can really dress up and celebrate our heritage and we should.”

Based on comments that were nothing but positive, Rick said the people who attended had a fantastic time. “If you were on the fence about the Variety Show you really missed out! It’s a real shame.”

Putting great effort into the festival were Dan and Barbara Clark, Rich Monachelli, Thomas Beebe, Judith Poirot and family and Tim Hall.

Should you be interested in the costume aspect of this event and want to be ready for next year, Rick said men’s discounted formal wear suitable for the ball can be found at Mr. Formal Outlet in Portland and suggested that people occasionally check out local second hand stores for bargains.

At secondhand stores, women can find dresses that can be modified into ballgowns. Wedding dresses, in particular, make good gowns with a little creativity. Oh, and Google something along the lines of “steampunk fashions,” which brings up a wealth of options to buy and provides ideas for jewelry, hats and clothes.

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at annieeveland@wwub.com or 526-8313.


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