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Cash For Keeps Returns!



2000 World Grand Champion Cash For Keeps has been purchased by Morrison Stables of Hattiesburg, Miss. It’s always news whenever a world grand champion changes hands but especially when he will be returning to the showring. Cash For Keeps has been purchased to be the amateur mount of Jeanne Morrison, who is greatly looking forward to the 2005 show season.

On Sept. 2, 2000, Cash For Keeps topped what many called the best stake class at the Celebration in years. Gilmer has been quoted as saying, “Keeps is a very intelligent animal who never has a bad day.” In this first world grand championship for both Keeps and Gilmer, Gilmer’s grin won every heart in the crowd. “Keeps” always seemed to pose for the camera and always loved the attention that he received in the winner’s circle.

Five top stallions were called to work-out for the first place tie and the crowd response to these stallions was deafening. Keeps seemed to respond to the crowd’s roar. Gilmer said, “He got a little stronger each round. The strongest round he made all night was the last round. That’s what you want to do.”

At forty-six years of age, with 28 spent as a trainer, Gilmer waited as the spotlight scanned the line-up at the end of the stake class. When number 1955 was called Gilmer stated, “I thought I was dreaming. I just sat there a minute to make sure I was awake.”

Keeps and Gilmer had been together as a team for three years. His owners at that time were the Harrell Brawner family of Wynne, Arkansas. Since that time, Ray Gilmer and Falcon Ridge Farm purchased Cash For Keeps and were breeding him at the time of purchase. At the time he won the Celebration, Gilmer was at his Eads, Tenn., facility in west Tennessee.

The Brawners’ ownership of Cash For Keeps began in 1994 when Brawner told Sammy Day to find him a horse. The call came in and when Brawner saw him he said, “I knew the first time I saw him. I bought him that day.”

Under Day’s guidance, Cash For Keeps was the first horse to defeat He’s Puttin’ On the Ritz at Pulaski in 1994. In 1995, the team was part of one of the great showdowns in walking horse history at the Celebration. No one who saw it will forget the workout between Day and Keeps and Our First Impression and Bud Dunn. When he was named four-year-old world grand champion, it brought the house down.

Keeps was brought to Gilmer on December 29, 1997 and the team made their debut in ‘98 at the Jackson, Miss., show. They won the preliminary and the championship. tThey added stake titles at the ‘98 Cotton Classic and the Spring Fun Show, which came with a unanimous decision. They had a preliminary win at the Celebration that year and was fifth in the stake.

In ‘99, their wins included Dixie Jubilee, Hernando Lions Charity Classic, Moore County, Southern Championship, White Oak Classic and reserve in the preliminary at the Celebration.

In 2000, the team showed twice before the Celebration. They won the stake at Lewisburg, a reserve at Woodbury and a reserve spot in the preliminary at the Celebration. On Saturday night, the nine-year-old stallion and his determined rider were primed and ready. Both Brawner and Gilmer felt that Keeps made a near-perfect performance on Saturday night in the championship.

When Ray Gilmer rode up for the world grand championship presentation, Gilmer dismounted and embraced his family in center ring. His two sons, daughter and son-in-law had jumped the rail and ran to him. The crowd loved it.

When Keeps returned to the barn, he was followed by his fans. His reins were turned loose and he was in his full glory as fan after fan petted this calm stallion who seemed to lap it all up.

After a rest, Cash For Keeps will now be readied for his new owner to show and enjoy. Jeanne Morrison and her daughter Mary Elizabeth have enjoyed showing walking horses for several years and Jeanne now has her own dream to fulfill with this loving, talented horse.

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