Rodeo ranch

Henryville couple buys,
renovates former Blair Horse Stables

They plan to open facility to the public

By Konnie McCollum
Staff Writer

(September 2007) – Although it was only noon, the temperature in the barn was already sweltering as Kelly Carr of Henryville, Ind., adjusted the sprinklers that helped cool two of her horses, April and Trick Point. Carr was waiting for a construction contractor to arrive to begin work on a new make-up arena to be added to the existing indoor competition arena.

Kelly Carr

Photo by Daniel McCollum

Kelly Carr is working hard to get her
River Valley Ranch, the former
Blair Horse Farm, ready for
several upcoming rodeo events.
It will be open to the public.

“I’ve got a lot of work to do in a very short time,” she explained.
Carr, 47, along with husband, Lance, 49, recently bought the Blair Horse Farm, located at 256 Badger Rd., on the Madison, Ind., hilltop. They are doing extensive renovations to get facilities in place before they hold the Sept. 21-23 Indiana State Finals of the International Barrel Racing Association. The championships are free for spectators and open to the public. Action begins at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21, when riders compete for awards and prize money.
Chuck Blair operated the Quarter Horse facility for many years before relocating to Gainsville, Texas, to run another operation. Kelly rented the indoor arena from Blair for years before he decided to sell the property to her family this past May. The name of the 119-acre farm just off Hwy. 256 has been changed to River Valley Ranch.
Kelly’s parents, Joe and Jan Shulthise, of Louisville, Ky., are the actual owners of the ranch, although Kelly and Lance will control all aspects of the new indoor equine facility.
The Shulthises own Shulthise Feed Co., which provides feed for the top Kentucky thoroughbred racing trainers. “My parents get to feed all of the Kentucky Derby horses,” said Kelly.
Apparently, the entire family is horse-oriented. Kelly is a champion barrel racer, while Lance, who also works at Ford Motor Co., is a winner at team roping. Kelly’s niece, Crystal Shumate, who will be helping to run the ranch, is a champion barrel race, too. Kelly’s daughter, Joey Zuber, won the world championships in 1997 when she was only 11 years old.
“I’ve grown up with horses, and this is what I know,” said Kelly.
The Carrs, who also run a 150-acre ranch in Henryville, plan to play host to regularly scheduled indoor rodeos in their Saddle Up Arena but need to complete their renovations first. Parts of the new plans are to completely turn the inside of the arena around to put the office and scoring boxes near the new make-up, or practice, arena. Then more bleachers will be added along the sides of the arena to accommodate larger crowds. On the outside of the arena, a new parking lot has already been added, and electrical hookups for trailers are being installed.
A VIP deck section for sponsors will be constructed above the concessions area, which is also undergoing major construction. Lasers for accurate barrel placement have already been installed, and electrical work is being updated for computer and phone lines.
“We have to really move on all of this work in order to get it done before the September finals,” said Kelly. “We will have everything in place, though.”
Saddle Up Arena has also been awarded a prestigious event in November. The Professional Women’s Barrel Racing Association has selected Saddle Up Arena to play host to the Great Lakes Circuit Finals on Nov 2-3. The event has been held in Louisville for decades, but a contentious legal battle has brought the event to Madison this year.
“This is such a huge deal,” said Kelly. “To be chosen to host this particular event is a once-in-a-lifetime chance. I can’t believe we actually got it.”
Winners in this event will advance to the world championships in Pocatello, Idaho. “A world champion could come out of this barn,” she said in awe.
A grand opening event for River Valley Ranch is being planned in conjunction with the November championships, but details are still being finalized.
She said she is looking for corporate or individual sponsors who would like to help put on these shows.
“We will be offering VIP packages for anyone interested in these events or the rodeos we will hold in the future,” she said. “We want to offer families in this area something unique, yet affordable,” said Kelly. “Rodeos are such great family fun; everyone loves them.”
In addition to the shows that will be presented, the equine facility will also offer a full range of services, including breeding, horse sales, barn rental and open riding at select times. Later this fall, Saddle Up Arena will be open from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursdays for open riding.

• For more information about sponsorships or events at Saddle Up Arena at River Valley Ranch, call Kelly Carr at (812) 294-1494.

Back to September 2007 Articles.



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