The Oldham County Thoroughbred Supporters held its first meet-and-greet Sunday as blowing rain showered the guests under the partial cover of an indoor equine exhibition barn. The barbecue dinner and meet-and-greet was scheduled to take place at Skylight Training Center in Oldham County, Ky., but a forecast of rain moved the event to Mary Lowry’s Alta Vista Farm down the road. However, the rain didn’t dampen the mood and may have even brought those in attendance more together as they giggled through the rain’s spray.
The group, which was created by Del Lowell, grew out of an article published in the Oldham Era which stated chickens had surpassed horses as Kentucky’s top crop. Through the help of the newspaper, Lowell and Joann Heppermann produced a series of articles over six weeks to educate people about Oldham County’s Thoroughbred heritage. The group’s initiative is to “re-energize and grow the number of horsemen and fans in Oldham County and beyond” through the stories of those involved in the industry.
“We do this because we love it,” said Heppermann. “There’s nothing like being part of a team. There’s nothing like watching your horse come in first across the finish line.”
Among the dozens of supporters that came out to Sunday’s event were some of the county’s Thoroughbred owners and industry workers like Annice Johnston, who foaled Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Hansen on her Land of Goshen farm; Kim Smith, founder of Second Stride, a rehabilitation and training organization that provides placement for Thoroughbred ex-racehorses; F.A.T.E. founders Jennie Rees and Beth Condren, whose mission it is to educate women about horse racing in a fun environment; and Kentucky state representatives Rick Rand and David Osbourne.
The next event the volunteer-driven organization will hold is Oldham County Day at Churchill Downs on Sunday, Nov. 4. Oldham County residents are encouraged to attend and show their support for the community.
“If we get people to the races, they’ll become a fan, an owner, a trainer, a breeder, a vet,” said Heppermann.
For more information about Oldham County Thoroughbred Supporters or to volunteer, contact Del Lowell at 502-639-1498, email Jo Ann Heppermann at firstname.lastname@example.org , or go to www.oldhamahead.org  and click on “Contact Us.”
Photo: Courtesy Oldham Ahead