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Shelbyville Horse Show Manager R. H. Bennett created the poster for the first show 20 years ago. But after that first year, he turned the job over to Lori Burress, an employee he described as “very artistic.”
“I would do something and ask her how she liked it, and she would say, 'I like it, but I'd like to see a little more of this or a little more of that,'” Bennett said. “So I said, 'Fine, you got the job.' And she's taken it and run with it ever since.”
Working with old photos or magazine covers she finds in antique stores, Burress blends the antique with the new to create posters that have that “old timey” feel with contemporary scenes from the horse show to give them the local touch.
This year's poster shows a woman in 1800s clothing feeding an apple to a horse. Two dogs are in the foreground, and in the background is the announcer's station and arena entrance at the fairgrounds. Though the “old” part of the poster comes from old magazines or paintings, the “new” is the work of local photographers who have snapped pictures of the horse show.
“It was Lori's idea to incorporate scenes from the fairgrounds into the old pictures,” Bennett said. “I think the combination really looks neat.”
Burress said it can be a challenge every year to produce a poster that is different from the previous year's.
“It's not the ideas that are hard; it's finding the pictures,” Burress said.
When she finds the pictures she wants, she takes them to Printing Emporium and works with Debbie Zimmerman to blend the old with the new and add the lettering to complete the poster.
“She knows what she wants, but she works pretty well with Debbie to create the poster,” Printing Emporium owner S. K. Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman said this year's poster has attracted “an unusually large number of favorable comments.”
Printing Emporium prints 1,000 posters every year. Wheelchair powered
Burress not only creates the horse show posters, she designs the invitations for the parties held at the fairgrounds. Those, too, have an old-fashioned feel. The invitation to Friday night’s appreciation party shows a family, circa mid-1800s, with a horse. It was taken from a picture she found in an antique store in Harrodsburg.
Getting around to find pictures is not as easy as it used to be for Burress. For the last eight years she has battled multiple sclerosis, and she does most of her work from a wheelchair now. But that does not keep her from getting to the printers and checking on the progress of her work.
“Her husband brings her,” Zimmerman said. “She can't come in, so she sits in the car and goes over the proofs.”
From her wheelchair, she also helped create a display of memorabilia to mark the horse show's 20th anniversary at the Shelby County Public Library.
Burress put together horse show paraphernalia from various Saddlebred exhibitors in the county, including riding crops, gloves, coats, and posters, for the display. The display will be up in the library through mid-August.
“The kids are there so much, I thought it would be fun for them to see,” Burress said.