As the organization moved into the 1980's, some new membership initiatives were started like the foal photo contest that we have today. Although membership began to decline, membership numbers remained above 200 until mid-1982. But still controversy with ApHC and among Appaloosa owners themselves continued. Early in 1982, a member expressed the concern that the ApHC was no longer a club but an industry. Later that year, the newsletter contained information regarding the debate over a new rule that solid horses be raced and shown alongside colored Appaloosas. In response to the new rule, John L. Baker, who was elected president of Sundance 500 International in 1980, wrote to the members: "In a matter of hours the carefully planned color policies of the ApHC over 44 years were wiped away, and all in the name of "financial revitalization of the industry. To put it in other words, this means - Members, look for new fees and new fee increases, because the cost to implement the above changes will be high." Mr. Baker also informed the Sundance 500 International membership who among the ApHC Board voted for and against the new rule. Throughout 1982, the furor against the new ApHC rules and fees continues to rage and the Sundance 500 International Newsletter continued as a forum on these issues.
A Year of Change
The January 1983 newsletter reported that Frank Scripter had been elected as president of Sundance 500 International. The Cannons also reported the death of Sunspot Revel in this newsletter. This sad news was somewhat overshadowed by the continuing ApHC controversy. The newsletter reported that Kay Payne, president of the ApHC, had resigned from the Sundance 500 Board, and her position was filled by Sue Godfrey of West Virginia for the remainder of Kay's term. A Sundance 500 International member wrote to Kay Payne saying: "I am a member of SD 500 org. I don't belong to that org simply because of a deep dedication to the SD 500 line. It is a good line of App, but not exactly one of my favorites either. But besides promoting a certain bloodline, the SD 500 is also an open forum for members to voice their opinions and concerns on subjects that affect the entire App World." The letter went on to say that if the ApHC did something similar it would help communications.
March 1983 brought some internal conflicts. It was brought to Frank Scripter's attention that Sundance 500 International was not operating within the strict guidelines of its by-laws, which required all officers to be members of the Board. Mary Manley, who had served as secretary of the organization since its inception, had never been elected as a director. The Board created the Director at Large position, which incorporates the secretarial position, and is known as the Floating Director today. Mary was then appointed to fill that position.
During 1983 and 1984, Sundance 500 International continued to be active in the ApHC debates and, through its newsletters, provided a forum for the debate and reported on various criminal allegations and election fraud within ApHC. The Sundance 500 Newsletter was the only means of gathering some information on the ApHC activities as the ApHC was not telling members much of anything.
Jane Kilberg, who was to play a significant role in the coming years of the organization, joined Sundance 500 International in 1984. Sundance had issued close to 400 Sundance Bloodline Certificates by this time.
End of An Era
Mary Manley died on March 9, 1985. You have not seen her name mentioned as often as you might have expected in the preceding article, but her quiet strength and influence were strongly felt throughout the decade and until her death. Starting with her initial efforts to energize the new organization and attract members, moving through the building years where many of the traditions enjoyed by our members today were begun, and ending with her firm conviction that Sundance 500 should be an organization for Appaloosa lovers and provide an open, unedited forum for debate, Mary was in large part Sundance 500 International during this period. Mary pleaded with members constantly for contributions to the Newsletter for the sake of the Sundance 500 organization, and from her continuous efforts, a standard of publishing, a blueprint for the Newsletter was created.
Sundance has flourished when people in the leadership had a clear vision for the organization and inspired others to support and participate in that vision. It was very much the case during this time period. The people who served as Sundance presidents-Ralph Cannon, Chardy Shealy, John L. Baker and Frank Scripter, all had a vision and a passion for Sundance, as well as leadership ability. With Mary Manley serving as the secretary, treasurer and newsletter editor, Sundance did indeed flourish and grow beyond their expectations.
Could it have grown larger? Quite possibly, but regardless of its size, Sundance had become a force in the Appaloosa world due to the efforts of these individuals and the enthused membership they represented and inspired. We owe Mary Manley much as Sundance 500 bloodline owners and Appaloosa lovers of today.