Dakota Takes You Inside Rita Crundwell's Birthday Bash
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Rita was gorgeous as always in one of her trademark “must have” coats. Where does she find these items?
Slide Show

Although it was a frigid 35 degrees, Rita Crundwell’s annual birthday party heated up the beachfront patio Sunday night at the famous Sharky’s restaurant in Venice Beach, Florida. Industry leaders traveled to Venice from many parts of the country just to attend the party which was one of the premier events of the year. It was just the shot in the arm needed by weary horse show exhibitors who have been braving unseasonably cold temperatures for several weeks during the Florida Winter Circuits.

Click here for pictures that Dakota took from the birthday party!

Always the gracious host, Jim McKillips treated partygoers to an outstanding buffet consisting of delectable jumbo shrimp cocktail, caesar salad, prime rib, penne pasta with chicken and vegetables, coconut shrimp and other mouthwatering entrees. Guests also enjoyed great live music by an “island” style band that got a lot of people on their feet. Jack Kaplow, the young son of Meg and Evan, showed everyone a move or two. One thing was for sure – a good time was had by all.

Rita was gorgeous as always in one of her trademark “must have” coats. Where does she find these items? In my next life, I want Rita and Hannah Casper to be my personal shoppers. Not surprising, it got a little crazy at the Casper, Griffith and Hawkins table! For once, it wasn’t the kids causing the ruckus (whew!) However, there were three Moms who were having way too much fun and clearly needed a chaperone.

The best news is that Rita is hosting the exhibitor’s party at Fox Lea this week, so never fear; there are more good times to come. Except for Rita who stole the show, Jim McKillips’ beautiful family upstaged the event with daughter Tracy, son-in-law Ray, grandkids, and sister Meri in for the fun.

The Winter Circuit festivities continue at Fox Lea Farm. Wish you were here, but if you aren’t, never fear; I’ll be here to keep you posted. It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it!  :-)

Click here for great pictures from the party. 

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Rita Crundwell Arrested for Fraud; Free on $4,500 Bond
26 comments for this article Reverse Comment Order
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Added: December 07, 2012. 09:27 AM CDT
Hey Dakota, That must have coat purchased by the tax payers of Dixon is up for Auction on the online Marshalls Sale along with a few hundred other items with the Money she stole! Enjoy your shopping experience. Wonder how she likes being left with nothing but the shirt on her back? LMAO
Dixon Duke
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Added: September 14, 2012. 05:22 AM CDT
Shame on Rita Crundwell
Well, it looks like the auctions are only going to recover a
fraction of what she allegedly stold. Now, the online auction
is complete and the other is scheduled for the end of this
month. I hope she's making the most of her time now while
she can because she will most likely be locked up for quite
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Added: May 02, 2012. 07:10 AM CDT
Comment Only
Well, we all know that there is politicts in the AQHA shows - and always will be. That is just life as it has been for the past 30 or so years. Let's look at a GOOD thing that will hopefully come of this. There will now be at least 200 folks who will have a chance to own a REALLY good Quarter Horse for bargan basement prices. It will take awhile for the Feds to get everything ironed out and no sale can happen until the Trial is over and the gavel has landed (in spite of Rita stating she will not fight the selling of the horses - she just wants them gone). At this point only the Feds have control over everything she had and things she "gifted" to others. And yes - even the gifts she gave can be taken away if the Feds find they were purchsed with embezelled funds. So at this point, patience is a real virtue. But one person was correct - this will drive the prices of good horses down even further in an industry already in trouble. My daughter has a g'son of Secretariet out of a Deck Of Stars mare that she gelded a few years ago as a SR horse because we just couldn't see adding to the pool of unwanted horses. As far as Mr. Mckillips - as her boyfriend, he may really have not known where the funds were coming from. So please give him the benefit of the doubt. Most of the time thieves like this do no reveal the source of their funding.
1/4 Horse Lady
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Added: May 01, 2012. 07:40 PM CDT
Pure Evil
Rita's spending spree is now up to $53 million over more than 20 years. Everything about this woman is a fraud bought and paid for with our tax dollars.

Take a good look at your "champion". A modern day cattle rustler in a mink coat. By the way, she's serving Hamburger Helper, Top Ramen and Spaghetti-O's at next year's birthday bash (and it's BYOB). Sorry folks...party's over!

Absolutely pathetic.
Coconut shrimp
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Added: April 25, 2012. 11:03 PM CDT
missing the point
Does anyone even think about how many yrs of hard work it took for Bob and Eleanor to build up the Meri-J name and reputation??? I feel the most sad for them and what this scandal has done to the McKillips name. Dixon will recover but will the horse industry, which is already down, ever recover? Rita was someone I looked up to and still do even though she did the wrong thing - greed is a powerful enemy.... Also keep in mind that Rita's and Jim's horses did the winning on their own merit - not because of the "stolen" money. It was because of excellant breeding and knowing the business. Their horses were the best of their breed. I'm sorry for the impact of what this will have on the Quarter Horse industry as well as the horse industry over all. Does anyone not know that "politics" play a big part in the horse show business?? Tthat's why I quit showing and now keep my horses for my own enjoyment. I'm deeply troubled by this whole thing and am more concerned about the welfare of the hundreds of horses remaining after the storm, when what's left of the money runs out, than I am of what happens to the players involved. Very sad indeed.
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Added: April 25, 2012. 08:42 PM CDT
Showing with her the past 10-15 years, it was pretty obvious to 90% of the show pen, that she had her hand in "someone else's" cookie jar. Her money wasn't inherited, she wasn't married, and we all knew that the horse business isn't THAT profitable.
She is a disgusting, sick, EXTREMELY SELFISH individual. Oh yeah, I left out a pro-noun....classy and gracious. Let's face it she bought her titles, she bought her awards, and she bought her friends. The "friends" that she had, would NOT have been her friends if she didn't have that money or # of champions (which she wouldn't have gotten w/out the money) My heart goes out to the people of Dixon and ONLY them!!
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Added: April 21, 2012. 10:44 AM CDT
What a PIG!
I am from Dixon and am so disgusted looking at these pictures. Rita Crundwell is a typical Sociopath. She fooled alot of people for a very long time, and now she will pay. I do not believe at all that she was ever a "good" person. She comes from a very arrogant family...just saw her brother Richard and family out in the bar last night. People were STUNNED to say the least. They see nothing wrong with what she did, and continue to slap the citizens of Dixon in the face and laugh while doing it. The entire family reaped the benefits of lovely Rita! Shame on all of them!
Broke in Dixon
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Added: April 20, 2012. 03:53 PM CDT
Wow. All of the times I saw her at the AQHA world show up on the monitors, for yet another world champion interview and thought to myself...this lady must be loaded! Little did we all know it was the poor folks from the city of Dixon, Ill that funded her carreer in the show ring. Its easy to be successful when you have money. This whole thing makes me sick. I hope she is locked up for a LONG LONG time! Sure hope she enjoyed her time in the winners circle, because now she is a LOSER!!!!!
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Added: April 20, 2012. 11:26 AM CDT
No water in the Dixon pool......she should of invited the kids to swim in her horse tanks ... the old saying goes pigs go to horse shows hogs go to cocktail parties the to ...............the little room at club fed.
stable boy
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Added: April 20, 2012. 10:27 AM CDT
Win photos
It always amused me how many people would pose in her win photos with her. I wonder how proud people are going to be to be associated with her in those photos now?!
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