Ray's Rascals 4-H Club will be celebrating 30 years as a club. Currently in the club, from left, Olivia Zagorski, Shannon Reid, Jenna Balabuch, Jayne Meinhard, Jen Haneghan and Sheryl Haneghan. Not pictured are Lexi Reid, Bethanie Fuhrman, Julia Johnson, Lynna Comunale, Larissa Comunale, Kelsey Alcon, Erin Uzarski, Sarah Roper, Claire Verstrand, Kendra Baisch, Erika Baisch, Jenna Webster, Allie Kloock, Kara Pado and Katelyn Pado.
(Photo courtesy of Sue Balabuch)
Ray's Riding Rascals has
Ray's Riding Rascals recently
30-year history as 4-H club
celebrated 30 years as a 4-H club.
The horse club was started in 1980 by co-community leaders Keran Walkowicz and John Beier. Shortly after, Barry Zink, another 4-H leader, held area meetings to expand the knowledge of horses to the club members.
Soon Ron and Barb Tyack became leaders, and together with everyone's horse expertise, the club took off.
Meetings were originally held at the home of Walkowicz until the club expanded and then transferred to Ray Township Hall. From there it went to the Armada Library until they began renovations. The club then moved to their current site, which is the Armada Senior Citizens Center, thanks to the late Wanda Roddy, who was another former 4-H volunteer who remained active until she died last year.
Walkowicz was responsible for establishing the Grooms Class, which enabled young 4-Hers the opportunity to learn hands-on all of the parts of the horse, the saddle and the bridle and how to properly groom and tack up the horse. Classes were held weekly before show season, giving 4-Hers the opportunity to experience the class, even if they did not own a horse, and later participate in the class at the 4-H shows, as well as the Armada Fair. She was also responsible for enabling two riders to share one horse to participate in the 4-H shows. Both of these practices are still in effect today.
An annual Tack Sale dates back to the beginning of Ray's Riding Rascals. The sale is held on the first Saturday of March every year. Each year, many of the club's alumni return to work at the sale. This year the Tack Sale will be held March 6.
Besides the horse and pony project, the club participates in veterinary science, arts and crafts and many community service projects.
Walkowicz remained the sole community leader for many years and still keeps in touch with the club today. Since her long reign as community leader, there have been numerous 4-H volunteers. The current leaders are Susan and Mark Balabuch, who recently took over for Herman and Connie Houin. The club is noted for its family atmosphere and the help of many 4-H volunteers working together.
(Information provided by Sue Balabuch.)