“I started in the leadline class at the Upperville Colt & Horse Show and have been there ever since,” quipped Punkin Lee, proprietor of Journeymen Saddlers in Middleburg, Va.

While America’s oldest horse show has grown tremendously over the years―as have her roles in the show’s planning, implementation, and execution― Punkin’s dedication and affection for Upperville remains unchanged. Thousands have seen her quietly in action at the show, leading the volunteers into action, stocking the souvenir tents, checking in with folks in the barns, or working the Journeymen Saddlers tent on the Hunter Side.

“Part of what makes Upperville special is the community that supports it,” she said. “This is not a mass-produced show. We want the show to continue to improve while maintaining its sense of place in the community, which makes it unique among modern horse shows.”

A Board Member of 25-plus years, Punkin also serves as Community Liaison and heads up the merry brigade of 40-50 yearly volunteers, who man everything from concierge and souvenir stands, to driving the Welcome Wagons that ferry a slew of delicious snacks and beverages to exhibitors, trainers and their staffs at twice daily intervals during the week of the show. She also coordinates the special touches Upperville is known for―the championship coolers, Wall of Honor Luncheon, and hospitality events. She simply does not stop moving.

“The Welcome Wagon is my favorite thing to do, because it touches everybody who comes to the show,” Punkin said. “Folks working in the barns don’t often have time for a break, so the Welcome Wagon deliveries are just one way we say, ‘Thank you’ to those who work out of the public eye.”

“People who attend the show get to experience the joy of our community through interacting with the volunteers, staff, and everyone who calls this area home, and it keeps them coming back!”

Punkin Lee founded Journeymen Saddlers in Middleburg and has operated the business for 48 years. She is president of the Middleburg Business & Professional Association, chair of the Middleburg Streetscape Committee and the Middleburg Beautification and Preservation Committee, and serves the Middleburg Historic District Committee, Middleburg Arts Council, Upperville Colt & Horse Show, and the Middleburg Film Festival committees. She also is an advisory board member of the National Sporting Library and the Chairman of the Virginia Fall Races, a founding member of Christmas in Middleburg and coordinator of the Middleburg Arbor Day Celebration. Punkin also volunteers at Great Meadow events and is a member of The Hill School Alumni Association.

The 169th Upperville Colt & Horse Show presented by MARS Equestrian™ will return to Grafton and Salem Showgrounds June 6-12, 2022. Those interested in volunteering should contact Punkin at 540-687-5888 or stop in at Journeymen Saddlers, 2 West Federal Street, Middleburg, Va.

For more information visit www.upperville.com or follow the show on Facebook and Instagram, and Twitter.