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Dateline Dixon: Old calendars for a new year

DIXON – While most people turned the page to January 2013 on their new calendars, I flipped through an old one that someday may become a defining piece of Rita Crundwell memorabilia.

This was a 2012 calendar, featuring one of Crundwell’s world champion horses for each month.

In total, 451 of these promotional calendars from 2012 and 17 from 2011 were discovered at Crundwell’s former properties and added to recent online auctions. They were bundled in lots of one, five or 25, and all sold.

Professional Auction Services said they went for as high as $26 to as low as $10, tallying $371 more to the estimated $8 million of Crundwell’s sold assets, which in large part will go to the city as restitution.

From “Two Thumbs Up” – the highlighted horse in December 2011 – to “Like to be Noticed” and “Fabulous Morie” featured in December 2012, these show horses lit up the pages in all their airbrushed glory, serving as reminders of the equine empire she built with $53 million stolen from Dixon city accounts.

The former comptroller herself was featured several times, including the May photo, in which she was riding Un Forgettable, a gray quarter horse stallion named an under saddle champion in 2010.

Seven horses lined the cover in an open meadow with wispy clouds outlining a world map. Photoshopped above them was the tagline “open a world of opportunities with our lineup of champions.”

Crundwell’s patented silver “RC” logo in front of an all-black backdrop stood in the lower center, and donned each page, along with information for the Meri-J Ranch in Beloit, Wis.

Important horse show dates were marked on the calendar like holidays.

Another handful of these calendars were handed out like door prizes to those who picked up their auction items at Crundwell’s former Route 52 home, or who volunteered.

While these calendars are the type of thing that winds up on eBay a decade from now going far more than it’s worth, I wouldn’t blame any Dixon resident for getting mad at the sight of one of them.

After all, it was residents’ tax money that built the empire.

There is one thing that should cheer them up, though: There will be no 2013 edition.

Stop by

Dateline Dixon is a weekly column on happenings in Dixon.

Derek Barichello has “office hours” from 1 to 2 p.m. today at Books on First, 202 W. First St. Feel free to stop to ask questions, suggest story ideas, or just chat.

He also can be reached at or 800-798-4085, ext. 526.

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