Right on the heels of Elk Creek, Metamora CDE starts in a couple of days. This is a the 30th ADS approved CDE. It is actually the 32 event that the Metamora Carriage and Driving Association has organized. I’ve been involved with all 32. I was the first secretary back then when combined driving was in its infancy. The rulebook was much smaller and held together with brass brads. The ‘organizers kit’ was just a few pages in a duo-tang folder. The roster of officials was very short. Back then, copy machines were hard to find. I had to go downtown to a local insurance company and pay for each copy the first year. The next few years, when I was working at a real estate office, I could use their copy machine – also paying for every sheet. Needless to say, the paperwork was much less.
I remember the painful process of trying to figure out schedules by hand. It was always done in pencil with a BIG erasure, because several attempts were required before the final product was correct. Especially the marathon schedule. What we now call the “passing times” that is only used by officials, we gave to everyone. Once that was finished and typed up on a typewriter, no changes were allowed!
We made all the signage from wood – painted and stenciled. The obstacles consisted of groves of trees and other natural effects. I remember having a donkey in a pen. The rule preventing using real animals came into effect shortly after. Construction was very simple and crude. But then carriages were often antiques. This was long before specially made competition carriages even existed. Driving through the Flint River was considered an obstacle.
The hazard area had to be marked – called a hazard zone. Competitors were allowed to enter and exit from anywhere. It really kept the hazard judges on their toes – especially if any part of the turnout crossed the line before they had finished going through all the gates.
The parties back then were much fancier affairs. Coats and ties were required by the men, and dresses for the ladies. They were usually held at a hotel or restaurant. I also remember being much younger then and having three people staying in our home, having a party on Friday night (doing all the cooking and cleaning too) as well as being the secretary!
When I look back at 30 years of Metamora, I remember hundreds – of competitors, and the many officials who came over the years. One – Kirsten Brunner – is the only one who has been to all 30 events! The event has been held at 3 different farms, each providing its own flavor and challenges.
Happy 30th Anniversayr Metamora!