Posted March 7, 2002
On February 1, 2001 Charles Brantley became the first person to represent the Tennessee Walking Horse in the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony, which was held at the Renaissance Hotel in Nashville, was attended by the best of the best from various sports. The inductees ranged from pro-football players to famous Olympians but shared one thing in common; all athletes that were chosen had made a significant contribution to their chosen sport. The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame is a non profit organization that was started to recognize the outstanding achievements of Tennesseans in the realm of sports and to perpetuate the memory of their careers. The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame also provides a Hall of Fame to for the display of mementos commemorating the careers of the inductees and the contributions made by the inductee.

The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame chose Charles Brantley because of his deep heritage in the walking horse industry and for his persistence and determination towards the breeding of the Tennessee Walking Horse.

Charles Brantley’s journey towards this milestone actually began before he was even born. Charles’ grandfather, James Brantley, purchased and bred the foundation sire of the Tennessee Walking Horse, Allen F-1. This venture would not only be the beginning of the Brantley Family’s involvement with the breed, it would be the beginning of the breed itself.

Charles Brantley started showing halter colts in the National Celebration when he was just a teenager. After serving in the United States Navy during World War II, Charles decided to follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather and enter the walking horse business. Charles developed a circulation problem in his legs and no longer could ride horses. This failed to deter Brantley from pursuing a future in this sport. Charles and his father made the already historic Brantley Farm a breeding facility. Through good reputation, hard work, and dedication the Brantleys excelled to become one of the top breeding facilities in the walking horse industry.

Over 300 horses have passed through Brantley Farm during the 99 years of it’s operation. Many of these horses would go on to receive world championship honors. In fact, colts from Brantley Farm have claimed world championships in every category from Sire of a World Grand Champion to Reserve World Grand Champion.

After giving a lifetime of service and dedication to the sport, Charles Brantley is still continues to receive awards for his accomplishments or the achievements of his horses. Gen's Genessa, a horse owned by Brantley, won the 1998 Reserve World Grand Champion Yearling Filly. Also in 1998, the Brantley's weanling filly Gen's Genevieve won the Reserve World Grand Championship in the weanling filly class. In 1999, Brantley was inducted into the Celebration Hall of Fame. The following year Gen’s Genessa would win the Top Graduate award offered by TWHBEA for a colt nominated and kept eligible to show as a weanling, yearling, 2 year old, and 3 year old. At the 2001 Celebration, the Brantley’s horse Fashion Watch claimed a world championship. Who knows what Charles Brantley has in store for the 2002 show season.

Breeding and showing is not the extent of Charles’ contribution to the walking horse industry. Charles has been involved in all aspects of the walking horse industry. He is a member of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeder’s and Exhibitors Association, State of Tennessee Walking Horse Association, the Tennessee Horse Council, and a charter member of the Walking Horse Owners’ Association and Pleasure Walking Horse Association of Tennessee.

An example of Charles’ never ending support for the growth of the walking horse industry is the Manchester Lions Club Horse Show. For over forty years, Charles has helped organize and promote the Manchester show. A strong supporter of The Celebration, Charles has seen the ever growing show go from a three night show to an eleven night show and from a Saturday night attendance of 300 to an attendance of 30,000. For his generosity and support, Charles received a certificate of appreciation for his contributions to the Tennessee Walking Horse Museum in 1993. Also in 1993 Charles received the very first Heritage Award from TWHBEA for all of his work and progress in the walking horse industry and his donation of original documents that reveal the heritage of the walking horse. No matter if it’s showing, breeding, selling, or promoting, Charles Brantley has helped to expand, promote, and give life to nearly every facet of the walking horse business.

The walking horse industry is not the only organization that benefits from Brantley’s participation and dedication, Charles Brantley has served various positions in local government. For 12 years Brantley served as County Commissioner and 22 years as Road Commissioner in Coffee County.

Despite the illustrious list of awards and honors that Charles Brantley would receive in his lifetime, the one he is most proud of is being inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame which will take place in February.

“ I really enjoyed judging the breeder’s class at the Celebration and I am very proud to have raised a world champion in every class from weanling to reserve world grand champion in the stake class, “ comments Brantley regarding the most memorable and proud moments of his life, “but being inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame is definitely the one I’m most proud of.” The dedication that Charles Brantley and the generations before him have shown towards the walking horse sport made him without a doubt the perfect person to represent the walking horse industry in the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.