During this year’s 98th consecutive Blowing Rock Horse Show, the main ring at the L. M. Tate Show Grounds was dedicated to the memory of Sallie and Kenny Wheeler of Keswick, VA.
The crowd at the dedication on Saturday were thrilled. The Wheeler children and grandchildren were all in tears. It was a very heartwarming affair all around and we are enormously proud that the family allowed us to honor Kenny and Sallie in this way.
The Wheelers loved their times in Blowing Rock and supported the horse show for decades. From their home base at Cismont Manor Farm in Keswick, Sallie competed in both Saddlebred and Hunter Divisions while Kenny dominated the Hunter ring with a consistent string of talented Green Conformation and Working Hunters. The couple showed throughout the United States, and at one time or another won every major championship in their various competitive divisions. Kenny’s success extended into the Breeding Division where he clinched the Best Young Horse Award thirty-four times at the prestigious Devon Horse Show.
Sallie is credited with saving the National Horse Show which was founded in New York in 1883. The show moved into Madison Square Garden 1968 and is now held in Lexington, KY. This famous event flourishes today because Sallie refused to let it fail during some tough years.
Their children, Douglas, Kenny and their grandchildren continue the family’s legacy in Blowing Rock and across the horse show world. Kenny and Sallie’s son Douglas said; “We are proud our family’s name will be on this wonderful old ring. Mom and dad truly loved Blowing Rock and we are honored they will be remembered in such a meaningful way.”
Burr Collier, Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show Foundation Chair said: “The Wheeler family has played such an important role in the history of this horse show, it is only fitting Sallie and Kenny should be recognized in this way. We are pleased and honored that the family continues their long cherished tradition at the Blowing Rock Horse Show.”
Sallie Wheeler died in 2001 and Kenny passed away in March of this year. They are beloved and truly missed by everyone at Blowing Rock and around the horse show world.