The New York Farm Bureau presented Cazenovia's Beezie Madden with the Equine Ambassador Award in front of a big crowd at the Cazenovia College Equine Education Center Sunday afternoon.
After appearing and winning medals in three Olympic Games, including a gold medal in 2004, Madden's impact on the small town of Cazenovia, Madison County and Central New York as a whole has been felt both in the equine world and agriculture world as well.
"As a little kid you dream about going to Olympic Games," Madden says. "But, when you're a little kid you don't know what else goes along with it...there's a lot of byproducts too that are really satisfying."
New York Farm Bureau President Darrell Griff says the Madden name has been huge for the region.
"The idea that people will come out and go out where the Madden's are," Griff says. "They just Google that area and check and see what's available as far as the equine industry and equine sports, and I think that's brought a lot of people into the area."
While she has made an impact on the local industry as a whole, Madden has also inspired young equestrians to work hard in a sport that Madden admits is not mainstream, which is why she was impressed by the dozens that turned out to meet, get autographs and take pictures with her on Sunday.
"To be a role model for up and coming riders, even if people aren't riders, people can also be a fan of show jumping, if I can be a good role model, that's a part of why I do it," Madden says.
Those up and coming riders say they go through the rigors of the sport, the long hours, rigorous training both physically and mentally, because of Madden's influence. That is especially true for the equestrians who come from Central New York.
Brandi Carpenter and Kelsey Shanley, both seniors at Cazenovia College and equestrians on the Hunter Seat Equestrian Team, say because Madden went through similar steps as them, it makes them believe that they can make it to the top as well.
"From where she came, she was kind of in the same place that we were once and now she's at the highest level you can get," Kelsey Shanley says.
"Everyone looks for someone to look up to, and who better than Beezie Madden," Brandi Carpenter adds.
Madden's accolades continue as well, she will be inducted into the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame on Monday, October 15th.