By Linda Scrivner
Posted May 3, 2002
PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. - A huge audience and 530 entries from across the nation converged on Panama City Beach, Fla. to celebrate the Tennessee Walking Horse at the fourth annual Gulf Coast Horse Show and Festival. The warm beaches as well as the fabulous food and entertainment make this show one that “must” be on your list of spring shows.

Sister Blackmon Milligan, Gulf Coast Charity Celebration Show Chairman stated, “ The 4th Annual Gulf Coast Horse Show was by far the best show we’ve had. We appreciate everyone traveling to participate in this year’s show. Many thanks to all of you who make this event possible by your participation and support!”

“Hospice of the Emerald Coast will benefit greatly from everyone’s generosity. The local community college will be awarded additional scholarships. And, this year an organization dedicated to turning around the lives of troubled youths are a recipient of the Gulf Coast Horse Shows Charity contributions.”

Milligan continued, “We look forward to seeing everyone next year, April 24-26th, 2003 at the 5th Annual Gulf Coast Horse Show.”

The festivities started with a warm, welcome reception at Tommy and Sister Milligan’s home on Wednesday evening. On the schedule of events were featured restaurants, bands each evening before and after the show, “fabulous flying dogs” entertaining preshow and at intermissions, as well as lots of good food and companionship throughout the show. The Gulf Coast Show continued with beautiful sunny days and perfect cool breezes at night.

On all three nights Counterfeit Dollar and Todd Smith presented Old Glory. This was a spectacular sight as this white horse owned by Dr. Bob and Curtice McCloy came across the white sands carrying the red, white and blue of our country.

Once you have attended this show you can see why it has won the following national awards: 1999, 2000 and 2001 Best Multi-Day Show by readers of the Walking Horse Report, 1999 & 2000 Reserve Multi-Day Horse Show of the Year by the National Walking Horse Trainers’ Association; 2001 Best Multi-Day Horse Show of the Year by the National Walking Horse Trainers’ Association and 2001 Emerald Award of Excellence in Show Management by the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association.

Ray Gilmer, Wink Groover and Joe Fleming officiated the three day show with many unanimous decisions throughout the 50 classes. In the final class Saturday evening, the judges worked seven horses for the Walking Horse Championship title. 2001 World Champion Three-Year-Old Stallion and Three-Year-Old Reserve Grand Champion, The Black Night Shade and Jimmy McConnell were chosen to wear the roses following a second running walk. The Reserve Grand Championship spot was won by the team of Pusher’s Clown and Chad Baucom while third was awarded to 2001 Reserve World Grand Champion Four-Year-Old and Reserve World Champion Four-Year Old Stallion Private Charter and Larry Edwards. Many were on their feet at the conclusion of this class and tremendous applause was given by the crowd to their favorites.

Baucom Stables and Howard Hamilton Southern Serenity Ranch topped the blue ribbon count with five titles each. Baucom Stables presented Electrifying and Dona Griffin to a unanimous win in the Amateur Specialty Championship in a field of ten top horses for the second year in a row. Electrifying is also the current World Champion Amateur Stallion Specialty and the Reserve Amateur Specialty World Grand Champion.

WC Olympic’s Energizer had a new rider and they made their debut together one that will be remembered my many. Jennifer May skillfully directed the bay stallion to the Amateur Stallions, 15.2 and Under Specialty on Thursday evening. It was hard to tell who was more excited, Jennifer or mom Becky May who has previously shown the little bay horse. On Saturday Becky May made her debut on another little bay, head-shaking horse, Olympic’s Supergizer, a full brother to Energizer. This youngster topped a field of 17 to wear the blue from the ring with much applause coming their way. Smiles and tears were once again coming from mother and daughter. On Thursday evening, 22 answered the gate call for the Amateur Three-Year-Old Mares and Geldings. 2001 Amateur Two-Year-Old Mares or Geldings World Champion Cameo Cash and Rhonda Warren made Baucom Stables very proud as they made the victory pass. In 2001, they also made the Gulf Coast Charity’s victory pass in the Two-Year-Old Amateur Mare and Gelding division. The only horse that had a standing ovation during his performance was a tiny Baucom on a little roan pony. Tyler Baucom rode as hard as any trainer in the stake on Busted & Broke to entertain the crowd and to wear the blue from the 13-entry Walking Pony Specialty class. It was obvious that neither of them thought they were small by the performance they made.

Howard Hamilton’s Southern Serenity Ranch also returned home with a championship win.

