Raffle Winner Names Assateague Foal ‘Tako Kichi’

Raffle Winner Names Assateague Foal ‘Tako Kichi’
A new foal, pictured on Assateague Island, received the name Tako Kichi as part of a naming rights raffle held by the Assateague Island Alliance. Photo Courtesy of Assateague Island Alliance

ASSATEAGUE – The last new foal naming rights raffle on Assateague is complete, and the chestnut filly will now be known at “Tako Kichi.”

Each year the Assateague Island Alliance (AIA), the friends group of the Assateague Island National Seashore, which advocates on behalf of the island’s most famed residents, hosts naming rights contests for the foals born into the herd on the Maryland side. Often, the contests are held as eBay auctions or other creative contests such as online raffles conducted through the organization’s website.

Such was the case for the latest foal naming contest, which opened in early December. It was the AIA’s last foal naming contest of the year. The foal was known only as N2BHS-AIOU, but the raffle ticket winner had the opportunity to apply a lasting, creative name on one of the island’s newest arrivals. In the 1970s, the National Park Service began assigning alpha-numeric names to the wild horses on the island to better track their lineage and the areas they tend to frequent.

The foal naming rights raffle ended last weekend and the winner was Maryland resident Jo-Ann Rasmussen, who held the winning ticket. Rasmussen chose the name “Tako Kichi” for its loose Japanese translation meaning “kite crazy” in honor of the kite flying hobby she shares with her spouse, Rich Miller.

“Tako Kichi is a phrase that is used worldwide, especially by those in the international kite flying community, referring to those who are passionate about kites and kite flying,” said Rasmussen. “My husband and I have been involved in kiting for over 40 years. We describe it as a hobby out of control as it started with just one small kite and grew.”

Rasmussen and Miller have a collection of kites from all over the world, from miniature kites to those that are over 50 feet long. Miller has made the couple’s band of kites they call “Assateague Sky Ponies,” which represent several of the popular Assateague horses on the barrier island including Annie Laurie, Autumn Glory, Charcoal and Coco, along with a few generic horses, unicorns, Pegasus, and mer-horses. Soon, a new kite named Tako Kichi will be added to the collection.

“We have enjoyed visiting Assateague for several decades, enjoying nature and participating in a variety of activities including kayaking, biking and hiking,” said Rasmussen. “However, Assateague Island National Seashore has become one of our favorite places to fly kites and to share our favorite hobby with others. Talking to other park visitors is one of our favorite things to do while flying kites. Kites are a way to break the ice, meet other people and put a smile on someone’s face. It’s fun to launch a pile of fabric, watch it take shape in the breeze and hear children yelling out with enthusiasm what it is. We hope Tako Kichi will run like the wind as she grows up and lives her life on Assateague Island.”

The naming rights raffle raised more than $3,000 for the AIA. All financial contributions support AIA’s mission to promote the awareness, education and protection of Assateague Island National Seashore’s wildlife and natural resources.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.