The Sunset Saddle Club has been an active community club in Albert Lea, MN, for over 65 years. Our members include horse owners, riders and those who just have a love for horses. We welcome members of all ages and ability levels to connect, ride, build relationships, and most of all - have FUN!
Our shows consist of classes for pleasure riders as well as game classes for those that like to race against the clock! We offer five or more closed shows each year. Closed shows are for Sunset Saddle Club members only. We also host two open SEMSCA shows each season. All riders are welcome to participate in open shows; club membership is not required.
There are also many other shows and events that are hosted at the Sunset Saddle Club arena throughout the year. It's a great place to meet and connect with like-minded horse enthusiasts!
The purpose of the Sunset Saddle Club shall be to advance the interest, knowledge, and education of horses to its members and the public. The Sunset Saddle Club is located in southern Minnesota, and welcomes members anytime during the year. We do not discriminate against anyone regardless of race, religion, age, gender, disability, or sexual orientation. We are a 501(C)(3) nonprofit classified organization. Our arena is located at the Freeborn County Fairgrounds in Albert Lea, MN, and our show season runs from late April to early October. We hold two Open SEMSCA horse shows annually. We also hold five or more Pleasure & Game shows for members only during the show season. Any person interested in horses & horse activities is welcome to contact us for membership information and visit us at a show. The public is always welcome & invited to watch any of our shows...Admission is FREE!
The Sunset Saddle Club began in 1954 with a group of young ladies who wanted to ride horses and have some fun. Becky (Buenneke) Logemann, Bonnie (Christianson) Morris, Rosemary (Egland) Flaskerud, Penny Leif and Helen (Sorenson) Mattick stabled their horses at King's Stable.
The first club meeting was held where Trophy Showcase is now located. There they found leaders who would help them with their interest. Among the first to join in the planning stage of the newly formed club were Ed, Pat and Phil Callahan and their families, along with the families of Ralph Benson, Jack Stieler, Jack Kalstad, Tom Tuberty, Earl Anderson, Wyeth Nagel, Mike Remakel and Dick Crane.
These folks helped the ladies begin what was to become the largest saddle club in the area. In the beginning, they held their meetings in a variety of places and the membership fee was a mere 50 cents. The group had a fun time competing on Sunday afternoons at shows held on area farms. The club showed at the Remakel, Tuberty, Hillman, and Spicer farms and put on a show for Moscow Days. They set up their fun "Weekend at Wykoff" trail ride in the fall.
A lot of people without horses joined the saddle club in its early days. They heard it was such a fun group that they joined in just to have fun. They certainly had fun! At year-end they celebrated with a free turkey supper and dance for all members. The saddle club has maintained the attitude of having fun with horses as it has grown over the last 65 years. The club has many outstanding members, both new and old. We have members who hold or have held judges cards, offices on local, regional and state equine organizations, have been regional and state royalty, veterinarians, vet techs, equine nutritionists, farriers, trainers, and breeders. The Sunset Saddle Club has a wide variety of members with much talent to share.
Currently, the club holds at least five closed shows each year for its members. During the 1990's, they had team penning and sorting events for diversity. At the year's end, the club celebrates with a banquet for all members. This dinner and award presentation occurs in late November. The club uses a point system to calculate year-end award totals and awards trophies for each class to the top point earners.
Each year at the banquet, Sunset Saddle Club also crowns new royalty. These folks represent the club for the upcoming year. The club royalty is selected on horsemanship, Queen salute, poise and personality. The saddle club queen has the opportunity to compete for the state Western Saddle Club Association (WSCA) queen title. The Sunset Saddle Club has had many ladies go on to WSCA royalty and Top Ten.
Sunset Saddle Club elects new officers for the year at the year-end banquet as well. Many people have served the club on the Board of Directors and as officers. These people have helped the club grow and maintain a fun atmosphere with horses for old and new members alike.
The club has also given back to the community by donating trophies for the Freeborn County Fair 4-H Show, assisting with judging teams, and helping with a school program about horses. We have invited the local nursing homes and the general public to attend our shows for free. The Sunset Saddle Club is a member of the Western Saddle Club Association (WSCA) and South Eastern Minnesota Saddle Club Association (SEMSCA). We are former members of South Central Saddle Club Association (SCSCA). We hold three major open horse shows during the year; the Mother's Day SEMSCA Show, the SEMSCA Benefit Show, and the Fall SEMSCA Show. Many of our members also belong to local 4-H clubs, FFA clubs and breed associations.
The Sunset Saddle Club meets year-round with general meetings on the first Monday of each month. They met for many years at the Rodeo Corral on the Freeborn County Fairgrounds until it burned down in the late 1990's. Meetings are currently held in the saddle club building at the fairgrounds. The club maintains their own arena at the fairgrounds, long noted as a place that is 'home' to a number of horse enthusiasts who are sharing their interests with others through club activities.
The saddle club continues to serve as a family activity that is also a learning experience and a lot of fun! In October of 2004, the club celebrated their 50th Anniversary with a fun day show and potluck supper for all current and former members. The passion and talent brought by a group of young ladies who just wanted to have fun with horses over 65 years ago is now carried on by their relatives, friends and neighbors. The joy of building confidence, gaining experience and making life-long friendships with fellow equine enthusiasts will ensure that the Sunset Saddle Club will be around for many generations to come!