Kotschevar named top rider in horsemanship contest

This article submitted by Cheryl Veldkamp on 10/20/98.

Several members of the Stearns County Sheriffís Mounted Reserves loaded their horses into trailers and headed for the Zuhrah Shrine Barn near Maple Plaine to train with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police from Oct. 5 to 7.

Jim Kotschevar was named the top rider after the three-day training session with 54 riders from a three-state area.
The Stearns County unit felt they had learned so much at last yearís session, they wanted to attend again. Of the 28 members in the Stearns unit, only nine took their horses to participate and five attended as auditors.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police were represented by two knowledgeable men with many skills and working drills to pass onto the 16 different units at the seminar. Most of the units were police mounted units but a few unpaid volunteer units also participated.

The seminar lessons included equitation, drill formations, jumping, crowd control, search and rescue techniques, and police procedures.

On the last day, a competition was held to determine the most desirable horse and rider units for the type of work being targeted by this training. Some of the obstacles in the test were to weave a pattern near a highway flare, pushing an object with the horses shoulder, crossing a bridge with flapping plastic around it, turning on the forelegs of the horse, and traversing a pit of cans and debris. All of this was performed to the accompani-ment of high decibel jock-rock music.

Performance was judged by two judges based on ability to perform the obstacle and good horsemanship.

Early in the test, the top two units were Stearns County unit and a unit from Waterloo (Iowa) Police Depart-ment. The Stearns unit pulled it off with the top four individual scores and no one place lower than 20th.

Stearns averaged 90.5 to Waterlooís 75 to take top honors.

Participants from Stearns County Sheriffs Mounted Reserve were Jim Kotschevar, Ken Zitur, Nancy Schmitz, Arnie and Cheryl Veldkamp, Steve Blenker, Mary Kay Kotschevar, Judy Guyer and Rick Baron. Auditors from the Stearns unit were Vi Pramann, Jeff Schmitz, Linda Fisk, Rod Haren, and Mary Lou Zitur.

Units participating were: Plymouth Police Department, DeForest Police Department, Crow Wing County, Anoka County, Maple Bluff Police Department, Mt. Horeb, Carver County, University of Wisconsin-Madison, LaCrosse Police Department, Stearns County, Water Loo Police Department, Milwaukee County, Wright County, Goodhue County, Minneapolis Police Department, Duluth Police Department, Milwaukee Police Department and Hennepin Parks.

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