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The Breed’s Future Takes Center Stage

By Mark Davis

A large and vocal crowd gathered at Calsonic Arena for the start of the 66th annual Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association National Futurity. Wayne Abee, Joe Fleming, Tommy Loid, Huck Moss and Bob Cherry met in center ring to handle the difficult task of marking the cards at the industry’s richest one night horse show. Quantity, quality and tough competition along the way was the order for the evening.

The TWHBEA Youth Medallion Championship opened the evening’s performance. This division was introduced in 2001 and was designed to encourage young riders to learn and become proficient at the canter. Riders must qualify for the Championship by showing in at least one Youth Medallion Class during the current year. Nine entries out of the 24 entered made the gate call to work before call judge Fleming and the judging panel. When the work was complete, the reigning World Championship team of Ali Ali and Jeren Guthrie rode to the championship winner’s circle for David Pruett of Madison, Tenn. Beam’s Eclipse and Kathryn Ramsbottom captured the reserve honors for Bob Ramsbotton of Norris, Tenn. Third went to Erica Derickson and Miami Heat for Dr. and Mrs. John C. Brundige of Sugar Grove, Ill. and Shelbyville, Tenn.

It was now time for the first futurity class of the evening, the Two Year Old Park Pleasure Stallions, Mares and Geldings. Five entries made the call for the class as Tommy Loid served as call judge for the class. Recent Belfast champion Jazzing Papa, sired by A Jazz Man, and trainer Josh Coble captured the first National Futurity blue of 2004 for Bob Medina of Skillman, NJ. I’m MGM Grand and Chris Messick captured the reserve honors for Lindy Holt of Florida. Doug Barnes and Senor Senor Jr rode to the third award for Kelsey Barnes of Wartrace, Tenn.

Now, for what the futurity’s really all about, the babies. Twenty-four of the 67 Weanling Fillies entered made the gate call for the evening’s competition. Judge Huck Moss called the gaits in the division. After much deliberation, announcer Chip Walters called the team of A Jazz Attraction and Robert Nelms to the winner’s circle for Curt Washburn of Fayetteville, Tenn. This outstanding young filly made it two for two for A Jazz Man with a unanimous decision of the panel. The Mr. and Mrs. Charles Brantley entry of Armed’s Perfect Lady and Chris Richards captured the reserve title. Honky Tonk Jessie and Bobby Richards took third in the large division for Dr. Roger Richards of Hendersonville, Tenn.

After the Weanlings exited the ring, there was a short break in the action for the presentation of some of the sponsoring stallions of the evening-JFK owned by the Waterfall Farms; Silver Express, owned by Robert and Lisa Marbry; Fame, owned by Phil Havens; and Generator’s Showboat, owned by Lisa Beard.

Seven of the 11 Three-Year-Old Park Pleasure Stallions, Mares and Geldings answered the gate call under the watchful eye of Judge Joe Fleming and his colleagues. Forever Spirit, sired by the late Pride’s Dark Spirit, captured the Futurity title with an across the board selection with trainer Doug Barnes in the irons. Sue Maze of Murphy, Texas proudly owns this talented performer. Lady Earnhardt and Howard Hamilton accepted the reserve honors for April Crawford of Rogers, Ark. Susan Shemwell and Vengeance With Pride took home the yellow streamer for Jay Kenehan of Oconomowoc, Wi.

Eight of the 29 scheduled entries made the call for the Two-Year-Old Mares and Geldings division. Sweepaway, the talented property of Pat Rigual of Oklahoma City, Okla. and San Juan, PR was presented to the National Futurity title by Joe Cotten. Sired by Rigual’s stallion, Sweepstakes and out of Major Accomplishment. Jose’s Switchblade and Link Webb made a very sharp performance as they rode away with reserve honors for Donnie and Charlotte Taylor of Rock Island, Tenn. A Touch Of Skywatch, owned by Fred Benjamin of Humboldt, Tenn., captured third.

The youngsters returned once again as the Yearling Fillies filled the Calsonic Arena. Twenty-three of the 104 entries nominated hit the ring as Judge Joe Fleming called the gaits. Just about every member of the large National Futurity crowd had a favorite in this division and they weren’t shy about letting the judging panel know just who that favorite might be. When the cards came in, I’m Shania Twain and Chris Richards walked to the winner’s circle for Dr. Roger Richards of Hendersonville, Tenn. This talented filly, sired by Classic Generator and out of Dixie’s Bonnie, has commanded attention throughout Middle Tennessee all summer and currently leads the WHR High Point tally. Grandy’s Summer Love and Robert Nelms accepted the reserve title for J. T. Nelms of College Grove, Tenn. Valton Rummage and Blue’s Lady Pusher walked to the yellow streamer for Ronnie W. Rummage of Columbia, Tenn.

Another short break in the action found sponsoring stallions Pride’s Jubilee Encore, owned by Dennis, Montgomery, Pedigo and Terry; Jose’ Jose, owned by William and Sandra Johnson’s Waterfall Farm; Mighty Maxx, owned by Joann Dowell; and Out On Parole, owned by the Randall Baskin family.

