Amarillo, Texas - The American Quarter Horse Association today mourns the loss of Gail Shanahan and Maggie Green, two victims of the Arkansas River bridge accident that occurred Sunday, May 26, 2002.
According to news reports, Shanahan and Green were returning to their Texas homes from the Old Fort Days Barrel Futurity and Super Derby in Fort Smith, Ark., after a successful weekend at the show.
In the early hours of Sunday, May 26, 2002, a 500-foot section of the bridge on Interstate 40, near Webbers Falls, Okla., collapsed into the Arkansas River, after a barge hit the bridge. Numerous cars, trucks, tractor-trailers, one motor home and the Kay Blandford horse trailer carrying four American Quarter Horses plunged into the water.
Several of the automobiles, including the horse trailer, were recovered Tuesday. Only three horses have been recovered, including a five-year-old sorrel American Quarter Horse mare, EARLY TRAIN, owned by Blandford.
Shanahan and Green are the only two victims who have been confirmed. Friends who also were returning from the Futurity witnessed the accident-giving the media a personal aspect to the breaking news story.
Forty-nine-year-old Shanahan, an AQHA Member since 1989, was awarded a 10-year Cumulative Breeder Award in 1999. Her four-year-old American Quarter Horse, ECSTASY IN THE DECK, claimed 13th place at the Old Fort Days Futurity Finals with a time of 17.461 seconds and earned an estimated $7,000. Kay Blandford, who stayed behind in Fort Smith to continue in the competition, rode ECSTASY. Shanahan was heading home to meet her fiancé, Hershel Goodman, in Stockdale, Texas.
Sunday was Margaret (Maggie) Green's 47th birthday. Green, an AQHA Life Member, had been married for more than 30 years to her childhood sweetheart, Ray. Green was an avid horse racing fan, running American Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds at racetracks in her hometown of San Antonio and the South Texas region.
Although the two women had separate funerals, a joint memorial service was held for them on Monday, June 3, 2002 at Rose Palace in San Antonio. In lieu of flowers, friends may contribute to the Gail Shanahan Scholarship Fund, Security State Bank, P.O. Box 97, Stockdale, Texas 78410.
Information compiled by Old Fort Days, Kay Rogers Park and The Daily Oklahoman.