Welcome back! We’re here with our third installment, highlighting and celebrating the awesome men and women who make this iconic event possible! The weeks and months leading up to the legendary Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event are packed with planning, organizing, and lots of collaboration.
From course layout to crowd control and literally everything in between, our stewards and volunteers are the backbones of the Best Weekend All Year! Come help us pay homage to them, as we learn about why they’ve stuck with the event, their favorite memories, and learn a bit about them outside of the LRK3DE!
Meet the Kentucky Three-Day Event Volunteers!
Sheila Woerth – Course Decoration Chief Steward
Sheila has been with the Kentucky Three-Day Event for 30 years! While many of our stewards and volunteers work tirelessly behind the scenes. Their work, while not visibly obvious to spectators and attendees, this particular Steward and her team have one of the more visible tasks during the event! You’ve seen their work on the course and throughout the event since 1992 when Sheila began volunteering by assisting with course decoration.
- What are the responsibilities of the Course Decoration Chief Stewards and volunteers? – We coordinate shrubs and flowers with Dressage, Cross-Country, Grand Prix, Stadium Course Designers, and Course Builders, as well as the Land Rover exhibits and Rolex Clocks.
- How many hours on average do you volunteer for the event? – Around 300
- How many volunteers are in your group? – Four Team Leaders and 80-100 volunteers. We mulch and decorate with shrubs, the 97 elements of Cross-Country about two weeks before the weekend event. We place the flowers beside those jumps the day before we plant them, and we decorate Dressage on Monday, do course corrections on Tuesday, Decorate GP Friday and afternoons, and clear Cross-Country, then decorate the Stadium jumps Sunday morning.
- What is your favorite part about volunteering? – The pot luck lunches, laughter, and stories we all share on the Saturday we plant Cross-Country.
- Why do you volunteer with K3DE? – It’s fun!
- Who is your favorite Vendor at the event? – The ID bands Team Ride Safe sells. As for food? Food? The Schmidt’s by far!!!!
- What do you do when you’re not volunteering with K3DE? – I’m a retired Operating Room Nurse.
- Do you, or have you shown? – I owned and rode a mare, Madonna, who my friend Louise Buckmaster, competed. She was Mare of the Year for MSEDA and the Kentucky Dressage Association. I bred her to Contucci and have her daughter, Capria.
- Is there anything else you’d like to share? – This event is so incredible because of all the dedicated, delightful, and determined to succeed volunteers despite anything that is thrown their way…including snow!!!
Debbie Hinkle – XC Hospitality co-Chief Steward
It’s a tough job (they all are!) but someone has to help make sure our hundreds of volunteers and staff are well cared for! Debbie Hinkle began volunteering with the event in 1990. She started out by assisting with weight scales at the start of Phase A. and in 2012 Debbie took over as co-chief for the XC hospitality, and that’s a monumental task in itself!
- What are the responsibilities of the XC Hospitality stewards and volunteers? – Coordinate lunches for all staff and volunteers working on XC Day. Separately, I and Bev Henson sort, fold and box all the volunteer memorabilia for the various groups of volunteers and staff.
- How many hours on average do you volunteer for the event? – 40-50 for the two jobs combined.
- How many volunteers are in your group? – 18
- What is your favorite memory of volunteering? – In 1987, my young daughter was shown around the stabling area by Canadian rider Jamie Smart and she was introduced to his mount Sudden Impact. His horse’s barn name was the same as my daughter’s, and she was so excited. Her event career began right then.
- Why do you volunteer with K3DE? – The horses are beautiful, and the fellowship is enriching.
- Who is your favorite Vendor at the event? – Barbour and those frozen lemonade folks!
- What do you do when you’re not volunteering with K3DE? – I’m a retired telephone company engineer.
- Do you, or have you shown? – I was an event mom, with my daughter riding through Intermediate and Young Riders, and we bred Hanoverians when the kids were at home. I have done most of the volunteer jobs for an event, and have been working for and with Mary Fike on her events since 1981. Best job – XC Starter; Worst job – anything that involves sitting still.
Thomas Gable – Chief Farrier
As you can imagine, competitors, mounted stewards, outriders, and event horses still need their feet managed during such a big week! Thomas Gable is the man for the job! Thomas has been with the K3DE since 1993 when he started as a farrier, and moved into the chief position in 1996.
- What are the responsibilities of the Chief Farrier, stewards, and volunteers? – We handle farrier work for all K3DE horses, competitors, and outriders.
- How many hours on average do you volunteer for the event? – 12 to 14 depending on the day.
- How many volunteers are in your group? – We have on average 7 to 10.
- What is your favorite memory from volunteering? –There have been many, but the best would have to be when we shod Welton Envoy ridden by Blyth Tait in 2000, they won that year.
- Why do you volunteer with K3DE? – I had clients who would outriders and I wanted to see for myself.
- Who is your favorite Vendor at the event? – Bourbon chicken.
- What do you do when you’re not volunteering with K3DE? – I’m a Journeyman Farrier.
- Do you, or have you shown? – I have not but my Daughter has, does that count?
Carolyn A. Borgert – Chief of Fence Judges, Communicators, Stopping stewards & Interior Crossing Guards
When we say our collective volunteers and stewards have combined decades of experience, we actually mean over hundreds of years worth of collective volunteer work with this incredible event. Carolyn has been volunteering with the Kentucky Three-Day Event for 40 years! In 1982, Carolyn signed on as an Assistant Fence Judge, and in 1992 she became the Chief of 4 incredibly important groups of volunteers.
- What are the responsibilities of the Chief of Fence Judges, Communicators, Stopping stewards & Interior Crossing Guards stewards, and volunteers? – Acquiring volunteers; training volunteers; assembling swag bags, & positioning volunteers. My assistant, Rudy Vogt, is a great help! Debbie Hinkle helps with lunch coordination, swag bag prep & Interior crossing briefing. There are teams of volunteers (Matheny family) that come to help also.
- How many hours on average do you volunteer for the event? – 150 – 250 hours if you include the hours to contact volunteers & obtain replacements.
- How many volunteers are in your group? – Usually, about 225 volunteers to cover all the areas. There is a briefing on Friday night & they work cross country on Saturday.
- What is your favorite memory of volunteering? –The year that the movie, Sylvester, was filmed at the show was lots of fun. It is always exciting when members of Britain’s royal family attend.
- Why do you volunteer with K3DE? – Giving back to the sport that we all love is very important!
- Who is your favorite Vendor at the event? – It is always exciting to visit all of them to see all the new items!
- What do you do when you’re not volunteering with K3DE? – Financial Advisor & insurance agent for Cetera Financial Specialists. I am the Equine Manager for BreyerFest. I am a USEF Technical Delegate for Eventing, Dressage & Vaulting. I am also an FEI Level 1 Steward for Eventing, Dressage, Para-Dressage & Vaulting.
- Do you, or have you shown? – Rode western when I was really young. Competed hunter/jumpers for many years in my 20’s & exercised racing Arabians. I did a 50-mile endurance competition at Battle Creek Hunt. It had slides that were steep & long. I later rode dressage for many years.
- Is there anything else you’d like to share? – A show of this size does not come together without the help & coordination of all the chiefs, volunteers & staff. We are like a huge family & we all look forward to seeing each other every year. For many years, my parents came to help me at the show. Many wonderful memories!
We want to thank you all so much, for everything you do! Stay tuned for the fourth and final part in our series, featuring even more of the incredible Kentucky Three-Day Event volunteers!