by Van Barnes

EUGENE, Ore. - Beautiful fall weather greeted exhibitors to the last show in the Northwest, the Western International All Walking Horse Show and Regional Futurity, held at the Oregon Horse Center on Sept. 25-27, 2009. This was the 31st year for this annual event that brings exhibitors from as far away as Southern California and Northern Idaho to exhibit their colts and fillies at the futurity. Judge Sam Sorrel was on had to officiate this three-day event.

The festivities started on Friday evening with an aisle party. Most barns participated in a large potluck followed by wheelbarrow races in the main arena. The premise of the race was to blindfold the person pushing the wheelbarrow while the person in the wheelbarrow gave directions through the maze. It was a timed event that brought a huge crowd of supporters. In the end, Justus Carter and Elise Paulson won the grand prize for that entertaining event.

 In the ribbon count, The Mill Creek Walking Horse Ranch with Hannah Pulvers and Justus Carter as trainers took in 31 blue ribbons with The Wicked Master, owned and exhibited by Sheryl Volkman, and A Jazz Fest, owned and exhibited by Kyle Elliot, being undefeated. Lightning Jazz took four blues with Elise Paulson and Justus Carter exhibiting. A Usual Suspect captured six blues for Cheryl Morgan when Robyn Neville exhibited for her mother. Veiled Temptress and Elise Paulson took two blues and two reserves for Mill Creek, and Kyle Elliot with Designed To Push rounded things out with two wins. The Wicked Master and Lightning Jazz returned home from the International and Celebration with multiple championships and reserve championships.

Linda Arnold Stables won 12 blues with seven going to an unbeatable combination of Josey Josey and juvenile rider Hannah Richards. Richards was not afraid to hit those open classes and take on any entry. She’s In The Mix also took home four blues and Designer’s Edition evened out the field.

Jana Woods Stables had Twice Broken take home blues in the Show/Show Pleasure Youth classes with Kyle Elliot exhibiting. Leonard Romie and Mystery At The Ritz had two perfect rides to sweep the Show Pleasure Amateur and Championship classes for 2009.

Frank White Stables won the Plantation Two-Year-Old class with Beauty’s Wicked Elegance, owned by Melanie and Steve Upward. Black Hills Magnum took home the blues in the show/show pleasure divisions for owners Jim and Bobbie Smith. Generator’s Bear, owned by Paul and Tanya Schwarz, took home the blue in the Plantation Western Open class with Frank White exhibiting.

David Fields Stables captured wins in the Open Show/Show Pleasure qualifier with Watch My Dust making a comeback after several years out of the ring for owner Sharon Miller. Unique Dollar and Jessica Fields took home the blue in the show pleasure division for owner Doreen Hand.

Wendy and Lauren Shaw of Bouquet Creek Farms made that long trip from Southern California to take home seven blue ribbons with Tried And True in the lite-shod divisions, and four blues also in the lite-shod division with Move It Or Loose It.

Cheveaux Training Stables and Sharon Gueck-Deford took home the Weanling Fillies Championship for owners Allan and Nancy Plunkett. Elizabeth Oaks and I’m MGM scored in the Country Pleasure Three-Year-Old Specialty class.

Not to be outdone, there are a couple of amateur owned and trained teams who were noteworthy at this show. Kristine Mathison walked away with the Weanling Fillies Futurity Championship with her filly, Evilicious. Holly Reynolds and Gen’s Lady In Black consistently placed in the ribbons and took home the blue for the Amateur Owned & Trained Three-Gait Owner to Ride class.

Even though the economy is down, the Western International remains one of the best shows on the West Coast. Drawing horses from a four state region and offering a full slate of classes for all exhibitors to come and participate in. The Oregon Horse Center in Eugene, Ore., is an easy commute from Southern California and Northern Idaho. This event has always proved to be the perfect ending to the show year.

Special thanks go to Leonard Romie for providing the pictorial coverage for this editorial.

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