By Sara Watts

FRANKLIN, Tenn. – It was that time of year again when many came from all across the country to meet for the annual Walking Horse Trainers' Association Banquet. This year, the event was moved back to the Cool Springs Marriott in Franklin, Tennessee where it had been held for many, many years. Due to the necessary banquet rooms already being booked on the “normal” banquet weekend, the date was pushed back a few weeks to December 15, 2018, This did not stop Tennessee Walking Horse enthusiasts from converging on middle Tennessee for a fun-filled weekend of meetings, banquets and horses.

A silent auction was held and offered over 115 different items for those in attendance to bid on. Some of the available items were a John Deere zero-turn lawn mower, many different stud fees, an exotic hunting trip in Texas, jewelry, clothes, a variety of gift baskets and a full color ad in the Walking Horse Report.

Mark Farrar once again was happy to serve as emcee for the night and handle all the announcing duties, and in his usual fashion, he kept the crowd fully entertained. Starting out the evening, Farrar took a moment to recognize several organizations that play major roles in the walking horse industry, as well as a few individuals that helped make this weekend fun and successful. 

The fourth annual Living Legend Achievement Award was presented to Sonny and Linda Scrivner. 
The 2018 Scholarship winners were acknowledged next. Presentations of the scholarships were made at the Celebration. In their eighth year as scholarship sponsors, the Glenn C. Dowell Jr. family awarded scholarships to WhitLei Green, Bailey McCormick and Braxton Waddell.

Bill Cantrell and Jimmy McConnell were called to the stage next so McConnell could be presented with his green blazer in recognition of his world grand championship win with Gen A’Mighty. The blazer is is embroidered with the Celebration logo and the years 2018, 2009, 2007 and 2004. The blazer is donated by Frank and Shirley Neal in honor of 1992 World Grand Champion Dark Spirit’s Rebel. This tradition was started in 1995.

Lauren Hamilton was honored for winning the first ever All Day Pleasure World Championship with Petal Pushin Jazz. This new category that was added to the horse of the year honors took the industry by storm and the Trainers’ Association wanted to honor her for her accomplishment.

Next up to the stage was Blaise Broccard, Amanda Odom, Gayle Holcomb and Nick Masters. They were recognized for winning the Grand Championship at the National Trainers’ Show. Blaise Broccard directed Reservation On Line to the victory to become the 50th Trainers’ Show champion. During the victory, Reservation On Line was owned by Amanda Odom. In late summer, Gayle Holcomb and Nick Masters purchased the talented contender to add to their show string.

The auxiliary awards were the next presentations to be made by WHTA Auxiliary President Sarah Smith. 

Auxiliary Equitation 11 & Under
Gold: Ani Drane
Silver: Addie Harris
Bronze: Corbin Parker
Auxiliary Equitation Youth 12-17
Gold: Morgan Norris
Silver: Brooklyn Fuss
Bronze: Mia Thomas

Auxiliary Open Equitation
Gold: Elysse Bradford
Silver: Morgan Norris
Bronze: Victoria Kalosis

Auxiliary Adult Equitation
Gold: Allison Thorson
Silver: (two-way tie)
        Elysse Bradford
        Sarah Caudill
Bronze: Carmen Vaughan

Auxiliary High Point Awards
Gold: Linda Scrivner
Silver: Taylor Walters
Bronze: Amy Trimble

Auxiliary World Champion – Taylor Walters and Miss Dixie Carter

Rookie of the Year – Amelia Haselden

Member of the Year – LeeAnn Denton

Mudslide Slim Lifetime Achievement Award – Heather Beard

The Performance Trainer of the Year award went to Tyler Baucom, while the Pleasure Trainer of the Year award went to Joe Lester. Both of these gentlemen had previously accepted their awards during the last Saturday night of the Celebration. 

Scott Shepard from Marsha's on the Square has been a valuable supporter of the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association. Again, this year, Shepard presented the trainer of the World Grand Championship with a beautiful, custom saddle-riding suit. Jimmy McConnell was happy to accept this gift. 

The Youth Council awards were the first honors presented for the evening. A points program was set into place in 2017 to help entice the youth to work hard on various projects for the walking horse industry. The Youth Council Member of the Year was awarded $500, sponsored by FAST, for all they do within the industry. This year, because there were a handful of kids that really tried very hard to participate and worked many projects, the Walking For The Angels Horse Show also donated $500 to award four more kids for all their efforts. 

Both Charleigh Goldman and Counti Green were recognized for their world grand championship wins at this year’s Celebration. Jessica Lawwell was called to the stage to be presented with the Youth Council Member of the Year honor. 

Counti Green, Jonathan Lawwell, Cohen Abernathy and Charleigh Goldman each then receivied $100 for all their hard work on behalf of the walking horse industry. 

