Oct 26, 2021

The VIP Volunteer: Jim Moyer

By Meagan DeLisle - USEA Staff
Photo courtesy of Jim Moyer

If you take one look at Jim Moyer’s Facebook page, you will see it is filled with sweet sentiments from the lives he has touched through his work in the equine industry. Moyer’s involvement with horses began when he met his future wife Jean 50 years ago. As Jean went on to become a prominent instructor in eventing, Moyer found that their friend circle was full of horse people, so it was only natural that he should find his place in the community.

“I’ve always tried to be involved as a volunteer for events after my retirement, but after my wife’s passing I took volunteering to a new level,” Moyer reflected. “The best way to see my friends and the horses that my wife selected for clients was to go to the events, so I volunteer. My thinking is that I could stay at home by myself or go be around the greatest people by volunteering.”

The community engulfed Moyer with love after Jean’s passing and Moyer returned the love two-fold. In addition to volunteering, Moyer stays actively involved in the lives of the horses his wife sourced for riders all across the country.

“I will never forget when Jim called and said I am sick of being at home during COVID and would like to start volunteering at events,” shared Christina Gray, show organizer, secretary, and fellow volunteer. “I was so happy I think I almost cried with joy. Jim is unique in that he is retired, has a motorhome, and has knowledge of pretty much everything when it comes to eventing so he can help ahead of, during, and after the show. He started helping at Rebecca Farm in 2020 with parking. If you have ever been to Rebecca Farm, parking is the least thrilling job. Since then Jim has volunteered to paint cross-country jumps, weed-eat, rake, ring steward, fence judge, direct parking, hang speakers, just to name a few things at Twin Rivers, Spokane Sport Horse Farm, Aspen Farm, and many more. I wish I could bring Jim to every event.”

When it comes to volunteering, Moyer is truly ready to help out in any way, shape, and form. In 2021 so far he has logged over 250 volunteer hours at his local events, with Gray reflecting that there are probably many more hours that have not been logged in the USEA Volunteer Incentive Program (VIP) database. “I truly enjoy working in whatever capacity is needed,” Moyer shared, “although I do enjoy greeting people entering the event site.”

That famous Moyer smile is recognized all over Area VII. So much so that in 2020 Moyer and his wife were selected as one of three USEA Governor’s Cup recipients out of the entire country. The Governor's Cups are presented in recognition of volunteers whose services have contributed significantly to the sport.

When you ask any organizer what fuels the fire of a good volunteer, it all boils down to love. What makes a good volunteer great all boils down to their love of the sport, love of the horse, and love of the community- three things that Moyer does not lack. When asked what he likes most about volunteering, he shared: “Volunteering gives me access to the eventing community which is truly about camaraderie, friendship, and smiles. This community is my extended family.”

And his community feels the same way about him. “Jim is all the kind and caring adjectives you can find in the dictionary!” said Area VII member Louise Leslie. “I feel humbled and privileged to consider him a friend.”

“Growing up, Jean was my first instructor,” said USEA Board of Governors member and organizer of Aspen Farms Horse Trials Jonathan Elliot. “So I have known the Moyers for probably 35 years. Since Jean passed away, it seems like Jim has really taken up the mantle at every event in the area. Most of the time he will get there a week ahead of time and having that all-day volunteer that is ready to do anything is always extremely helpful. It’s always a huge help to have him here at the shows.”

Sarah Sullivan and Jim Moyer. Photo courtesy of Sarah Sullivan.

Fellow Area VII member Sarah Sullivan owns one of the horses that Moyer and his wife sourced prior to her passing. Sullivan was thrilled to share her sentiments about Moyer’s influence on the local eventing community. “It is not a show if Jimmy is not there helping get everyone parked and organized. He is the most supportive person in our community,” she commented. “He is at 90% of my warmups. He videos whenever he gets a break from volunteering. When he jump judges you always know what jump he is at because you hear him cheering his horses around. He makes Area VII eventing better and we are lucky to have him.”

While many in Area VII have expressed their gratitude for the Moyer family’s influence on their involvement in the sport, Moyer himself is thankful for the opportunity to give back.

“I just feel so lucky and privileged that the organizers allow me to help out."

About the USEA Volunteer Incentive Program

Volunteers are the lifeblood of our sport, the unsung heroes, and the people who make it possible to keep the sport alive. In efforts to recognize the dedication, commitment, and hard work that volunteers put into eventing, USEA formed the Volunteer Incentive Program (VIP) in 2015. In 2017, an online management portal was designed for volunteers, organizers, and volunteer coordinators at EventingVolunteers.com (available as an app for iOS and Android).

Volunteer incentives include national and area recognition, year-end awards with ribbons, cash prizes, and trophies, a top ten USEA Volunteer leaderboard, and a Volunteer of the Year award which is given to the volunteer who tops the leaderboard by accumulating the most volunteer hours over the USEA competition year. Click here to learn more about the USEA Volunteer Incentive Program.

The USEA would like to thank Sunsprite Warmbloods for sponsoring the Volunteer Incentive Program.

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Lisa Pragg is a busy woman, but between her normal day job and competing her own 19-year-old Thoroughbred Impeccable she still prioritizes time to volunteer - both at horse trials and as a volunteer firefighter. Pragg understands the importance that volunteers play in the eventing community and makes sure to give whatever time she can back as a fair gesture.

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