by Sherry Clarneau
CULLMAN, Ala. - The annual Walking Horse Association of Alabama held its High Point awards banquet Saturday, January 19, 2002. A social hour kicked off the event with the banquet beginning at 7:00 p.m. This year's banquet was held at the All Steak Restaurant, where a wonderful buffet was served.

The attendance at this year's banquet was overwhelming and the generosity of the Alabama Association the same. For the past five years they have donated the proceeds from their shows to Camp Smile-A-Mile. This is a camp for children who are victims of cancer. A check for $35,000.00 was presented to Lynn Thompson, Executive Director of the program, and former board member Mike Royer. Making the presentation were: WHAA Chairman of the Board, Mike Young, 2001 President of the WHAA, Rob Cornelius, and Alabama Horse Show Committee Chairman, E.C. Moody.

Mike Royer, weather forecaster for NBC13 in Birmingham and former board member of Camp Smile-A-Mile, spoke of the generosity of the Alabama Association and how the money is used to help the children. It was very heartwarming to know that so many have been helped through the walking horse industry pushing hard to raise money for such a good cause.

The WHAA was not alone in the giving. The Gilbert Miller family was so touched by the efforts of the camp that they donated a stud fee to the 1998 World Grand Champion, Masquerading, with all proceeds going directly to the camp. The stud fee was purchased by Stanley and Eva Enfinger for $2,000.

Roy Priest, who is with Representative Bud Cramer's office, was on hand to share their concern and encouragement for the walking horse industry. Priest stated that, " We still don't have everything we need for the industry, speaking of the Operating Plan, and we are working to get something solid that will work for a period of more than a year or two at a time." He reassured the Association and guests that they are working to hard to help them. It was very evident that he knows about the industries problems and that we do need the support of our government officials.

The night began with the Weanling division high point winners. Weanling high point winner was not overlooked, he was Overlooked, owned by Kemp and Brown. Reserve honors were taken home by In A Spin, for proud owners Kemp and Brown. General Trend set the trend in the Yearling high point division for owner J. Michael Brown. Live From Texas was live in Alabama for the reserve award for owner Joan Kemp. The Two-Year-Old Stallions and Geldings division was next up. Generator’s Dry Gin took home the top honors for the Funderburk and Zahnd ownership. Doc’s Cutting Edge, owned by Wes Sanford, edged the competition for reserve.

Bonanza’s Dixie Bell, owned by Pate and Elrod, heard a sweet song of success, when announced high point winners in the Two-Year-Old Mares. Cash’s Jezebel, owned by Fergeson Farms, cashed in on the reserve honors. The Three-Year-Old Stallions and Geldings were the next section called. Times Two was number one in the Three-Year-Old Stallions and Geldings division for owners Bentley and Beam. Black Night Power shifted into reserve for Dogwood Farms. Annie’s Pushin’ Girl pushed her way to the top in the Three-Year-Old Mares division for Ferguson Farms. ET’s Lady Proud, owned by Clark Farms, was reserve.

In the Four-Year-Old Stallions and Geldings division, Close Call took away the high point award for Harold and Nita Bentley. Paycheck By MG cashed in on reserve for Clark Farms. The Four-Year-Old Mare division had no qualifiers. The Aged Stallion and Geldings high point award went to Marlon Brando, owned by Clark Farms. Extra High Dollar went the extra mile for reserve for Bobby and Sandra Ellison. Almost Indecent was very decent for the high point honor in the Aged Mare division. Gen's Gold Coin Lady made her way to reserve for Clark Farms. Cash's Twilight dawned on the Open Specialty high point top spot for Mike and Ginger Young. Pushover's Darling pushed her way to reserve for Elizabeth Good.

The Open Show Pleasure division winner was no secret. The Secret Senator came away with the honor for Clark Farms. Forever Silver was reserve for Kemp and Mahan Manor Farms. Pushin' high to the top of the 15.2 and Under section was Generator's Mountain, owned by Woodie and Carolyn Spinks. Pride's Morning Sun captured reserve for the George Britt family. Premier's Pretty Woman walked away with the Two and Three-Year-Old Plantation Pleasure Specialty win for Allen and Nan Ingle. The Illusionist was no illusion, in second place for Toby Scarbrough. Raven's Black Velvet, owned by Vicki Tittle marched away with the Juvenile Plantation Pleasure Specialty. Wired 440, owned by Clark Farms was certainly wired for the Amateur Plantation Pleasure Specialty high point honor. Threat's Black Bum made way to the reserve for Carolyn Greger. In the Open Plantation Pleasure Specialty, Gen's Face Value, owned by Clark Farms, topped the competition for the honor. Captive Heart captured reserve for Strickland Farms. Coin's Flip Side, owned by Triple K Stables, cashed in on first in the Western Plantation pleasure Specialty division. Dark Spirit's Mountain Boy, owned by Joe Taylor, was reserve. Collector's Big Time hit the big time in the Country Pleasure Specialty for owner Joyce Smith. Conclusive Command commanded Richard Turner to the reserve. Wrapping up the Plantation awards was the Plantation Pleasure Lite Shod. Coin's Flip Side took home his second win for the night for Triple K Stables. Shady Encounter was not hidden by competition for Kathy Statham, as she claimed reserve. Pride's Beamer, owned by Russ and Linda Thomas, topped the Ponies for Riders 17 and Under high point division. Thriller's Flame burned into reserve for Helen Hayes. Symbol's Black Ebony was the symbol of the high point winner in the Juvenile 11 and Under section for Ray and Janet Coley. Generator's No U was reserve for Collier and Hale. Pushin' Midnight pushed his way to top honors in the Juvenile 12-17 Specialty for the George Britt family. Pusher's Risky Rival, owned by Danny and Debbie Breedwell. was reserve. Rounding out the Juvenile division was the Juvenile Specialty 17 and Under. Master Of Pride was the pride of the Ricky Young family, mastering the top spot. Pride's Walking Genius walked away with reserve for Dogwood Farms.

