Horseman and Horsewoman

The Red River Valley International Select Sire Futurity has an Award called the Horseman and Horsewoman Of The Year.
To nominate someone please contact Don Patterson

2014 Horseman & Horsewoman of the Year
Jim (Dick) and Ellie Olson

Jim and Ellie Olson
©Brose Photography
Jim Olson ("Dick" to family and many friends) and I (Ellie) met when he was a medical student at UND and I was enrolled in secondary education with an English major. Jim's sister, Claudea, was my friend and classmate who insisted that I call her brother to invite him to the Sadie Hawkin's Day dance. I was not accustomed to call a guy for a date, but after much prodding, I consented. Three years later we were married. Jim frequently asks his sister what she had against him!

We moved to Chicago where Jim completed his residency in ophthalmology and I located a teaching position at Glenview, a Chicago suburb. Three years later we returned to Grand Forks where Jim took a position as an ophthalmologist at the (then) Grand Forks Clinic. In the mid 70's Jim was one of the original twelve who started Altru where he stayed until 1999 when he retired.

I completed my Master of Education degree at UND while working as a Graduate Assistant in the Department of Education and was the assistant editor of The Graduate Record, a publication of the Graduate School. I accepted a position in the Grand Forks Public Schools where I was assigned to teach at Schroeder Junior High School. I retired from there after 27 years.

My horse love began while I was growing up on a farm near Emerado, ND. We lived on the wide open prairie where I watched my sister gallop across that prairie on her paint gelding, Nickel. I was never as brave as she around horses. But I did run up the road to meet my dad hauling a load of hay with a team of horses. My dad hoisted me way up on Prince, an elderly, kind, huge draft horse. Then I owned the world and was as proud as a queen!

Jim's early association with horses began when he mucked stalls for a veterinarian in his home town, Crookston, MN. in exchange for a ride on any horse available. He says he hasn't progressed very far because he's still mucking stalls. Jim did a bit of showing when we accumulated our appaloosas and has a Register of Merit in the amateur/owner category when he showed our halter mare, Skip's Sugar Time. He also did some pleasure riding as well. In addition Jim served on the board of the Red River Valley Horse Breeders during the 1970's.

Because my sister Sylvia loved the appaloosa breed, I chose that breed as well. Jim also decided that appaloosas would be a fun breed to pursue. In 1968 Jim surprised me with Bonny Jo of AA, a lovely 14-hand red roan appaloosa mare. From then on, appaloosas "reined" supreme!

Some of our other early appaloosas were Sunday Speck, Spade's Shadow and Miss Toma of Little Man's Creek. We were proud of their show records and valued them as good trail mounts and friends. Later we added Mighty Superior ("Supie") who excelled in halter, western pleasure, reining and roping. He even won the English pleasure class at the Minnesota State Fair as a surprise for me by handler Joey Jorgenson who had been pestered to ride Supie in that class for a long time!

We purchased Little Dimmer, an Apache II broodmare from Ward Fenton, a well known breeder, trainer, exhibitor and judge from Hysham, Montana. This was a lucky purchase for us as Dimmer was in foal to a Bold Ruler son and foaled Bold Decision for us who won a jackpot in western riding in Canada. He is still with us at 30+ years. Another offspring from Dimmer and Supie resulted in Dial Superior who was a Regional, National and Canadian pleasure driving champion two years in a row. In addition, he placed in the top 10 pleasure driving horse at the ApHC World.

In more recent years Skip's Sugar Time, a mare that was located in an Alabama pasture in a neglected condition, was rescued by Connie Caines who steered Joey Jorgenson to check her over. Joey saw Sugar's potential and convinced us to purchase her. Sugar won and Granded in nearly every class she was shown, here and in Canada. Sugar was in the top 10 appaloosa halter mares, nationwide, for two years in a row, won numerous register of Merit awards, and achieved the 100 point Superior Halter Horse from the Appaloosa Horse Club. Sugar produced two foals for us by Always's Dignified. Her first foal, Skip the Dignity ("Dudley") won the Canadian National Reserve Championship in halter and the Register of Merit after very limited showing. He promised to be an outstanding riding mount as well. Unfortunately, Dudley died a sudden, untimely death. Sugar's second foal, O Sweet Dignity ("Daffy") is currently being shown and accumulating halter points.

