In the late 1940s, several members of the Cottonwood Valley Saddle Club at Marion formed a group to put on public performances with their palomino horses. They called their act the Golden Horse Revue.
The co-ed mounted troupe featured riders from Durham in Marion County and from Dickinson and McPherson counties. The group was organized and trained by John Randolph “Randy” Wheeler of Marion, who had recently been discharged from the Army and had been a captain of a cavalry unit during World War II.
Irvin Christiansen, 96, of Durham, and the late Ron Crowther, led the formation. Christiansen carried the Stars and Stripes and Crowther carried a large GHR banner.
Christiansen and his wife Muriel, 93, recently got together with Glennon Crowther, 85, and his wife Doris, 83, to reminisce about their time in the Golden Horse Revue.
“If you could ride well and take orders, you could join,” Irvin Christiansen said. “Randy was strict. You did it right or you could go home.”
Gene Duke of Durham and his brother Dean of Marion were young boys when they occasionally joined performances with their parents, the late Don and Augusta Duke.
Each member carried a GHR banner fitted with a light at the tip of the staff. They wore matching gold shirts with blue trim, or blue shirts with gold trim.
The members practiced drills regularly at the saddle club headquarters at the east edge of Marion. Their performances led them to many towns in Kansas as well as places in Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Missouri. They entered their horses in horse shows wherever they went.
The troupe entered many parades and performed at numerous community festivals. They paraded before President Dwight D. Eisenhower in Abilene. The group exhibited at the Marion County Fair and at a Burdick Labor Day celebration.
Other members of the group, now deceased, were Art Geis, Jim Crowther, Merrill Christiansen, Lamar Geis, and Harry Garrett.