The Two-Year-Old Amateur division was topped by Dumas' Dandy Dan, owned by Stewart and Clark. Doc's Cutting Edge found himself in reserve for Wes Samford. The Three-Year-Old Amateur section was next. Pusher's Que Mark made his mark for the top honor for Ferguson Farms tying for first in this division was another of Ferguson Farms mounts, Wire Me Up. Paycheck By MG cashed in on the high point award in Four-Year-Old Amateur competition for Clark Farms. Spontaneous Choice jumped into reserve for Mr. and Mrs. Roger Latham.

The Amateur Owned and Trained division was froze by Touch Of Frost, owned by Triple K Stables. Reserve went to Gen's Gold Coin Lady, owned by Clark Farms. Pusher's Feel Of Thunder had the competition feeling the blast as Bobby and Sandra Ellison took first in the Amateur Specialty Lady Riders. Market's Black Shadow, owned by Woodie and Carolyn Spinks, was reserve. Mogambo topped the Amateur Specialty Gentlemen Riders competition for Palmer and Ellen Scherf. Almost Indecent was reserve for Charles Mims. Star Candidate was the top candidate for the award in the Open Amateur Specialty for Richard Lambert. Southern Night Hawk soared into second for William Mitchell. Star Candidate also rose to the 15.2 and Under Amateur Specialty high point honor. Red Man Walking, owned by Bruce and Robin MacDonald, took the reserve.

It was an evening to remember for Ray Solley, as Evening To Remember took the award in the Open Amateur division. Market's Black Shadow, owned by Woodie and Carolyn Spinks, was reserve. Cypress' Go Boy was the winner in the Amateur Show Pleasure Specialty division. Absolute Gen was the absolute second for Larry Latham.

The Walking Stake award was donated by Woodie and Carolyn Spinks. The Stock's Sweet Lady Perpetual Award was presented to Joel Johnson for Dark Storm Warning, ridden by Steve Beam. Bodacious Pusher, trained by Greg Pate, was reserve for Mike and Ginger Young.

The Overall High Point Horse Of The Year in the Pleasure Division was Coin's Flip Side, owned by Triple K Stables. Coin's Flip Side was presented by Suzanne Keplinger the Eb's Bad Friday Perpetual Award, donated by John and Suzanne Keplinger. John Keplinger trains Coin's Flip Side and Suzanne shows the winner. The Overall High Point Horse of the Year in the Performance Division was Master Of Pride, the pride of the Ricky Young family. Master Of Pride was presented the Struttin' Peacock Perpetual Award donated by John and Suzanne Keplinger. Greg and Chris Pate train Master Of Pride and he is exhibited by Meg Young and Chris Pate.

The following awards were presented based on points average for the year. Steve Clark and Clark Farms had an awesome year, he was named Trainer of the Year. Claiming the Juvenile Rider of the Year, for her consistent efforts, was Meg Young. Meg's horses are prepared by Greg Pate Stables, Boaz Alabama. Roxanne Reeves received the honor of Lady Rider of the Year. Reeves horses are also prepared by Greg Pate Stables. Taking home the award for Gentleman Rider of the Year was Nathan Clark. His entries were prepared by Clark Farms in Arab, Alabama.

The next awards were voted on by members of the Alabama Association. Receiving the honor of Assistant Trainer of the Year was Chris Pate who works at Greg Pate Stables. The Best One Night Show of the Year went to the Alabama Ladies Auxiliary Show. 2001 Auxiliary President was Sheila Clark and Valerie Smith acted as Show Chairperson. Last, but certainly not least, Horseperson of the Year was awarded to E.C. Moody for his constant effort and hard work with the Alabama Association.

The WHAA was very pleased with this year's support from the trainers, owners, and exhibitors. They feel that 2002 will be another outstanding year and hope to raise more money than ever for Camp Smile-A-Mile. Plans call for a new show to be held in Decatur on August 10th, which will be the a Futurity show.