We both value the many lifelong friendships which our horses have given us and the many wonderful people that they have enabled us to know and love. Without the support and expert help of Vickie Dennison Anderson we would have lost our lovely Molly, a black solid appaloosa mare who sustained a bad foot injury and was not expected to ever walk again. With Vickie's persistence and care, Molly walked and galloped into her late 20's! Besides, without our dear friend Vickie's chore help we may never have taken a trip! Then there is my former "student" Holly Beaton who has made me proud as she has developed into a competent knowledgeable horsewoman and beloved friend. A long time ago, I accompanied Holly and her late grandmother Louise Van Camp to look for Holly's first horse! And now we get to watch little Ellie Jo following in her mother's footsteps.

Finally, our trophy shelves would be pretty spares without the training and handling skills of Joey Jorgenson who trained and handled our horses for nearly 40 years. His late parents, Raymond and Mary Jorgenson accepted us as part of their extended family and blessed us with so many wonderful memories.

Now we forge ahead with our newer version of the horses, Nora and Sophia, Norwegian Fjord mares who both ride and drive singly or as a team. They arrived from Wisconsin to pull our buckboard and sleigh in the winter.

2013 Horseman & Horsewoman of the Year
Jerry and Kay Gnoinsky

Jerry and Kay Gnoinsky
©Brose Photography
Jerry and Kay have been supporters of the AQHA and the Appaloosa Horse Clubs for many years. Along with breeding and raising many of their own horses, they have helped many 4H youth along the way, while being active 4H Leaders. They have also helped their nieces, Sara and Lisa Holman get their start with horses from the Gnoinksy pasture. Both girls still continue to have a love for horses and are active in the horse field. It must run in the family because now a "great" niece boards her horse at the Gnoinsky farm too. Like they say, once the love for horses is in your blood…..it never leaves you, and can continue on from generation to generation.

Jerry still raises a foal now and then. They are looking forward to another foal in March, 2014.

While "In The Mood" was playing, Jerry asked Kay for their first dance at one of Herb Johnson's barn dances. From there, "the rest is history" as they say. Jerry and Kay were married in 1975. This was an exciting year for them, as that is when they each got their first American Quarter Horse. Jerry purchased a sorrel gelding, Ready Go Cowboy, and Kay's gelding was Mac-A-Leo, a golden palomino. They moved to the Moorhead Wallstreet area, where neighbors also had horses. Jerry started a business with his brothers, "Gnoinsky Brothers Construction". He owned and operated the construction company until about 2005, when he sold it to the Strata Corp.. Kay worked for the Moorhead Technical College for many years. She grew up in Aneta, ND and Jerry was originally from Chaffee, ND. They have grown up and always been a part of our Red River Valley region and introduced us to some of the horses we have known and come to love from this region.

Some of the horses that have graced their barn include AQHA stallion Baron Bell. Baron Bell was a pride and joy stallion of theirs. Jerry first came to the realization that Baron Bell was a true winner when he stood "Grand" three days in a row at the Minnesota State Fair. Baron Bell has sired many exceptional foals…..that later went on to be winners too!

Along the way, they started breeding some Appaloosa horses. Some of the Appaloosa's they have raised, have taken them to the Appaloosa World show and the Canadian Nationals.

Their daughter Jennifer, was very active in the 4H Horse Program for several years along with Open Shows and Registered Shows. Jennifer has many fond memories of her involvement with horses. Jerry always made sure Jennifer had the best and she has proof of being a real winner with her many beautiful horse trophies. Kay has been a Horse Show Mom and Wife. She enjoys the shows from outside the arena…..always giving words of encouragement. Jerry has been and continues to be an avid horse shower since 1975. He enjoys the Open Shows, along with both the AQHA and Appaloosa Registered shows. Jerry and Kay have 3 children, Jennifer, Dave & Bon. They have been blessed with 6 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren.

A funny story Kay shared with me: When Jerry and Kay started out with horses they had a "not so fancy horse trailer" and Kay always thought they should have a nicer one. Jerry was of the mind-set that "It is not important what kind of horse trailer you have….it is important what you 'bring out' of the horse trailer when you get to the shows – and he was so right!!" They are proof to us all just how true this is!

Jerry will be in the show arena for many years to come and Kay will be there too, to cheer him on!

2012 Horseman of the Year Dr. Dick Roth

Dick Roth
©Brose Photography

Dr. Dick Roth was born and raised in the Amenia – Casselton area. In 1950 he graduated from Casselton High School. He served in the US Army from 1953 to 1955. He was a student of pre vet at NDSU from 1956 - 1958. He attended Oklahoma State Veterinary College from 1958 to 1962, where he earned his DVM degree. He worked at Stockmen's Supply in West Fargo from 1962 to 1963. He worked at the Casselton Veterinary Service from 1963 to 1984. During that time he owned it in partnership for 12 years and was sole owner for 9 years. He sold the business in 1984 and became a private swine consultant in ND, SD and MN which he currently is doing. He is enjoying horses as a hobby now. He has also worked at Valley Vet for 9 years.

