It always helps to see a warm and friendly face when heading to warm up for that all-important test or jump round. In this series, the United States Evening Association (USEA) is partnering with Athletux to feature those around us who help make these events happen, the volunteers. Without them horse shows and programs could not succeed, and these volunteers go above and beyond to make sure every rider feels comfortable and confident. Do you know a volunteer who should be nominated as Volunteer of the Month? We are looking for our next feature. Email your tips to [email protected].
While Tom Weiss may not have grown up in the eventing community, he was still always around horses. In fact, he grew up riding in the hunter and jumper rings, where he found much success. Those pursuits eventually led him to a show barn in Syracuse, New York, which is where he started his career grooming in high school. Between his riding and grooming, Weiss was constantly around horses and he would not have had it any other way. Eventually adulthood called and Weiss put horses on hold as he went to college and courageously joined the Navy. Life in the armed forces allowed Tom to visit different places around globe, but many years later he decided to settle in California, which is where he resides now.
It just so happened that when he moved to California, he ended up living near a popular eventing venue named Hidden Valley Ranch. It was at Hidden Valley Ranch where he began to volunteer in the 1980’s as a way to become involved in the horse community once again. While he had zero experience eventing himself, he quickly began to love the sport and would volunteer as much as he could. When the owners sadly passed away and the facility no longer held events, Weiss began to see what other venues were around to continue his involvement in the community through volunteering. Tom happened to stumble upon Twin Rivers Ranch and, as they say, the rest is history. No matter what, Weiss is always at Twin Rivers volunteering and cheering on the competitors at every event.
In fact, one of his fondest memories was an event he volunteered at where the weather was less than ideal. “There was a day when it just downpoured and we were all out there just trying to keep our score sheets dry! It amazed me at how dedicated everyone was and the rain didn’t seem to effect things at all,” explained Weiss. Rain or shine, if you are competing at Twin Rivers you can expect to find Weiss somewhere out on the cross-country course volunteering. It is people like Weiss that truly help keep the sport going and these events running time after time.
When asked what his favorite role to participate in is, Weiss quickly pointed out jump judging. And his favorite type of day? The boring ones, of course, he explained. “I like things to be nice and boring. I just love watching the horses and enjoying my time at these events. The best days are the boring ones when you can just enjoy the beauty and grace of the horses. Saying ‘so-and-so number clear so-and-so jump’ is my favorite thing to do,” added Weiss. His dedication and love for the sport extends beyond volunteering and the sport of eventing is so lucky to have someone like Weiss.
Those at Twin Rivers value Weiss greatly and describe him as selfless and dedicated. Asia Vedder, volunteer coordinator at Twin Rivers, added, “He is there every day all day and continues to come back event after event. He is one of my favorite volunteers and he always has a smile on his face no matter what.” It is easy to see the impact he has made on the community and how is one of the most recognized faces at the events. If Weiss was not there volunteering, Twin Rivers would not be the same. Over the course of his lifetime, Weiss has clocked an innumerable amount of volutneer hours and he has no intention of slowing down anytime soon!
At every event he attends, Weiss’s infectious spirit and passion for volunteering spreads through the event and its workforce. Those around him strive to be more like him. Weiss is continuously there for whatever Twin Rivers needs. Even as someone who does not ride, he regularly clocks more hours volunteering than anyone in the area and those at Twin Rivers are quick to credit him with helping their events happen. They use words such as “dedicated," “passionate," and “cheerful” to describe him and they are all thrilled to have Weiss as a volunteer at Twin Rivers. He is more than worthy of this month’s nomination and if you happen to see him at one of the many events held at Twin Rivers in the future, be sure to give him a huge thank you because the eventing community would not be the same without him.
Do you know someone who should be recognized as Volunteer of the Month? We are looking for our next feature. Email your tips to [email protected].
On this episode of the Equiratings Eventing Podcast, show host Nicole Brown talks to Pan American Games gold medalist and U.S. team stalwart Boyd Martin about his career to date, highs and lows, and coming back from injury.
On Monday, March 8 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern, USEF will host a member webinar providing updates on the impacts of the case of EHV-1 (neurological) reported in Ocala, Florida. This case is similar in nature, but unrelated to the neurological strain of EHV-1 impacting Valencia (ESP) and other European countries.
As competitors rise through the levels, they often see the costs associated with competition rise and, unfortunately for most organizers, this can’t be avoided. With fewer competitors requiring more jumps, officials, footing management, etc., the expenses for running higher levels – especially FEI – are greater than lower levels.
Our sport is going to present you with many amazing opportunities, and some equally amazing challenges. While you’re sure to enjoy the opportunities, it sometimes takes a little more effort to enjoy the challenges. Contrary to the common misconception (from non-equestrians) that our sport is easy, it’s actually one of the hardest and most demanding sports of all!