MOUNTED SHOOTING AT IT’S FINEST!

 

Run ‘n Gun Ranch in Norfolk MA was the scene of the CMSA MA State Championship this past weekend.  If you do not know mounted shooting, here are some pointers indicated in the above photos.  I’m skipping the details on points and levels and the many rules;   going directly to the action.  There will be flying horses and an occasional flying hat!  You will see all levels of riders focusing on the balloons, arm outstretched; leaning toward their target, a balloon.  There are over 60 patterns to choose from for each stage and four to six stages at each event, not including shotgun or rifle.

Beside the action you will find beautiful horses mounted by cowboys and cowgirls dressed in mostly period costumes.   Did I say pretty women and handsome men all working toward their goal, reaching the next CMSA Level.  The goal:  Ride hard and shoot straight!

Mounted Shooting is a family sport and you will see riders of all ages.  And, where you find men and women, there is always the occasional romance.

So, if you are looking for some excitement, stop by the next mounted shooting event in your area.  They are held throughout the United States, and specifically for us, in Connecticut, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.  The next large event will be September 16th at 10:00 a.m. in Bethany, Connecticut – the CMSA CT STATE CHAMPIONSHIP.

YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED!

I have photographed this sport for eight years and it never gets old!

SEE YOU THERE!

(Above riders:  Sabrina Fecteau, Allison Forsyth, Cathie Hatrick-Anderson, Emily LaChance, Cara Peters, Kowboy Ken Forcier, Tom Beckman, Sue Johnson and her daughter Cheyenne, and last photo:  Sabrina and Tom.

 

 

Memories of Patricia Ann ‘Patti’ Ryan Holcomb

MEMORIES OF PATTI

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We met Patti Ryan when we moved to Wallingford in 1992.  She became our hairdresser and a lifelong friend.  No one else was ever like Patti.  She was a perfectionist; an artist – quirky; bubbly; funny; encouraging and always personally interested in her friends’ lives.

It was Patti who in 1995 persuaded us to look at a home near her, where we still reside. At first, Patti and Russ regularly walked their dog, Newman, by our house.  When their son, Jackson, was born the walks continued with Jackson as we watched him grow.  Jackson had a casual, sweet demeanor.  He began to enjoy his visits even more when he realized we had a kitty.*

Their lives changed forever in September of 2001.  Patti was talking about wanting another child.  Instead, she was suddenly diagnosed with a brain tumor, Glioblastoma.  Her son Jackson was not yet two years old.  I remember visiting Patti in the hospital during the aftermath of 9/11.

Patti was a fighter and had a caring, loving support system here in Wallingford.  After much research, Russ realized the best chance of her survival was to move to North Carolina near Duke University and the best brain cancer treatments possible.  Though they were gone, contact with Patti and caring about them never changed.  In spite of it, Patti and Russ built a life around Jackson and raised a fine young man.  We stayed in touch by phone and Christmas cards.  Through the years, we loved coming home to find phone messages from Patti:  “Jeanne!!?!!   Greg!!?!!”  We knew who it was!  She cared about everyone’s life:  my photography,  Jake’s health, Greg and anything else.  Of course, we always talked about Jackson and lately his college plans!  The future always seemed bright and the cancer remained in remission.

Sadly, in the Fall of 2016,  Patti fell ill again.  The brain tumor had returned with a cruel vengeance.  After all these years it was hard to fathom.  There was chemo and radiation  and treatments very different than 15 years ago.  Finally, a month or two ago she didn’t want to talk about it any more.  It was different now and we talked about everything else.  Last week, I spoke to Patti for the last time.

Patti was 48 and lost her life the afternoon of July 19, 2017.  It will be hard to think about this world without her.  You would have to know her to understand.  She touched many lives and retained a support system all these years.  We will dearly miss her.

Please pray for and think of her family, especially Russ and Jackson who is 17.

We will be sharing memories in November as we gather to honor Patti’s life.

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*I wrote the following story in college several years ago:

Jackson and Sweet Pea

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If our front doorbell rang in rapid succession we knew Patti and Jackson had come to visit.

Jackson was almost three and his fascination with our doorbell had an added bonus, getting to see our illusive indoor cat, Sweet Pea.

Jackson quickly learned which house on the street was ours.  It did not take long before Jackson persuaded whoever was walking him to veer toward our house and up the stairs, so he could ring the doorbell and visit for a few minutes.  Front door, back door, it did not matter.  He would stand on his tiptoes, stretching his little arm as high as he could to reach the lit button.

Jackson was a handsome little boy with beautiful, big blue eyes, very blonde hair and a charming smile.  He had a big dog at home, so our Molly wasn’t a novelty, but that disappearing kitty made him beam.  Molly would follow Jackson around the house and he would casually push her aside in search of our cat who knew enough about children to disappear – up the stairs, down to the basement, or onto her porch.  At times, the cat would sit coyly at the top of the stairs watching Jackson.  When little Jackson took Greg’s hand to go upstairs the cat dashed under a bed where she was safe.  Jackson would squat down, as children so easily do, and giggled at the reclining cat just far enough away to escape those little hands.  Poor Molly begged for hugs and pets and play time from the energetic Jackson but he just wanted to find that cat.

As Jackson grew older, he began to ride his tricycle down the street at top speed.  He would suddenly stop in front of our house and dash into our yard.  Whoever was with him was left far behind.  He was so determined to find Sweet Pea.

The last time I saw Jackson in his Mom’s car, he waved at me with blue stained fingers.  Jackson sweetly asked:  “Where’s the kitty?”, when I noticed he also had a blue tongue.  He had been playing with a friend and ended up sucking on a magic marker.

Jackson was all boy; who charmed you with his sweet demeanor.  We still talk about Jackson and his fascination with Sweet Pea.  They moved away but how sweet it would be to see them all again.

Jeanne L. Gherardi; October 9, 2002

Today St. Joan’s is Merged to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

Today we are merged with Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church (where we both grew up). Though it was a possibility this day would come, never believed it would be so soon or at all.  We could have closed so we are blessed St. Joan of Arc will be used as a worship center and the new pastor has a very positive vision for the future.

All one needs to do is drive up the driveway, feel the peace and beauty in it’s surroundings and you know it is a very special place.  Upon entering the unique structure, those feelings continue. For many people it has been a labor of love from the first day and I now know why.  This parish came together to create an environment, a welcoming place rarely found. I will always treasure my six short months at St. Joan of Arc. It was a gift of healing and caring I will never forget.

This morning I simply want to go to work and for now it is not possible.  I will miss seeing the horses every day and will miss seeing the people and being a part of this very special community.

WE WILL SEE WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS. ST. JOAN’S LIVES ON.

THERE IS HOPE…

Today, St. Joan of Arc Parish is merged to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel – Hamden

Today, St. Joan of Arc Parish is merged to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel – HamdenToday we are merged with Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church (where we both grew up).  Though it was an ever present possibility this day would come, never believed it would be so soon or at all.  It could have closed so we are blessed St. Joan of Arc will be used as a worship center and the new pastor has a very positive vision for the future.

All one needs to do is drive up the driveway, feel the peace and beauty in it’s surroundings and you know it is a very special place.  Upon entering the unique structure, those feelings continue.  For many people it has been a labor of love from the first day and I now know why.  Somehow this parish came together to create an environment, a welcoming place rarely found.  I will always treasure my six short months at St. Joan of Arc.   It was a gift of healing and caring I will never forget.

But, this morning I simply want to go to work and for now it is not possible.  I will miss seeing the horses every day and will miss seeing the people and being a part of this very special community.

WE WILL SEE WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS.  THERE IS HOPE…

 

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