The 2004 Pioneer Horseman Award Recipient is Charles Davis

The Minnesota Horse Council announces the 2004 Pioneer Horseman Award. The award is designed to honor those individuals from past years whose expertise and contributions made long-lasting positive changes in the equine industry. The fourth award was announced at the Minnesota State Fair Horse Show on August 31, 2004.

The 2004 recipient is Ronald Charles Davis of Culver, Minnesota. Born in Watertown, South Dakota, Ron spent most of his life in the Duluth, Minnesota, area. When he was sixteen, he worked for and lived at the farm of noted Quarter Horse breeder and trainer Tom Kellerhuis. The love of horses began.

He served four years in Vietnam and then returned to the Duluth area. There he met and married Kit (Katherine Wedel). Ron and his wife Kit soon began breeding and showing Arabian horses.

While visiting in British Columbia more than sixteen years ago, Ron and Kit saw a herd of Norwegian Fjords in a field. Ron always said that they knew immediately that Fjords were for them. Ron and Kit were among the very first to import Norwegian Fjords to the Midwest. Since then, they have built a herd of draft-type Fjords. Their breeding program produced top-quality get that have won time and again at shows and evaluations. Ron was proudest when his horses would win for someone else. He was modest about his own talents and accomplishments as a breeder, trainer and teamster.

Ron and Kit have shared their love of horses by going to Ironworld during Scandinavian Days, giving carriage rides on the historic Skyline Ride in Duluth, driving for the Duluth Mayor Rides. They have been a long presence at the Minnesota Horse Expo providing carriage rides all day, everyday. They have long attended the Minnesota State Fair to display their horses and share information about driving horses with the many visitors. They have driven in many sleigh and cutter parades all over the Upper Midwest.

Ron always had time to talk with people to answer their many questions about riding and driving. Although primarily promoting the Norwegian Fjord, Ron (with his booming laugh and ultra positive outlook on life) would readily share his expansive knowledge about all horses to help others appreciate the wonders and joys of the horse world.

Ron died unexpectedly on Monday, May 31, 2004, at the age of 57.

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