Howard Hamilton directed the black powerhouse, Pusher’s Beaming Pride C.K. to wear the roses in the Lite Shod Championship following two previous blues by this horse at the Gulf Coast show. Pusher’s Beaming Pride C. K. was the only horse to return home with three Gulf Coast blues. He and Hamilton previously won the Lite Shod Specialty and owner Jim Nichols happily wore the blue from the ring in the Amateur Lite Shod Specialty. Pusher’s Beaming Pride’ C.K.’s 2001 record includes the 2001 World Grand Champion Plantation Lite Shod Specialty, the World Champion Novice Four-Year-Old & Under Lite Shod Amateur Specialty and the 2001 International Lite Shod Specialty Grand Champion, Four-Years & Under. The Jim Nichols family also owned another 2002 Gulf Coast Champion, Royal’s China Doll. Howard Hamilton directed China Doll to the Open Park Pleasure title.

Jenna Hamilton earned Southern Serenity Ranch’s fifth blue with 2001 World Champion Novice Amateur English Trail Pleasure Riders on Novice Horses Specialty, Olympic Angel in the Western Lite Shod Specialty class. This is the second year in a row that this team has won this class at the Gulf Coast Show.

Carl Edwards and Sons Stables returned to Dawson, Georgia with four blues. Winning the first blue of the show and their second 2002 blue in two shows were the team of Figgy Puddin’ and Suzanne Littell in the Amateur Mares or Geldings, 15.2 and Under Specialty of 14 entries. This 2001 Reserve Four-Year-Old Amateur Mare and Gelding World Championship team made the step up to the aged division in style. They also were crowned 2002 National Trainers’ Show champions in the same class as in Panama.

Gen’s Burning Rage, 1999, 2000, and 2001 World Grand Champion Mare & Gelding and 2001 World Champion Amateur Mare Specialty won her second 2002 blue under the new ownership of the Dan McSwain Family and with Larry Edwards in the saddle. This team won the Gulf Coast Mares and Geldings Specialty following their 2002 Trainers’ Show victory. On Friday night, Larry Edwards won two back to back classes. He first won the Stallion Specialty with 11 entries aboard I’m Twice The Delight. This team previously won the Dawson, Georgia Grand Championship making their 2002 season equal two blues in two outings. He entered the next class, Four-Year-Old Stallions, winning it with The American General, 2001 Reserve World Champion Three-Year-Old. This was their 2002 debut performance.

Two stables returned home with triple blues: Mike Hilley of White Oak Farms and Jackie McConnell of Whitter Stables. WC Silver Express rolled into Panama City to win the same class this season as last. Lisa Marbry were 2001 and 2002 Amateur Stallion Specialty Champions at the Gulf Coast Show. This win was on the heels of his 2002 Trainers’ Show victory in the same class. Also on Thursday evening from White Oak were the winners of the 12-entry Amateur Four-Year-Old Mare or Geldings Specialty, Pushin That Jazz and Sarah Dunn. They were also National Trainers’ Show winners in that division. White Oaks put another beautiful gray in the ring in the Fine Harness at Panama. Mike Hilley presented Big Guy Design to the blue.

Jackie McConnell won both divisions of the two-year-olds. He first won the Two-Year-Old Mares and Geldings with a bay Major Heart Throb. He returned to win the 19-strong Two-Year Old Stallion Class with Gen’s Major Event. This team recently made their blue ribbon debut at Jackson, Mississippi and won the Two-Year-Old Stallion there.

There were 20 outstanding Three-Year-Old Mares and Geldings that strolled across the Panama beach. The judges selected Dangerously Dazzling to make the victory pass with Jackie McConnell aboard making it two Panama blues for owner John Alford.

Dual blues were won by Doug Barnes of Blue Ribbon Stables, Knox Blackburn Stables, Steve Clark of Clark Farms, Jennifer Hankins of Hankins Stables, Jimmy McConnell of Formac Stables, Chad Owings, Dick Peebles Stables and Todd Smith Stables.

Blue Ribbon’s champions came in the form of Senor Generator and Doug Barnes as they carried out the roses in the Park Pleasure Championship and with Jose Quervo Gold and Bob Lawrence in the Amateur Lite Shod Four & Under. Senor Generator is a dual 2001 World Champion and recently won both the Trainers’ Show Amateur Park Pleasure Two-Gait Champion and the Open Specialty Grand Champion. Jose’ Quervo Gold is also a 2001 dual World Champion and won two blues at the 2002 Trainers’ Show, the Amateur Lite Shod Specialty Grand Championship as well as the Amateur Lite Shod Four & Under Championship.

Coin Maker was the star from Knox Blackburn Stables making two awesome performances in Florida. On Thursday night Knox Blackburn won the Show Pleasure Specialty with 14 entries on this 1999-2000-2001 Amateur Show Pleasure Specialty World Grand Champion. Coin Maker also has 2002 dual Trainers’ Show blues to his credit. On Saturday night Coin Maker and Suzanne Littell made their repeat win of last season at Florida in the Amateur Show Pleasure Specialty. Eighteen talented entries filled the ring completely. This team has quite a record since he was purchased last year in Panama as Suzanne Littell’s birthday present.