Assistant Performance Trainer of the Year 
Clayton Davis

Assistant Pleasure Trainer of the Year
Bailey Momb

Amateur of the Year
Taylor Walters

Youth of the Year
Counti Green

Groom of the Year
Chris Alexander

Best One-Night Show
Money Tree Classic

Best Multi-Night Show
North Carolina Championship

Lead Line
Winner – Charleigh Goldman
Reserve – Alexis Cofer

Amateur Two-Year-Old Mare or Gelding
Winner – Walktime Dolly
Reserve – Veintiuno

Winner – Rythmic Night
Reserve – Churchill

Amateur Two-Year-Old Stallion
Winner – As I Am
Reserve – A Kingpin

Winner – Oh Susannah
Reserve – Sir Walter

Two-Year-Old Mare or Gelding
Winner – Me And Pocahontas
Reserve – HRH Princess Charlotte

Lite-Shod Specialty
Winner – La Patrona
Reserve – Lil Wayne

Two-Year-Old Stallion
Winner – Coach Belichick
Reserve – Jose’ Revival

Youth Show Pleasure
Winner – Godfather By Ultra Copy
Reserve – It’s Cinco De Mayo

Youth Pony
Winner – Lined Walkin’
Reserve – A Bit Of Change

Trail Pleasure
Winner – Honey Badger
Reserve – Etta James By TJB

Adult Pony
Winner – Mr. Trump
Reserve – Defending The Title

Country Pleasure
Winner – GiGi’s Majestic
Reserve – Slingblade

Winner – Jose’s Red Rock
Reserve – Prowlin’ In The Gin

Amateur Three-Year-Old Mare or Gelding
Winner – A Sunday Rose
Reserve – Mr. Rumor Has It

Elite (50 & Over)
Winner – Unreal
Reserve – Mr. Heisman

Amateur Three-Year-Old Stallion
Winner – I Am Mighty Jose’
Reserve – He’s Remington

Western Lite-Shod
Winner – Big Time Bandit
Reserve – Justifiable

Three-Year-Old Mare or Gelding
Winner – My Gin And Roses
Reserve – Jose’s Consuelo

Western Park Pleasure
Winner – Boston Bay
Reserve – Stone Cold Bandit

Three-Year-Old Stallion
Winner – Playing Gin
Reserve – Minor Ordeal

Fine Harness
Winner – Lined Royal Cash
Reserve – In Ted’s Image

Winner – Carolina Chrome
Reserve – Promise Keeper

Ladies Amateur Specialty
Winner – Ruby Lipstick
Reserve – Gin Toddy

Men’s Amateur Specialty
Winner – A King Thing
Reserve – I Am Biscayne Bay

Amateur Canter
Winner – Led Zeppelin
Reserve – The Mason Dixie Line

Youth Park Pleasure
Winner – Gintastic
Reserve – Grits In Dixie

Amateur Four-Year-Old Mare or Gelding
Winner – Nip Of Gin
Reserve – She’s Ritz N Cash

Amateur Four-Year-Old Stallion
Winner – The Darkest Hour
Reserve – A Classic Action

Amateur Park Pleasure
Winner – Dirty Sexy Money
Reserve – Top Recruit

Amateur Lite-Shod
Winner – I’m Majestic
Reserve – Big Time Bandit

Four-Year-Old Mare or Gelding
Winner – She’s Blue As Ice
Reserve – Charlie On Fire

Professional Park Pleasure
Winner – Dose’
Reserve – Gintastic

Four-Year-Old Stallion
Winner – Star Of Ritz
Reserve – Fly Dragonfly

Four & Under Country Pleasure
Winner – One Breath Away
Reserve – Twisted Sista

Amateur Park Performance
Winner – So Real
Reserve – I’m A Proud American

Amateur Show Pleasure
Winner – He’s Starbucks
Reserve – The Memphis Blues

Four & Under Trail Pleasure
Winner – Checkpoint Charlie SF
Reserve – Blacklist

Professional Park Performance
Winner – Do Right
Reserve – Dulcinea

All Day Pleasure
Winner – Pride Of The Carolina’s
Reserve – Gambler’s Golden Flame WF

Amateur Five-Year-Old Stallion
Winner – Sisko Kid
Reserve – Maroon 5

Juvenile 11 & Under
Winner – Willie Twilight
Reserve – Inception

Professional Show Pleasure
Winner – Entitlement
Reserve – Title Sweepstake

Amateur Five-Year-Old Mare or Gelding
Winner – Miss Dixie Carter
Reserve – She’s Salsarita

Amateur 15.2 & Under Mare or Gelding
Winner – Boure’
Reserve – Gin Toddy

Youth 12-17
Winner – Miss Ebony Rose
Reserve – The American Patriot

Amateur 15.2 & Under Stallion
Winner – Pro V1
Reserve – Marty McFly

Amateur Specialty
Winner – Zeta
Reserve – Greenspan

15.2 & Under Mare or Gelding
Winner – Boure’
Reserve – SJC & Bandit

15.2 & Under Stallion
Winner – I’m Pushin N Line
Reserve – Lethal Force

15.2 & Over Mare or Gelding
Winner – Extra Special Jose
Reserve – Forty Niner

15.2 & Over Stallion
Winner – Master’s Razzel And Jazz
Reserve – Gen A’Mighty