His Casselton practice was mainly large animal and equine. The equine practice included surgery and artificial breeding.

He has served the equine industry at 4-H events, horse shows, fairs and has had the opportunity to speak to various equine groups. He was also the veterinarian at the opening year of racing in Fargo.

He has been privileged to own horses most of his life. An annual highlight of his family is to take a wagon and riding horses into the National Grasslands.

The most important part of his life has been his wife, Joyce and 4 children: Kim, Rick, Becky, Joe and their spouses and 11 grandchildren. His grandchildren are involved with music, dance, sports and equine activities. His granddaughter, Hannah Kingsley, is heavily involved in English equine activities and is presently a 2nd year student at Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Roth has been blessed with family, friends and horses. He enjoys life to the fullest, which is easy to see by the smile on his face.

2012 Horsewoman of the Year Barb Bruse

Barb Bruse
©Brose Photography
Barb Bruse lives on a farm NW of Horace, ND, where she grew up. She is the second youngest of six with only one brother. Barb's first 'horse' was a Shetland pony, named "Ginger". She wasn't fond of Ginger since she always wanted to bite Barb, but the pony came with the farm so she couldn't be picky. After a few more horses, Barb soon moved up to a great horse – "Smokey". Smokey was born on the family farm and still lives there. Smokey helped Barb get a few trophies along the way. He has always been her favorite horse.

Horses have always been a major part of Barb's western way of life. In her younger years, she was involved in 4-H with all the Horse project activities: showing, riding, games, and goat tying. She was also a member of the Central Valley Show Circuit. Since 1983, Barb has been an active member of the FM Posse. She announces most of the shows in the Pleasure classes. She has held the offices of President, Vice President, and Director, all more than once. She is currently the President. A few years ago, she was honored with the FM Posse Sportsmanship award. She has also won both Year End High Point and Reserve awards twice. She still competes in the Games division.

Barb has been teaching lessons, boarding, and breaking horses most of her adult life. Breaking started way back with Smokey. Breeding Quarter horses and Paints started in 1994 with Rocky, a handsome palomino stud. She has always been a friend of the 4-H kids, helping out at their Horse shows and assisting them with their horse projects and riding.

Presently, Barb has four horses at home but had 12 in the barn at one time. Her dad taught her to ride. In the eighties, her dad had a team of Percherons. They went on the 1989 Centennial Wagon train ride together, he with the covered wagon and team, and her on the horse across the state from Fort Abercrombie to Mandan. Her family went on many trail rides to the Sand Hills and to Medora. Fun times!

She is a member of the Red River Valley Fair 50 person Board. She has worked at Target for over 29 years and also owns a business, Pat's Trophies. She used to do a lot of leatherwork and play softball, but now just fits in a few games of darts and rodeos. She keeps busy with events for her friends, family, nieces and nephews. Did we mention she comes from a big family?

Barb says that riding and just being around horses is her relaxation. "I have been pretty lucky to live my entire life around horses. The best thing about the western way of life is all the people you meet. The worst is losing an animal-your friend". If she had one wish, she would love to own her own farm, raise horses, and not have another job in town.


2011 Horseman and Horsewoman of the Year
Garrie and Anne Etherton

Ann & Garrie Etherton
© Brose Photography

Everywhere you look at Etherton Farms you will see horses. Anne and Garrie Etherton live and breathe horses! They are not just in the horse business for themselves; they are in it because they love the horses and because they love helping others. Anne and Garrie Etherton have been in the horse business for over thirty years. They operate a small breeding operation specializing in halter horses. They are truly all around horse people. They ride, show, breed, promote horse education, work with youth, and they are active in horse associations and organizations.

Garrie, originally from California, was stationed at Grand Forks Air Force Base. He became friends with Mac McEwen, long time Quarter Horse judge, trainer, and breeder. Garrie rode horses for Mac. Garrie bought his long time horse pal "Cassie", a registered palomino quarter horse mare from Mac. He showed Cassie at quarter horse shows and the Red River Valley Horse Show Association. Anne, a Manvel, North Dakota native, showed her Appaloosa gelding "Marque" at Appaloosa shows as well as at the Red River Valley Horse Show Association.

