Lowell Boomer, Founding Father

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G. Lowell Boomer, Lincoln, NE, founding organizer of the USDF, was born on October 12, 1911. He died November 20, 2011, less than six weeks after his 100th birthday.

A Nebraska native, Boomer ran Boomer’s Printing Company in Lincoln for 80 years. The printshop offices were the first headquarters of the USDF. Boomer served as the USDF’s executive secretary or executive director from 1973 to 1992 and as its president from 1983 to 1988.

In the November 2003 issue of USDF Connection, which commemorated the Federation’s thirtieth anniversary, Boomer recounted: “A number of us interested in dressage saw the need for a single organization to represent the various regional organizations which had developed….” He described his role in the USDF’s founding in 1973 as “to act as a spark plug to get things started and then to nurse the baby as it got under way.”

Boomer had a lifetime love of horses, but he was unfamiliar with dressage before he saw members of the Fort Riley, KS,-based US Cavalry School competing at a Lincoln-area horse show in 1934. He had been out of the saddle for some years, but watching the riders reawakened his equestrian interests. He made trips to Fort Riley to watch that era’s American dressage greats, Col. Hiram Tuttle and Col. Isaac Kitts, school their horses. Boomer began trying his own hand at dressage and founded the Nebraska Dressage Association in 1973.

In 1989, Boomer established a charitable organization in Lincoln, The Dressage Foundation, which raises funds and offers financial support for various dressage activities. Boomer’s son John served as CEO from 1997 to 2009, after his father stepped down.

Boomer was an avid equestrain.
Shown here in 1949

Lowell Boomer was the inaugural inductee into the Roemer Foundation/USDF Hall of Fame. The US Equestrian Federation honored him with its Lifetime Achievement Award, and The Chronicle of the Horse named him one of its 50 most influential horsemen of the twentieth century.

“With his wit, his smile, his vision, and his dedication, he created a legacy that is the USDF and TDF,” said USDF president George Williams. “His impact on dressage will be felt for years to come.”

The Lowell Boomer Chair
Carolyn VandenBerg, current At-Large Director of the USDF Technical Council, made this chair in celebration of Lowell’s 100th birthday.

At the 2013 convention held in Lexington, KY, USDF founding member Sally O’Conner (below) sits in “Lowell Boomer’s” lap. The Dressage Foundation’s Jenny Johnson and Beth Baumert (above) padded the hat after their report at the Board of Governors and raised more than $1,000.

“The Dressage Foundation had asked the GMOs to send cards,” recalls Carolyn, “So I made the chair and took it to the Region 9 summer meeting in Galveston, and we made a video with everyone gathered around the chair wishing him Happy Birthday. We had a lot of fun setting the chair at the head table, etc.”
Carolyn donated the chair to USDF at the 2013 convention.

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