Local ride honors horse tradition

Fund-raiser benefits 4-H scholarship fund

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— The Quentin Semotan Memorial 4-H Benefit ride is more than just a fund-raiser it's an effort to bring out local folks who work and breed horses.

"I think it's important in sustaining our quarter horse history," said Trenia Sanford whose grandfather, Quentin, helped found the Rocky Mountain Quarter Horse Association.

"There's a huge history out of Routt County. A lot of the main blood lines for the whole breed came out of Routt County."

For example, in 1948, Quentin Semotan's Star Duster was the 1948 Grand Champion of Champions Stallion the top quarter horse stallion in the world. Star Duster, born in Oklahoma, was brought into Routt County and bred with famous mares to produce award-winning offspring. Star Duster even shared bloodlines with the famous race horse, Man O' War.

Sanford's mother, Jo Semotan, is organizing the range ride. She thought it would be a good way to educate some of the newcomers who may not realize the significant bloodlines of their own horses, or how big a role Routt County played in developing some of the world's top quarter horse bloodlines.

"I wanted to get the people who are really working and breeding horses together so we can get to know each other better. These days everyone's doing their own thing," Semotan said.

"I want to see them come out and support the 4-H kids and lift the recognition of Routt County's role in quarter horse breeding."

One way Semotan is trying to keep the quarter horse tradition alive is through the 4-H scholarship named after her father.

The scholarship was established in 1997 after her dad died. The $225 scholarship and plaque are awarded at the Routt County Fair every year in the horse breeding category with an emphasis on quarter horses, though it's not required that it be a quarter horse.

The scholarship fund ran out of money last year.

Knowing she'd have to do something to re-juice the fund, Semotan believed a range ride along the same area where she and her father used to ranch would be a great idea.

"We're taking the same trail where we used to take our cattle to the range," Semotan said.

The day-long ride, which includes a lunch at Lilly Lakes, will begin past Clark on County Road 62A on Sunday, June 24 at

8 a.m.

Tickets are $40 for youth and $60 for adults or two for $100.

Tickets can be purchased at El River Farm and Feed; Yampa Valley Feed; or the Routt County Cooperative Extension. Horses can be rented at Steamboat Lake Outfitters at 879-4404.

Sanford said the money is important to keeping Routt County youth interested in quarter horse breeding, but the ride itself could keep everyone interested in maintaining history.

"Routt County registered some of the very first horses in the American Quarter Horse Association," Sanford said. "All those million dollar horses they like to parade and show at horse shows came from the bloodlines that originated in little ol' Routt County."

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