SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Mike Kirkton, a native of Morton, Ill., has been named the horse show manager for the Illinois State Fair. Kirkton replaces Jody VanNattan, who held the position for 37 years.
Kirkton attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Illinois State University and the New Mexico Military Institute. He was an Army officer from 1983 to 2005 and has worked as CEO and Trainer at Top View Farms, Inc. since 2005. Kirkton currently serves on the Illinois Horse and Pony Breeders and Exhibitors Association Board of Directors and has judged Society Horse Shows since 2011.
Kirkton is a member of many professional associations, including the American Saddle Horse Association (ASHA) and the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), and has been described as a performance-oriented, meticulous and articulate leader with a wealth of equestrian training and personal experience.
“We are very excited to have Mr. Kirkton join the Illinois State Fair team,” State Fair Manager Amy Bliefnick said. “He is dedicated and passionate and will provide outstanding opportunities for our horse show competitors.”