Pony Ex­press 4-H Club founder rec­og­nized dur­ing county fair

Record Observer - - News - By DOUG BISHOP dbishop@kibay­times.com

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.

PHOTO BY DOUG BISHOP

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.

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