by Sharon Manning
VANCOUVER, Wash.- The twenty-second annual Western International Walking Horse Show and Futurity, held at the Clark County Fairgrounds in late September, was well on its way to another successful outcome until the USDA team assigned to the event partially derailed the proceedings with their controversial scar rule interpretations early in the game. The 110 class schedule was shredded by the cancellation of most of the padded classes and found others with far fewer entries than usual. The Futurity Weanling and Yearling classes were still sizable, but fell off drastically in the Two and Three-Year-Old halter and performance events.

Howard Hamilton accepted the call to evaluate the Western International-affiliated three-day affair. Show Coordinators Rae Nelson, Peggy Bissell and Kim Swingley were assisted by Secretary Shirley Swingley, Entry clerk Cheryl Morgan, Announcer Steve Brown, Organist Wayne Shields, Ringmaster Kent Peters, Paddock Stewards Sue Carroll and Karen Chandler, Farrier Skip Bickford and Photographer Jim Bortvedt. Dell Bentley and her Trail Pleasure mount, Sleeper, set a patriotic mood with their star-spangled flag presentations.

A Saturday night post-show exhibitors event found the main barn aisle transformed in to Party Central, complete with six foot long submarine sandwiches, desserts galore and a choice of beverages. The Pacific Northwest group usually includes an eat-and-greet interval at their shows to offset the pressure of competition.

Due to the cancellation of the Open Championship class, the show’s concluding event was the announcement of the High Point awards. The Plantation recognition was earned by Karrie Paul’s Armed Elegance, with the Lite Shod honors going to Doug Toone’s Common Denominator. Riding for Rae Nelson’s Hideaway Stables, Ashley Billingsley collected the High Point Juvenile title, while the Premiere Stallion designation went to Gold Coin Exchange, who is also a Rae Nelson-sponsored award winner.

David Fields Stables led the ribbon count with nine blues and a pair of championships. Sarena Westenhaver’s Extra Dark Spirit bested the competition in the combined Open Ladies and Gentlemen event with trainer Fields in the irons for the only Show division three gait class. Allen and Nancy Plunkett’s Show Pleasure star, Nite’s Design, made three winner’s circle trips, while Country Show Pleasure Show contender Gold’s Midnight Dancer received the nod for a pair of blues with owner Sarena Westenhaver in direction. Juanita Durham was on hand to see her L.A. Pusher take dual blues with grand-daughter Megan Jongsma and Fields sharing the Amateur and Open Specialty honors. Karrie Paul celebrated her first ever victory with Armed Elegance, and watched from the rail as her Pusher’s Revival took the Open Two-Year-Old title with David Fields at the controls.

Diane Gueck’s Cheveaux Stables posted nine blues and a tricolor sash at the Vancouver show. Delight’s Dangerous Legacy was shown to a Model championship by Sharon Gueck DeFord, who also led Sanni Mathews’ She’s Pretty Ritzy to Yearling Filly honors. Allen and Nancy Plunkett bred an raised the Futurity Yearling Colt champion, HSM Unforgettable Knight. Lite Shod Open and Amateur Specialty winner, Nite’s Finale, (shown by Diane Gueck and Shannon Thomas, respectively), and Pleasure First Year standout, Hallelujah Night Magic, who was ridden to the blue by Nancy Plunkett. The Gueck and Mathews alliance sponsors Miss Magic Money, who returned after a lay-off to earn the Lite Shod Juvenile Specialty award with Megan Kindree. Sharon DeFord and Gen’s Dangerous Obsession made a winning Lite Shod Three-Year-Old appearance for Robyn Cheatham, while Heather Ososke closed out her Junior Equitation career with a flawless ride for the WIWHA Walking Seat Medal, Riders 14-17 recognition.

Laurie Toone made her last Washington show before relocating to Oklahoma a good send-off with seven blues and a pair of tricolors. She teamed with A Common Denominator for multiple Lite Shod victories as a sentimental salute to “Deno’s” owner, her dad, Doug Toone. A Style File joined forces with Rebecca Carroll for Lite Shod Western success with the Darwin and Linda James property, while Revelation’s Fan Dancer added a pair of blues to the count in Model and Plantation competition for Teri Naugic.

Organ-based Jake Price Stables earned six blues and a tricolor for the tack room wall. Tyler Odom's Jay Leno was the Plantation star of the show with four victories under the direction of trainer Price. Dian Hite celebrated her first winner's circle success with Pride's Double Indemnity, and went on to claim the Plantation Amateur Specialty Championship for good measure. Rod and Dian Hite sponsor the handsome pleasure mount. Brand and Angela Waddle were on hand to cheer for their Futurity Three-Year-Old champion, Vertical Limit, who was shown to the honor by Jake Price. He also led Jana Anderson's Futurity Halter Two-Year-Old winner, Touch's Spiderman, to that good ribbon.

