The History of Kel-Mac Saddle Club
The Kel-Mac Saddle Club was formed in 1976 by Norman Grayson. He called together a handful of people who were interested in horses to an organizational meeting at his home. The main idea was to have family-fun oriented schooling horse shows for local people to enhance their skills for competing in AQHA, 4-H, POA, Arabian and other purebred shows.
Some of the organizing members were Julia Atkinson, Jim Biggers, Jean Blackstone, Charlie Blackwell, Randy Butler, James Davis, Robert Glover, Mr. and Mrs. Grayson, Floyd Hendrix, Ronnie Hodges, Paul Hoffman, Doyle Ivie, Babs Kelly, Nelson McCarty, Norman McGlohon, Phillip Rice, Jim Walker and Doris Wall.
The space where the horse shows would be held was donated by Norm Grayson on property he was leasing in Oconee County from Dr. Paul Keller and Dr. James J. McDonald on Virgin Langford Road; thus, the name "Kel-Mac" was chosen for the club name to honor the doctors.
All beginning work on the ring was volunteer labor and the necessary equipment was paid for from future show profits. The monthly meetings were scheduled to also include some type of training program. The meetings grew in attendance to as many as 70 members, depending on the type of program that was being presented.
The first show was held September 6, 1976. Many of the first shows were judged by judges who were just willing to donate their expertise. Because the club chose weekends for their shows that other horse clubs did not select, Kel-Mac drew participants from many surrounding counties, Atlanta and South Carolina. The first blue ribbon awarded by the Kel-Mac Saddle Club went to a 4-H youth by the name of Liz Norris showing Cooke Calabash in the English Halter Saddleseat Class. Liz continued her showing and education with the club and went on to become a county extension agent for Moultrie and Sumter Counties in Americus.
The Club sponsored a few profitable AQHA shows; however, the club was handicapped by the fact that it could not find available stalls for registered shows. Usually in April, the proceeds from the show, not exceeding $500, went to benefit the Bolshoi Research for Colic at the University of Georgia Vet School.
Due to the anticipation of Highway 316 and the inevitable sale of the property, the Kel-Mac Saddle Club moved their shows in 1989 from the Kel-Mac property to the club's present home at the Morgan County Agriculture Center.