Nathan Clark of Clark Farms rode two Panama champions. First he won the Amateur with Paycheck by MG. He also directed Pusher’s Anna to the top of the 12 horse Amateur Two-Year-Old Mares and Geldings class.

On Friday night 12 Amateur Park Pleasure Specialty entries answered the gate call. The judges’ choice was the beautiful flax maned and tailed A Greater Generator. Mary Martin directed this talent under Jennifer Hankins guidance. Martin and A Greater Generator claimed the Amateur Park Pleasure Specialty Championship on Saturday night also.

In addition to the Grand Championship, Jimmy McConnell also captured the 22 entry Three-Year-Old Stallions blue with Black Danger.

Chad Owings enjoyed dual blues in Florida. He first won the Amateur Owned & Trained Specialty with Cando’s Coin Collector and then the Three-Year-Old & Under Park Pleasure with Armed Miss Ebony.

The Anthony Joseph Family also collected dual blues under the guidance of Dick Peebles Stables. Snowatch and Ashley Joseph chilled 19 entries in the Amateur Four-Year-Old Stallions Specialty and walked away with the blue. In 2001 SnoWatch won the Gulf Coast Three-Year-Old Championship and this season he has blues from Starkville, Mississippi and Jackson, Mississippi with Ashley Joseph in the irons. On Friday evening mother Carolyn Joseph and Pusher’s Black Jewel gleamed in the 11 entry Amateur Mares Specialty to garner the blue.

Todd Smith traveled from Kentucky to return home with two Florida blues. His first was won by A Magic Moment and Becky Kidd Miller in the Amateur Geldings Specialty with 16 entries. Heart Attack’s Fast Beat and Beth Carol Thomas earned the blue in the Youth 12-17 years besting a class of 20.

The remaining single blues were won by top stables all over the USA who traveled to Florida for the sand, sea and in search of the well sought after blues. Seventeen Three-Year-Old Amateur Stallions made Martha Branson and Diamond’s Touchdown ride hard for the blue from Allen Forman Stables. Candy Whitehead Green rode hard on Make My Mark Black and made their ribbon blue in the Trainers’ Auxiliary class for father/trainer Whitey Whitehead.

U C I’m Ultra Gold and Bill Cantrell scared away the competition in the Stallions, 15.2 and Under and had the class and the blue all to themselves. Charlie Greene and Gone & Done It gone and did it in the Mare or Geldings 15.2 and Under to wear the blue.

Pushover & Lookout and Lucky Collins were the team to lookout for among the 11 entries in the 50 and Over Amateur Specialty. They walked out with the blue under the guidance of Finish Line Farms. K. C. Givens Hensley earned the victory pass aboard Sparkling Generator in the Lite Shod Open.

The Yearlings & Weanlings had enough entries to split them into fillies and stallions at the Gulf Coast Show. Topping the Fillies section was the team of Laura Berringer and Ms. Skywalker. Robert Nelms continues to be a major threat in the halter divisions and he won the Stallion portion with Dark Spirit’s Shaman.

The 11 and Under Juvenile is always a crowd pleaser and the 14 entries did their best. Rising to the top of the class was Bo Beam riding Dark Storm Warning under trainer Stephen Brown. Miles Irby and Coin’s Black Spice added another Western Park Pleasure Specialty class blue to their resume. They also won this class at Jackson, Mississippi.

Gen’s Black Gen and Keith Blackburn made an exciting debut in the 12 entry Three-Year-Old Stallion Extravaganza to win the blue. You would never know by watching this talented stallion that this was his first time in the showring. One of the most talent-loaded classes of the show was the Pro-Am Specialty class. Cut The Smoke smoked the 21 entries with owner Brenda Carlon riding the first way and Herbert Derickson riding the second way. Brenda Carlon was pleased with the blue but perhaps envied Herbert taking the victory pass. Everyone likes to ride a great horse!

Allan Callaway and Current World Champion Three-Year-Old Amateur Mare, The Paper Rose were chosen to take the victory pass in the Four-Year-Old Mares or Geldings class. Alice Klein and Discover Gold made trainer Jeff Willis happy when they panned out the blue in the Equitation class.

Seafood, Sea water, and see horses are the three main enjoyments at the Gulf Coast Charity Celebration. If you haven’t been you need to go and if you’ve been you know that no one else can put on such a class act show as Sister Milligan. Don’t miss the 5th Annual in 2003.

For the complete show story, see the printed edition of Walking Horse Report dated may 6, 2002.