Claim Jumper Pony Club has won the Flash Team Award at the USPC National Meeting 2016!
Butte Fire vs. Claim Jumper Pony Club
By; Erica Kirchgatter, C-1 member of Claim Jumper Pony Club.
On September 9, 2015 the Butte fire broke out on Butte Mountain Road in Amador County, just outside Jackson, CA. The fire began to close in on Mokelumne Hill and Mountain Ranch CA. For Claim Jumper Pony Club that was bad news. Their club storage unit was located at Hidden Valley Ranch in Mountain Ranch CA. The owners of Hidden Valley Ranch, Shannon, Dean, Alexandra, and Isabella Linton, were former Pony Club members and had 4 horses on the property along with other animals. The Butte Fire was moving directly towards Hidden Valley Ranch. Noticing the flare up the members of the Claim Jumper Pony Club collaborated a plan to evacuate the unit and help the Linton family any way they could. So, on September 10th their plan was set in action. Four members came to help, along with their families. Those members were Erica Kirchgatter, Brandon Starks, Griffin Starks, and Taylor Fautt, their family members were Tina Kirchgatter, Tricia Starks, and Janna Fautt. The club even had some extra helpers such as Conner Kirchgatter, Erica Kirchgatter’s brother, Scott Griffiths, a former Pony Club Father with a sister who graduated with her B certification, and Valerie Strait, a grandmother to 3 of our members. Jeff Fautt, Taylor and Morgan Fautt’s uncle was also there to help. Around 7:30 pm everybody met at the Zippy-Mart gas station, just outside Valley Springs CA, to touch base with each other before going to Mountain Ranch CA. When they arrived at Hidden Valley Ranch they found out that the Butte Fire was moving closer to the area and was only 6 miles away. The members had just enough time to remove 52+ saddles and a few of the bridles, filling 2 truck beds and a 10 seater van. All of this tack is used for Tack O’Rama; which Claim Jumper Pony Club needed for the up and coming clinic in March of 2016 for the Middle California Region. After the members loaded what they could fit into their vehicles they brought all the tack to Tina and Eric Kirchgatter’s house, where they have an extra unit for all of the tack to go into.
The fast moving Butte Fire continued to move toward Hidden Valley Ranch, causing the Linton family to evacuate around 3:30 am Friday morning. Their fast evacuation caused them to have to open their gates and let their 4 beloved horses loose. Shannon Linton wrote their cell phone number on their palomino gelding’s neck so they could be contacted. Hearing the news about the former pony club family, CHP Officer Tim Fautt, father to two of our pony club members, escorted Chad Strait, uncle to three of our member’s and some of Chad’s friends up to Hidden Valley Ranch to retrieve the Linton’s 4 horses. When they arrived, they found all 4 horses safe and sound. After they quickly loaded the 4 horses with the help of the Griffiths, the Linton’s neighbors, into the trailer, they headed to the Calaveras County Fairgrounds in Angels Camp CA the main animal evacuation center,where they dropped the horses off safely and head back up to evacuate more animals.
On Friday, September 11th, Chad Strait and his friends were accompanied by Janna Fautt. They went back up to Hidden Valley Ranch in Mountain Ranch CA with Tim Fautt as CHP escort to see if anymore animals were left up in that area, they also went to retrieve more of Claim Jumper Pony Club’s tack from the storage unit. Along with a very angry llama, a herd of sheep and their guard dog, and two pigs who were injured, Chad, his friends, and Janna got 20 storage tubs of bridles out of storage unit. They dropped off the animals at the Calaveras Fairgrounds, then brought the bridles to the Kirchgatter’s home. At 2:00 am, Tina Kirchgatter, Eric Kirchgatter, Janna Fautt, Chad Strait, and the other animal rescuers unloaded the 20 storage tubs of bridles into the Kirchgatter’s extra storage unit. Throughout the entire weekend, Chad and the other animal rescuers made it their highest priority to remove any and all animals needed to be evacuated from the fire zones.
The fire eventually made its way around Hidden Valley Ranch, only to change directions and
make its way back towards the beautiful valley. Luckily the Firefighters were in the area when
the fire change directions and were able to stop it from getting to the Lintons house along with
all their neighbors and the storage unit, which still had an entire library's worth of books.
Sadly, the Linton’s lost an outbuilding with family tokens and their neighbor lost her art studio.
With all the help from so many wonderful people, the Linton Family still have their beloved
horses and home, while Claim Jumper Pony Club still have their equipment and library for
future members and Tack O’ Rama.
Western Champs Results! These are the team results. Individual results can be found at http://www.ponyclub.org/?page=chwresults. Congratulations to all our Mid Cal competitors – you were AWESOME!
Training Level - Overall
Training Level - HM
First Level and Up – Overall
First Level and Up - HM
Introductory – Overall
Introductory - HM
Developing Horse and Rider - Overall
Developing Horse and Rider - HM
Overall Team Results
Santa Cruz County Pony Club hosted Mid Cal's Qualifying Tetrathlon Rally in Santa Cruz on June 25th-27th. Thank you to SCC PC and all the volunteers who made this happen. We had 15 competitors: 1 10&under, 3 Prenovice, 2 Novice, 6 Intermediate, 1 Junior, and 2 Horsemasters. Nine competitors qualified for Western Championships! Go Middle California!