Both Anne and Garrie have devoted countless hours over the years to youth education. They volunteer at 4-H clinics to teach grooming and showing techniques. Garrie has been the practice judge at mock shows for years, while Anne is helping families learn to groom for the show pen. They put the fun into learning! Not only have they helped kids with learning to show, they have provided the horse, the truck, and trailer, to get the kids to the show or to riding lessons. Many times one would see Anne and Garrie at the ND state Fair with the kids. They continue to stay in contact with the kids they have worked with over the years to see how they are doing. Anne and Garrie make lasting friendships with everyone they meet. Garrie has been known to ride a horse for it's owner at a 4-H trail ride in small circles all the way when the owner gave up. They epitomize the ideal of showmanship which is building lasting relationships with other horse enthusiasts and creating bonds with their horses, and exemplifying the qualities of good sportsmanship!
At the same time together, they love to show performance and halter horses. They successfully show Quarter Horses, Appaloosa, and Palomino horses at the state and national levels. They serve in various capacities on horse association boards. They are always willing to help out. Anne and Garrie Etherton are involved in all aspects of horse activities; from helping the backyard horse owner just getting started, youth, to raising and successfully showing World Champion registered horses


2010 Horseman of the Year Howard Cotton

webassets/howardc.jpg I feel honored to be recognized as the 2010 Horseman of the Year.

Howard is from Cummings, North Dakota, where he resides with his wife, Colette. He is a semi-retired farmer and still maintains his hobby farm, raising livestock and horses. Howard and Colette are the parents of five children, Ben, Adam, Grace, Andrea and Joshua. Their eldest son, Ben, was tragically taken in a vehicle accident in October of 2009. Adam and Sarah reside in Mandan, North Dakota with Jaylin, twins Klaire and Delaney, Avah and Blaise. Grace and Eric live in Hillsboro, North Dakota and are the parents of Morgan and McKenzie. Andrea lives in Bismarck, North Dakota and Josh in Beulah, North Dakota. Howard's family and his grandchildren are his greatest joy.

Howard has raised and shown horses all of his 66 years, starting with registered Shetland ponies in the fifties, to Arabian, Appaloosa, and at present Quarter Horses. He has 10 mares and stands an own son of Doc's Wrangler. He has always subscribed to the premise that the outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man.

Howard has several ponies to aid in the development of his grandchildren, Buttons and Bows, Munchkin, Billy and Millie. Howard has been a past educator, a 4-H leader, a member of several horse clubs and organizations over the years from AQHA, ApHC, International Arabian Club, American Shetland Pony Club and many local clubs.

Howard's father-in-law, Harold Artz, always said, "Any child that has a pony will turn out to be a constructive and productive person." Howard fully agrees.

2010 Horsewoman of the Year Dr. Jeanette Bjornstad

webassets/2010-horsewoman.jpgI have loved horses all my life. My dad was sure my twin sister, Janelle and I were "horse crazy". He finally gave in and bought us our first horse when we were nine years old. I grew up near Walhalla, North Dakota. In my junior year in high school, I decided I wanted to become a veterinarian. My husband Randy and I were married in May 1977. I attended North Dakota State University, majoring in animal science/nutrition. I was then accepted into the Veterinary program at Iowa State University in the fall of 1981 and graduated with my DVM in May 1985.

After graduating, I came back to my home area and became an associate veterinarian at the Park River Veterinary Clinic in June 1985. I began my mixed animal practice there and continued until July 1998, at which time, I decided to start my own practice, Golden Valley Veterinary Service. During the construction phase, I practiced out of my truck and house, working on dogs, cats, elk, cattle and horses, and in January 1999, I moved into my own private practice, on my farmstead, which is located seven miles west of Park River, North Dakota. I am grateful to have Dr. Charlotte Klose with me since I started on my own and within the last year, Dr. Nathan Kjelland, has joined us. We have great veterinary technicians, Wanda and Natalie, who make our work run smoothly and easily. Staslie runs the front desk and keeps the coffee pot full for all that just drop in to "visit". My husband Randy takes care of all the business aspects of the clinic. Whether large or small I enjoy all animals and so does my staff and I'm proud of them.

I enjoy working with all types of horses. I have learned a lot from my clients in the different aspects of competition and the work these horses do for a living. It's true, you learn something new every day! I have done a lot of reproduction work ups and artificial insemination. We have had semen shipped from all over the United States. It is so rewarding to see the positive ultrasounds and even more thrilling for me to see those resulting foals. I'm in my 25th year of practice. During this time veterinary medicine has continually evolved and new challenges arise. I love it more than ever.

