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Colton's OHSET team is working to fundraise for 100 percent of season's costs

Colton High School OHSET team members are from left to right: Mikey Spalinger on Cinco, Cassidi Cohoon on Nitro, Elvis (the mini), Tina Reed on Copper, Dally Wheeler on Kacie, Brianna Walker on Ace and Miranda Miller on Daisy.OHSET (Oregon High School Equestrian Team) has made a return to Colton High School. The team is comprised of six riders: five freshman, who are Cassidi Cohoon, Tina Reed, Mikey Spalinger, Brianna Walker and Dally Wheeler and junior Miranda Miller. The team has a new coach in Jessica Christenson, who competed for Estacada High School.

"I heard there was an interest and a coach was needed," Christenson said. "So I volunteered. I am really enjoying working with the team."

Besides coaching, she is pursuing a degree in Business Administration and works as a purchasing agent for a nursery in Canby. The team assistant coach is Kaylee Benthin and team adviser is Cheryl Reed.

The OHSET team is fundraising to help with the costs of competition that include entrance fees, stall fees, camping fees (most events are four days), food and the weekly practice arena fees. This year's team would like to raise enough funding to pay for their coaches' costs for competition.

This past Saturday, the team and coaches held a spaghetti feed fundraiser that included silent auction baskets and local artist options.

"Our girls have done a great job of getting sponsors," Benthin said. "We are hoping to raise 100 percent of all costs for the year."

The Colton OHSET team wants to thank all their sponsors: Little Mountain Ranch and Crazy Farm, Hi-School Pharmacy (Molalla), Hi-School Pharmacy (Estacada), Critter Nanny, Bentley Feed, NV Feed, Les Schwab (Molalla), Colton Coffee Company, The Chop Shop, Old Mill Saloon, Colton Café, Samie's Rustic Design, RC Horse Shoeing, OBC Northwest, Inc., Car Quest, Burns Feed, Geren's Feed Supply, Hot Shots, Equus Veterinary Service, Union Mills, Colton Volunteer Firefighters' Association, Safeway (Molalla) and Embroidery Vibes.

"This is everyone's first year for OHSET," Christenson said. "We only practice one day a week and they are working hard to become competitive riders."

Christenson said the team riders will be competing mostly in gaming events which includes barrels, poles and some of the cattle events. She said Miller will also be competing in Western Pleasure, and Reed's mini horse, Elvis, will be competing in Hand Trail.

The team's first competition will be held Feb. 14-17 at the Yamhill Fairgrounds in McMinnville.

Christensen explained the first two days will be set up and the Colton team is in charge of the Versatility Event. Versatility is comprised of four events including In hand, Trail/Rancher, Equitation and Timed. The Colton team will be responsible for preparing and having the competitive area ready for each contestant. They will also be "scribing" (writing down) the judges' comments as each rider competes. The notes are then used for scoring.

Colton OHSET will continue fundraising with a Barn/Tack Sale to be held at 30686 South Grays Hill Road in Colton on Feb. 9-10 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is described as a multi-vendor/family sale. Besides tack, there will be farm supplies, tools, appliances, household items, antiques, clothing and building supplies.

The team also has an ongoing can and bottle drive. To donate your recyclables, contact the team through their Colton OHSET Facebook page.

"These fundraisers are very important to our riders," Benthin said. "They don't want to burden their families, who are already taking care of horse costs, with the additional expenses. I am proud of their goal of covering it 100 percent. They are working hard to make it happen and they work just as hard in the arena."

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