The Cal-Western Appaloosa Show Horse Association is a nonprofit organization who has been awarding California state championship titles and maintaining a permanent point registry for Appaloosa enthusiasts since 1964.
The association, based in San Bernardino, California is regarded as a cover club for the many Appaloosa regional clubs and associations throughout California. These area clubs apply to Cal-Western along with the Appaloosa National Club for show approvals for their various shows & events held during the point year throughout California and several neighboring states.
As part of the prestige of owning and showing Appaloosas, Cal-Western has over the years, established a tradition of honoring outstanding individuals and Appaloosa horses, who have made significant contributions to Appaloosa history here in California.
The Cal-Western, Hall of Fame, has become a veritable who’s who in the history of California Appaloosas. This elite group of Hall of Fame inductees was begun in 1977 with the induction of Mr. Don Masterson. To date Cal-Western has inducted a total of 9 outstanding Appaloosa owners, trainers, breeders and exhibitors who have achieved immortality in the annuals of Cal-Western Appaloosa history.
An equal number of outstanding Appaloosas have made their way into the realm of legend by their induction to the Hall of Fame. Not surprisingly, most of these inductees have also been honored by being named to the Appaloosa Horse Club’s, Hall of Fame, the Appaloosa breeds National/International registry, located in Moscow, Idaho.
This past February Cal-Western honored four great ladies for their outstanding, coordinated efforts in the promotion of the Appaloosa horse in California.
Some of you may be wondering why or how 4 people could possibly be inducted for identical achievements. It’s really no mystery especially for those ‘long time’ ApHC and Cal-Western members, as most of the original Appaloosa breeders, trainers and judges knew these ladies quite well.
Bettye Johanson, Jean Mangini, Marge Robertson and Jean Wolfe, worked for many years with a single-minded purpose to promote Appaloosas. Even if you were to set aside the fact that they were all instrumental in the establishment of several Appaloosa regional clubs. Their real claim to fame was that they managed and built an Appaloosa show that became a legend in America and the crown jewel of the California Appaloosa Show scene.
Owners and handlers shipped their spotted horses to San Francisco in droves for this most prestigious show. For the next 24 years they came, from all over the country to try their hand at earning the blue on Appaloosa Day at the Cow Palace’s, Grand National Rodeo and Horse Show in San Francisco.
To say that these ladies are long-time friends is quite the understatement. Bettye, Marge and Jean M., all belonged to the San Ramon Horsemen’s Association and this trio managed to convince the club members that they should try putting on an Appaloosa show. They accomplished this back in 1964 and the club opted, with a little push from the girls, to hold this event again in 1965.
Bettye and Marge were pleased with the interest these Appaloosa shows had generated and decided that they would seriously try to promote the breed and became charter members of the Superior-Cal ApHC based in Sacramento. The foggy drive to Sacramento for meetings convinced the pair that perhaps the coastal area might be a less stressful commute and became charter members of the Redwood Empire ApHC.
By 1965, Bettye, Marge and Jean learned, after talking with friends and many people in and around the Danville area, that there was quite a bit of interest in the Appaloosa horse. And so again, they became instrumental in start-up of the E Wa Tom Lih Kinh ApHC in their own home area.
During one of the very first official meetings of the E Wa Tom club Jean Wolfe and her husband Tra, walked in the front door of the Alamo Women’s Club House where the meetings were being held. Jean Wolfe with her strong interest in the Appaloosa breed formed a friendship with these other three ladies that has lasted a lifetime.
It was during this same period that the four decided that the Appaloosa horse needed more public exposure and began talks with the Grand National officials. It took them 2 years and many long meetings but their persistence paid off in spades. The Cow Palace hosted the very first Appaloosa Day during the Grand National in 1968 and they continued this format for the next 23 years!
These four ladies have never stopped promoting the Appaloosa horse in all of these years. Jean Wolfe was a staunch supporter of the Appaloosa breed until the time of her death. Jean Mangini and Marge Robertson still support the E Wa Tom club and if you just happen by an E Wa Tom event in the Antioch/Livermore area, say hello to Bettye Johanson; yes, she still works at all of the E Wa Tom events to this very day.