Fifteen of the 24 entered made the call for the Two-Year-Old Lite Shod Pleasure division. Judge Tommy Loid served as call judge for the talent-laden division. Rev’s Super Speed and Howard Hamilton captured the blue in the division for Duane and Connie Ripple of Keosauqa, Iowa. Reserve honors were captured by Russ Keyser and Divine Vengeance for Mariella Fugger of Perry, Ga. The Texas Lexus rode to the third award for Dr. Roger Richards of Hendersonville, Tenn.

A strong class of 11 made the call for the Three-Year-Old Mares and Geldings division. Judge Huck Moss served as call judge. Neon Bright and Larry Edwards were putting off a glow that was hard to miss as they made an extraordinary performance to capture the title with a unanimous decision of the judging panel. Sired by Neon Magic out of Stride’s Sugar Babe, this team captured National Futurity acclaim in 2003 in the Two-Year-Old Mare and Gelding division and is proudly owned by Dr. and Mrs. W.H. Hill of Powder Springs, Ga. Sweepstakes Wine and Roses and Joe Cotten captured the reserve title once again in 2004 as well for Iris Schumann and Nancy Lovato of Shelbyville, Tenn. and West Jordan, Utah. Third went to Jackie O All Over and Tim Gray for the Ray Beech family of Belfast, Tenn.

More babies were back in the ring as 35 of the industries finest Weanling Colts hit the ring to compete for National Futurity honors. Judge Wayne Abee handled the duties as call judge for the division. After a long deliberation, the judges selected Stonecutter’s Legacy, sired by The Stonecutter out of Peachie Pride, and handler Chris Richards captured the title for longtime breeders, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Brantley of Wartrace, Tenn. Reserve honors went to a favorite of the crowd, Look Who’s Taking Command and Nathan Mills for Hoyte Eakes of Nashville, Tenn. Aerial Assault, owned by Lisa Teel and Mitzi Butler of Andalusia, Ala., captured the third award.

It was again time to take a look at some of the evening’s sponsoring stallions-Generator’s Silver Dollar, owned by Curtice McCloy of Norman, Okla.; Stormy’s Lightning, owned by Holland, King and Kilgore of Decatur and Tuscaloosa, Ala.; Storm Threat Too, owned by Dr. R. and Pat Rigual of Oklahoma city, Okla. and San Juan, PR;

and He’s Puttin’ On The Ritz, owned by William and Sandra Johnson of Atlanta, Ga.

The Three-Year-Old Lite Shod Pleasure division brought 9 of the 17 nominated to compete for top honors. Judge Bob Cherry called the gaits in the division. Revealing Fashion, sired by The Revelation out of Fashion Show, captured blue for the second consecutive year with trainer Sherrie Szucs in the irons for W.W. Harlin, Jr. of Nashville, Tenn. Reserve honors in the division went to Papa’s Showgirl, owned by James E. Nichols of Oxford, Miss. ET’s Lookaway took home the yellow streamer for Mark and Debra Matson of Morral, Ohio.

The crowd definitely got excited when the 15 entries hit the ring for the Two-Year-Old Stallion event. Joe Fleming was given the responsibility of serving as call judge for the division. The judges had more than a difficult task in the division as the talent was deep in the class and the crowd tried to lend a hand showing support for their favorite entry. When the cards were in, the panel selected the tough team of Papa’s Armed, sired by Generator’s My Pa Pa out of Tramp With A Gun, and trainer Rob Brainard to the winner’s circle for Sean Smithey of Clarksville, Tenn. Jose’ Grande and Bill Bobo made an excellent performance as well to take home the reserve streamer for Judy McDonald of Tullahoma, Tenn. Jackie McConnell and Pushover’s Duramax were third for Stan Wilcoxen of Fontana, Calif.

The Yearling colt division saw 17 entries make the gate call to work for National Futurity honors. Judge Tommy Loid served as call for the division. After the work was complete, announcer Chip Walters called Don’t Touch Me I’m Armed , sired by 1993 WGC The Touch out of Gen’s If Looks Could Kill, and handler Robert Nelms to the winners circle for Curt Washburn and J. T. Nelms of Fayetteville and College Grove, Tenn. Reserve went to I’m Rooster Cogburn, owned by Dr. Roger Richards of Hendersonville, Tenn. The third award went to Our American Idol, owned by the MTSU Foundation of Murfreesboro, Tenn.

The Three Year Old Stallion division brought the evening to a close with 16 exciting entries making the gate call. Judge Huck Moss served as Call Judge for the final class. Making the final victory pass of the evening was the team of Strolling Through The Ritz and Larry Edwards for Don Bridges of Dawson, Ga. Reserve honors in the division were captured by The Stanley Cup and Joe Cotten for Pat Rigual of Oklahoma City, Okla. Rowdy Rev and Bill Bobo captured the yellow streamer for W. W. Harlin, Jr. of Nashville, Tenn.

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