Journal on the Road

A Driving Good Time

March 21, 2011

Joyce and Darrell Saul compete against each other in pleasure driving at the 2011 Silver Dollar Circuit.

By Larri Jo Starkey

Joyce and Darrell Saul compete against each other in pleasure driving. For photos of them in their carts and to see other photos from the Silver Dollar Circuit, scroll below to watch the slide show. (Photo by Larri Jo Starkey)

Entries were up about 25 percent at the Silver Dollar Circuit in Las Vegas, Nevada, where fun was the order of the day as well as the circuit.

Lucky exhibitors won prizes through random class drawings, and everyone stayed and played at the South Point Hotel and Casino, where the circuit took place.

Among those lucky exhibitors were Joyce and Darrell Saul of Des Arc, Arkansas, who came for the pleasure driving – their only class of the day.

When the Journal caught up with Joyce in the barns at the South Point, she was sharing two of her most memorable showing experiences – both of them experiences that could only happen to pleasure drivers.

The first was at the Dixie Nationals in Jackson, Mississippi, where she showed the entire class with a flat tire on her cart. The second was at Venice, Florida, where she found out being behind the horse isn’t always a good idea.

“All of a sudden, my horse had diarrhea,” she says. “It squirted back all over me. Not onlydid she do it once, but after about two or three rounds, she did it again. I pulled up to the judges and thought, ‘I wonder what they think?’

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“After my clothes dried, it looked like hay all over my clothes. That was quite an experience.”

Pleasure drivers show in elaborate costumes with gorgeous hats, meant to evoke the feeling of the 1940s and 1950s as gentlemen and ladies out for a Sunday drive. Joyce was wearing one of her better costumes.

“Luckily, it was hand-washable so we hand-washed it, and it turned out just perfect. I couldn’t believe it.”

Joyce wasn’t daunted by the experience. It took her a long time to find her niche in showing, and she isn’t going to let a little equine bowel movement get in her way. Darrell and Joyce raised their children in horse showing, specifically western pleasure, but Joyce was miserable.

“So Darrell said, ‘You better get you a hobby.’ He meant with the horses. I thought, ‘Well, I’ve always loved airplanes,’ so I thought I’d take flying lessons. I was studying, and we’d go to the shows, and it would make him mad because I was studying.”

Then at a show in Tyler, Texas, Joyce saw pleasure driving for the first time. That was it for her. She had to be among those zipping along the rail in a cart, getting the feathers blown back from her face at the expansive road gait. She and Darrell bought CC Surprise.

Together, Joyce and CC Surprise won five amateur world championships in a row in pleasure driving to go with the 1985 bay mare’s three open world champions and one reserve championship with Brian Holmes.

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Today, she and Darrell – and yes, Darrell eventually was converted to the driving lifestyle – fit their own horses from their home in Des Arc, Arkansas, where their business is raising live bait.

They only drive offspring of CC Surprise. At the Silver Dollar Circuit, Joyce was driving Huntin For Blues, a granddaughter of CC Surprise, and Darrell was behind PS Surprise Card, a daughter of CC Surprise.

“We’ve had as many as four horses out of CC Surprise in the pen at one time,” Darrell adds.

To see more photos from the Silver Dollar Circuit, watch the slide show below. Click on each photo to see the caption.

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