Posted September 18, 2001

by Carole Hargett

Allen and Encore, the signs were all over town! In restaurants, people were wearing Encore hats and speculating about Saturday night. Outside, supporters were cooling themselves with Encore fans. Pins with racing flags declared the Encore Team. It was in the air...this was his year. After winning the Trainer’s show in March and the Aged Stallion, Over 15.2 preliminary class, Saturday seemed to be his night. This handsome black stallion and his trainer, Allan Callaway, seemed to know what was in store for them.

As with all horses and trainers who reach this pinnacle of success, there were many unsung heroes and many stories associated with their rise. Encore’s story began with his purchase at the age of three by Kay Dennis from her friend and partner, the late Filey Patterson of Shelbyville.

“We decided to buy one top young horse instead of having several good ones. Filey found him and told me to come see him. He was purchased a short time thereafter.” To this day, Dennis wears a gold ring from the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association worn by Patterson.

“When buying a horse of this caliber, many hopes and dreams accompany the purchase,” Dennis explained, “Ours began with well-known and noted trainer, Bill Bobo.” Under his leadership, Encore won the three-year-old championship at the Tennessee State Championships and also the Southern Championship show in Atlanta, Ga. He then went on to win the four-year-old world championship at the Celebration in 1995. Bobo was the first to show Encore in a stake class. The horse went on to capture an aged stallion reserve world championship, an amateur reserve world grand championship, and a 3rd, 4th and 5th in his world grand championship performances. His level of excellence in performances over seven years kept him among the top horses in the industry.

Approximately three years ago, Dennis decided to approach Allan Callaway about bringing Encore to his barn. Callaway did not have a stake horse at the time and Dennis thought perhaps he would be willing to bring Encore to his full potential. Dennis had known Callaway for over 30 years and was aware of his reputation for caring for his horses and his customers. Plans for developing Encore into a top stake horse took shape.

Callaway explained, “What I liked most about him was that he responded to change. That way I knew what he liked and what he didn’t like. With each adjustment, we came closer to our goal. Every time I asked him for an extra something, he gave a little extra. There was absolutely no quit in him. It’s difficult to get two good shows out of a horse, especially within six or seven days of each other. But he did it. The horse had depth.”

The road to the ultimate title was wraught with many ups and downs, but Callaway and Encore persisted in honing their skills. Callaway analyzed other winning performances in order to be able to get where they needed to be. After only two years of knowing each other and cultivating a partnership, Allan and Encore positioned themselves for the championship in 2001.

Change was in the air when in June of 2001 Kay Dennis added Jerold Pedigo and Charles Terry as owners. Terry and Pedigo had done business before and owned other horses in partnership with each other, so joining forces now with Dennis was a natural progression. They had also known Callaway for more than 30 years. Terry expressed it well, “I was presented with the opportunity to become involved with a great horse and a group of very special people. I was very comfortable in that position. I was appreciative of the invitation and was struck by the commitment of everyone involved to do everything possible to achieve the world grand championship. We had built-in help with the promotion as we had a good horse and a good trainer.”

The partners now had the task of working together for a common goal in less than three months! The change was magical. The task was undertaken as a political campaign. The Allan/Encore theme was developed and there was increased attention to the new partnership and the horse, especially after his decisive Trainer’s show victory. The support for Encore grew and the owners became more enthusiastic with each endeavor.

Terry’s entire family helped with the promotions. His son, Chuck Terry, was involved in racing cars and so Encore became a circuit sponsor. The only race car sponsored by a walking horse!

“I always knew what he could do and I always thought that he would go in there and the judges would realize how talented he was and tie him,” Dennis commented. Her faith in Allan and Encore was confirmed. The 2000 Trainer of the Year and Encore had made a dream come true.

How do you feel when you win a world grand championship? Few have been able to put it into words. You ride under the spotlight, holding the roses, you can’t hear the roar of the crowd, pictures are taken, interviews are given and parties are underway. Breeding decisions need to be addressed. When is there time to ponder the achievement?

Callaway and Dennis are still in a daze and Terry and Pedigo are waiting for the full impact of this amazing year to hit them. That’s just the way of it. But all are extremely aware of those who contributed to the victory.

Callaway expressed his emotions, “My biggest satisfaction was that the horse got the respect he deserved. I was overcome by the sportsmanship expressed to me even in the line-up. Mickey McCormick shook my hand and congratulated me. Ronnie Spears stopped and shook my hand as well. Keith Baker and Rodney Dick expressed their best wishes. Best of all, the unbelievable crowd support and best wishes from old customers and former workers was more than I could ever have imagined.”

Callaway was very modest but proud of his first world grand champion. Expressions of thanks were extended to his wife, Karen, sons John Allan and Bill and assistant trainer Sam McLaughlin. Also to grooms and staff, Peacock, Oscar, Tablo, Rafael, Barro, and farm manager Marty Groggus, who were all very instrumental in the preparation of Encore. “Of course,” Callaway commented, “Without the promotion of Encore by Dennis, Terry and Pedigo, none of this would have been possible.”

Dennis added, “It was very exciting to be from Shelbyville and bring the title to town.”

Terry and Pedigo were very appreciative of the judging panel who ultimately had the responsibility and duty to decide the outcome; they demonstrated their ability to judge and discharged their duties intelligently. “The unsung heroes,” Terry commented, “were the Celebration board and staff and the City of Shelbyville. I commend them for doing an excellent job. Without them we wouldn’t be doing interviews today.”

1991 was a good breeding year...that year alone produced five world grand champions: Generator’s Santana, Masquerading, He’s Putting On The Ritz, Cash For Keeps and Pride’s Jubilee Encore. A very good year indeed!

Encore was bred to be a champion and this seasoned veteran of the show ring captured the prize he was bred to claim. He is sired by the late world grand champion, Pride’s Jubilee Star, himself a sire of champions. He is out of the top producing mare, Lady Fame, who was out of a Midnight Mack K mare. As those before him have done, Allan and Encore will exhibit and promote the Tennessee walking horse during the next year. He will be retired to the breeding barn where he will contribute both championship bloodlines and his own abilities to his offspring.

The fans said it all as the ground swell emerged with each trip around the ring, Encore! Encore! Encore!