In my "free" time I am riding one my own five Quarter horses. I have raised three geldings (Joe, Bozo & Nic) from my mare, Foxy Lady By Jack, who is now 26 years old this year. I trail ride in our area, solo or with friends and family. I've done a lot of team penning, but my favorite is going on cattle drives, whether my own cattle or a neighbors, in the fall. Nel, my other mare is my favorite for working cattle. I like going to fun day horse shows, especially the team events. I also enjoy the time spent with the 4-H groups in the local area and partaking in the Walsh County Fair held in the fall of every year. The fellowship and friendships made at these events and working with "horse" people have been a blessing to me!

I want to thank you for choosing me as the 2010 Horsewoman of the Year and I thank the Lord for the opportunity to be in a career I love and enjoy every day!


2009 Horseman of the Year Ted Johnson

webassets/TED.jpgTed Johnson is from Hope, ND. He and his wife Betty have two grown girls: Teddi Jo Paulson (husband Lawrie) and Tonya Nelson (husband Kip). He has four grandchildren: Jordan and Jessie Paulson and Cecilia and Easton Nelson. Ted and Betty lost a son, Troy, in a farm accident in 1980.

Ted started with a pony when he was 3 years old and has been hooked ever since. Don Williams and Wayne Kyser were instrumental in getting Ted involved with the Appaloosa breed. Ted was also involved in 4-H as a kid. He and Betty were 4-H leaders while their girls were involved. Ted and the girls showed in the Red River Valley International Appaloosa Horse Club and the North Dakota Horse Club. Ted and Betty hauled the girls to shows for twelve years. The last several years of their horse showing career, Ernie Wigen, of Finley, ND, joined the family at the shows.

Ted is on the Board of Directors for The Great Midwest International Horse Club. Ernie kept his horses at Ted's farm for ten years. One winter they had 27 horses together, including a team black Percherons. They gave many hay rides and sleigh rides to family and friends. Ted and family have made many a trip to Medora with their horses and enjoyed camping and riding in the Badlands with friends. Ted said, "This is about like going to Heaven."

Ted has many good memories of being at horse shows all over the Midwest. He certainly has met many, many good people by being involved in horses. Ted is still hoping for a trip to Medora yet this fall with his horse, Multiple Earnings, (Bud).

2009 Horsewoman of the Year Krista Montgomery

Krista Montegomery
© Caulfield Studios
Krista and her husband Shawn and children: Evan, Ashley and Melissa own and operate the MonteRay Ranch in Manvel, ND. The ranch offers boarding, training, stallion service, lessons, and show coaching, with clients ranging from children and adults that have never touched a horse, to students showing at their breeds world championship shows. At this time there are about 80 horses living at the ranch so it is definitely a busy place.

Krista has been involved with horses her whole life. In the mid 1970's and early 80's Krista showed quarter horses on a regional and national level. Her favorite classes were hunter under saddle and reining. She remembers that back then hunter under saddle was called Bridle Path Hack Hunt Seat and the horses were shown with double rein pelham bit bridles and people fashioned a checkerboard shape in the horses hair on the rump. Styles and horses change but the one thing that has never changed for Krista is the fact that even after all these years she still loves her job because it has been so fun and rewarding.

Krista worked at the MonteRay when she was a teenager and began breaking horses for people at the age of 17. When she was no longer showing in youth, she began to haul some very successful youth riders to shows; training and coaching them. Krista then earned a bachelors degree in Equestrian Studies from Findlay College, Findlay, Ohio. After taking a break from the horse business to start her family, she decided to reopen her mother-in-law, Annabel Montgomey's ranch. Her greatest moments have been to witness the success of her children and her students. She is very proud of the fact that her children have become such wonderful showman but even more importantly, have developed into just plain great riders.

I would like to thank my family for putting up with our somewhat chaotic lifestyle. I am especially grateful to my children, for their grace in handling times when they have had to share their life and their mother's attention with so many other people. Also I would like to thank my husband, Shawn, because none of this would be possible without his continuing support of me and of the ranch. I want to thank the Red River Horse Breeders for honoring me in this way. It is made even more special because my late mother-in-law Annabel received this very same award many years ago. She was passionate about introducing people to horses and dedicated much of her life to promoting horses in the upper Midwest. I am more than thrilled to continue her work. Her vision was to have a ranch where any level horse and rider could learn and excel and that is what I think we are continuing to do today.