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RALPH & MYRNA WALKER

Congratulations to Ralph Walker -- 2002 inductee to the Canadian Road Horse Hall of Fame. Horses have always been a part of Ralph's life. He purchased his first Standardbred at the age of thirteen. However, it wasn't until the '50s, after purchasing a dairy business in Walkerton, that Ralph first entered the show ring with a roadster named Jake. So began 40 plus years of showing. Although showing horses and competing at the Royal Winter Fair were always a goal each year, that experience was enriched by attending community fairs throughout southern Ontario, where old and new friends and competitors were met.

After Jake, as the records show, several outstanding road horses have been shown as both teams and singles -- to bikes and wagons. However, Ralph's all-time favourite class to show in and to win was the team class. Miss Jeanie B. and Jake were the first to take on this tradition and, over the years, many other notable teams were also shown. Quite proudly, Ralph won over 70 per cent of the team classes entered at the Royal.

Other "Walkerlea" notables deserve to be named. Star Lee Over won the wagon stake at the Royal in '74 and '75 and the reserve wagon championship in '75. Star passed away in the ring at the Royal in 1980 after a top place "drive-off." What a fitting end for a true champion.

Ralph drove Riddell's Duke to a wagon stake championship at the Royal in 1980 and at the Devon Horse Show that same year. Armbro Champ, now enjoying retirement with Ralph and Myrna, was the last horse to bring home honours to Walkerlea Stables -- winning two wagon and bike championships at Washington International Horse Show as well as two bike championships at the Devon Horse Show and give championship ribbons at the Royal.

Other horses that Ralph has shown at both small and large fairs are Doctor Lee Mann, Skytop Tat, Starboot, Country Squire, Molly's Dream, Captain Kenny, Duke's Eclipse, Sky Dome, High Ball, and Prince Lee. All provided Ralph and his family with many hours of enjoyment.

Ralph has often been asked which horse has been his favourite and that is difficult for him to answer for each of the horses mentioned brought many hours of pleasure. What is clear, however, is that Ralph always enjoyed the challenge of finding the next champion for his stable.

It was only fitting to honour Ralph at the 2002 Royal -- a show where Ralph and Myrna, their family, and friends could always be counted on to show great hospitality towards everyone at their famous "pancake supper." Those were the days ...

 
Smokin' Star and Armbro Champ, with owner/driver,
alph Walker, winner of the Roadster Team Class at the 1995 and 1996 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.
(Photo by Stoney Brannon)