Allison Smart and her Smart Strides family had a four-and-three record at the season ending WIWHA show. Della Bentley's Sleeper was the big winner with three Trail Pleasure championships; Della and daughter Brandy shared the honors for Jim and Della Bentley. The Hodne family was proud of their Plantation champion, Perfect Cents, and his son, Weanling Colt winner, What Luck; trainer Smart did the showing honors in both cases. Ken Porter's Jus' Touch-N-Go landed the Basic Reining and Free Style Reining blues with his owner at the helm.

Trainer Linda Arnold was represented in the winner's circle by the Elmer and Bobbie Jones property, JFK's Fast Cash, who had one blue and a pair of Country Show Pleasure championships. Elmer Jones and Michelle Medieros accepted the good ribbons. Touched By Royalty had a Model blue as well as Plantation Western Amateur Specialty Preliminary and Championship ties with Shanet Schultz and Jill Scropp for owner Linda Arnold. The final ribbon count was a three-and-three total.

Frank White Stables collected five blues and a tricolor in Vancouver. Trainer White scored a pair of halter victories with Phyllis Schmitz's Special FX, as well as dual Show Pleasure blues with Coin's Amber Flame for Schmitz and Killinger. He also rode Doc's You Go Good to the Futurity Two-Year-Old Performance honors for Teresa Healer. Gordon Moore was in the saddle for the Open Three-Year-Old win with Pride Of Skywatch for the Moore and White ownership. Janna Woods had a good show with a pair of Plantation youngsters. Dixie Ann In Command topped the divisional Two-Year-Old Open, Futurity Two-Year-Old Plantation and the Two and Three-Year-Old Championship classes for proud owners Don and Kathy Frank. Woods' owned Pushin' For Cash claimed the Futurity Plantation Two-Year-Old Halter title as well as a reserve in the Futurity performance event with catch-rider Kristine Matheson. The ribbons totaled three blues and a tricolor.

The Enchanted Gait contingent from Utah landed four big Trail Pleasure blues with Suddenly Single. Owner Bruce Lovato and juvenile rider, Katie Hagan shared the reins and the ribbons. Washington trainer Robert Smith had the Open Three-Year-Old champion in Miss Violet Lane for owner Melaine Smith, and struck Lite Shod pay dirt with Hitt's Magic Star, who claimed the divisional Two-Year-Old Preliminary and Two and Three-Year-Old Championship awards for the Susan Crowell sponsorship.

Kim Bienler's assistance led to the Lite Shod Amateur and Trail Championship ties for Cherokee Renegade, who was shown to the winner's circle by owner David Green. The only Amateur Specialty class of the show was bested by Michelle Hodne with her Jalapeno Pepper, who is trained by Leslie Mach Hutson. A good reserve ride was turned in by Wade Miller and Masterpiece By Dumas, who represented the Wade and Debbie Miller ownership.

Rae Nelson's Hideaway Stables led the Owner-trained category with eight blues and three tricolor ties. Ashley Billingsley and Beam's Romance And Roses excelled with six Plantation and Pleasure Juvenile victories. Ashley also led Coin's Summer Holiday to the Weanling Youth Handler recognition. Julie Harris put additional ribbons on the wall with Futurity Weanling Filly champion, Coin's Darling Darling and Model Stallion winner, Highly Armed.

Kim Swingley and All Time's One To Watch gathered three blues and a tricolor in Plantation competition for owner/mom Peggy Bissell. Dennis Izzi tied up the Yearling Colt class with I Jus' Wanna Celebrate, as well as the Futurity Weanling Colt competition with From This Moment; both were bred and owned by Izzi's Walkers. Shelly Fabro and her Major's American Dream prevailed in the Plantation Owner-trained and Lite Shod Amateur Specialty championship classes. Ashley Ward and Cascade's Mystery Man rode to the Plantation 17 And Under Preliminary and Championship ribbons in addition to the Stock Seat Equitation win. The Plunkett's Blue Moon Walkers team presented Nite's Red Hot to the Futurity and Open Show Yearling Youth Handler titles with Michelle Mercier at the lead.

Single honors were earned by Mattie Reynolds (WIWHA Saddle Seat Equitation Medal, riders 13 And Under), Bruce Chalfant and Ebony's Velvet Storm (Pleasure 39 and Over Specialty), Terry Jerke and She's A Pushin' Lady (Futurity Halter - Plantation Three-Year-Olds), Michael Schurman and A Quicksilver Dollar (Futurity Weanling, Youth Handler), and Alexandria Warnock with She's A Lady Even Marked (Spotted Horse Pleasure Specialty).

For the complete show story, see the printed edition of Walking Horse Report dated November 12th, 2001.