Pony Express 4-H Club founder recognized during county fair
CENTREVILLE — On Saturday afternoon, Aug. 13, as the 74th annual Queen Anne’s County Fair was concluding, Bev Platzke-Shamer, the founding leader of the Pony Express 4-H Club in 1976, was recognized for the work she did starting the club so many years ago. Most of the 36 4-H children who kept their horses at the horse barn for the week during fair had never met PlatzkeShamer.
She was introduced as the person most responsible for having the horse barn built at the 4-H Park, which was first dedicated, Aug. 12, 1986. So, the horse barn also “celebrated” its 30th anniversary during the 2016 fair.
The Queen Anne’s County Fair has one of the few 4-H Parks in the state where children can bring their horses and stay on the fair grounds the entire week. It makes for a unique experience for the children and has often been referred to as “the envy of the state” for that reason.
Platzke-Shamer was the driving force back in the mid-1980s to have the horse barn built on the fair grounds. With a smile on her face, she said, “I was a thorn in the side of the Park Board back then! We brought blueprints for the way we wanted the barn/stalls built, and we did it doing old fashioned fundraising and receiving donations, and using volunteers to build it.”
She served as the Pony Express leader from 1976 to 1988.
In 1989, Don and Jackie Potter took over the “reigns of leadership” from PlatzkeShamer.
Speaking at the horse barn Saturday afternoon, Potter said, “The club was already up and running. Bev had laid it all out, and we just kept it going.”
He had said earlier, “I give Bev 95 percent of the credit for what the club became.”
The Potters ran the club for the next decade, turning it over to new leaders in 1998.
Platzke-Shamer told the 4-H’ers, “I hope all of you had a wonderful week here at the fair.”
She was presented a hanging flower basket and 40th anniversary Pony Express T-shirt with a big “Thank You” from current Pony Express Club President Jennifer Gannon, whose parents, Tom and Dottie Gannon, are the current club leaders.
The longstanding banner of the Pony Express 4-H Club, founded in 1976. The club celebrated its 40th anniversary during the 2016 Queen Anne’s County Fair. The symbol of the club is on the banner, a rider galloping his horse with the name “Pony Express” under it. The name of the club and image came from a belt buckle worn by founding Pony Express leader Bev PlatzkeShamer’s nephew, who was a member of the original club.