Cowgirl Grit" Turns Recognition Banquet Into Online Celebration For Local Winners

By Lori Johnson

Since 2005 Cindy Kanarowski-Peterson and husband Lyle Peterson of Red Ridge Ranch in Mauston, WI have hosted a Gymkhana Series at their arena. The season runs every Thursday night from June until September with hundreds of competitors coming from all over the WI as well as other states.

Competitors range from those just starting out all the way to a multiple time NFR barrel racing qualifier. Points are tallied throughout the season in Individual events as well as All Around Champion and Reserve Champion in three age divisions. The season is capped off with a celebration in the spring of the following year. This year winners got to choose their prizes and everyone was looking forward to them being presented at their April, 2020 annual banquet to celebrate the success of the 2019 season.

Little did they know at the time, that their awards banquet, along with most everything else in the country, would have to be cancelled because of the precautions having to be taken because of the corona virus.

But did that faze the organizers of the event? Absolutely not! Rather than to cancel completely, a clever idea was presented to hold an online version! Winners were congratulated, descriptions and pictures of the prizes won were shown on social media - all in the safety of their homes.

The names of the winners, events and prizes won are as follows:

The 2019 Tiny Tot All Around Champion was Kelsey Lien of Hixton. 2019 was her fifth and final year competing as a Tiny Tot at Red Ridge as she'll have to move up to the junior age group this season. She chose a set of Shoo Fly boots, a wither strap and a headstall/cinch strap set as her individual awards and picked out a Corriente saddle in all her favorite colors for the All Around award.

Caiden Lien of Hixton was the Tiny Tot All Around Reserve Champion. The aspiring bull rider chose a custom trophy bull bell, rodeo gear bag and red, white and blue headstall for his individual awards and a bull riding vest for his All Around Award.

Corrin Henry from WI Dells was named 2019 Junior All Around Champion. She is receiving a saddle and headstall as well as a noseband, headstall, a set of stirrup hobbles and a key fob.

Victoria Hamus of Lyndon Station was named 2019 Junior All Around Reserve Champion! She chose a buckle for her all around award and a wither strap, bronc halter, and set of spur straps for her individual awards.

The 2019 Open All Around Champion was Jenni Lien of Hixton. She chose a roping saddle all decked out in royal blue. a wild horses tote and a Red Ridge Ranch jacket..

The 2019 Open All Around Reserve Champion was Ella Snyder of Mauston. She is receiving a trophy buckle tumbler for her all around award, a bronc halter and rope bag for her individual awards.

Other Award winners for 2019 were: Alyssa Opalewski, Dalton, WI , Marissa Gilbertson, Arkdale, WI, Hailey Kolb, Wi Dells, Alexis Denofrio, Mauston, WI, Steven Asdigian, Mauston, WI, Brice Henry, Wisconsin Dells, Camilla Hauser, Beloit, WI, Jessica Tauber, Hillsboro, WI, Bailey Jo Blado, New Lisbon, WI, Kate Onell, Rio, WI

Everyone was recognized in individual posts with pictures of their prizes and congratulations! If you clicked on the Congratulations in the post, the screen would fill with balloons and confetti so an air of celebration was achieved, almost as good as it would have been with everyone cheering, had they been able to meet together.

Awards/banquet chairperson, Jenni Lien thanked all for “attending” the awards banquet - online edition! Depending on the state of the area, the plan is to start the new season on June 4th and the 2019 prize winners will be recognized there as well. It was a great 2019 season and let's hope 2020 only gets better from here on out.

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