The 37th annual National Trainers’ Show began its third slate of performances Friday evening at 6:30 p.m. with large numbers of spectators ready to see another great night. Anticipation was high and spectators were not disappointed with an evening full of excellent horses.

The crowd was treated to another great opening performance which demonstrated the show’s theme. Throughout the week, the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association Youth Council and its members have been featured. President David Landrum proudly stated, “We feel they [the youth] play an important role in the success of our industry. ...We are honored that you have taken the time to support not only our show but our youth as well. So on behalf of this association and our youth we hope you enjoy the show and most of all the most beautiful horse in the world, the Tennessee Walking Horse.”

Samantha Green entered the ring carrying the WHTA flag aboard Spring’s Starmaker. Within moments, father Jeff Green burst forth with old glory flying behind Score Card. The two displayed the flags and made their way to center ring for the invocation and singing the national anthem. Trainer Herbert Derickson gave the invocation as grandfather and show cochairman Benny Johnson proudly stood at the head of his granddaughter’s horse. At the conclusion of the national anthem, both riders took to the rail going opposite directions, crossed at the end of the ring and exited displaying their equestrian skills and beautiful running walk.

The featured youth spotlight exhibitor was Christina Butler riding current World Grand Champion Youth 11 and Under Sunrise Que Sera Sera. Proud trainer Jimmy McConnell stood in the ring while she made a flawless performance which drew great applause. He then went to the center and stood with them for the presentation. Butler’s mare Sunrise Que Sera Sera was also rode to many Celebration championships by her mother, Candie. Christina Butler claimed many blues this season in her second season of showing this talented mare.

Another presentation made Friday was the Walking Horse Report Year In The Walking Horse, presented to those whom the book has been dedicated. Friday evening’s recipient of the pleasure horse dedication was World Grand Champion Amateur English Trail Pleasure The Lady Of The Ritz. Deborah Williams and trainer John Feltner proudly accepted the award. These two Texas ladies made a clean sweep of the Trail Pleasure division at the Celebration and elsewhere in 2004. This was a fitting tribute at the Trainers’ Show since the largest class thus far has been the Trail Pleasure class.

Classes maintained their large size on Friday evening even though Dr, Ted Bahre, head of the USDA program, and various other USDA veterinarians and officials were present, inspecting horses and overseeing the inspection process made by the DQPs.

Friday night’s competition began with the Walking Horse Auxiliary Equitation Medals Class, 17 and Under. The young ladies entered the ring displaying their equestrian skills to the best of their ability. Two riders were pulled from the workout to do their individual workouts. Both of these ladies received loud applause for their performances. The judges selected the team of Alex Bumpus aboard Settle The Score unanimously. Bumpus won both preliminaries and World Grand Championships in the Auxiliary Equitation in 2004 and 2005 as well as equitation victories at the International and the Dixie Jubilee for three consecutive years. Faye Lynn Coffey instructs Bumpus and Dickie Scrivner trains Settle The Score. Reserve went to another fine equestrian, Rachel Burch.

This class was followed by the show’s first halter class, the Yearling Fillies. Ten entries answered the gate call. Cindy Womack led Monica Power to the blue for owner Roger Richardson. Nathan Mills and Maxie In Command claimed the reserve spot. Mills was sporting his usual green pants, which are a family tradition began by grandfather Hoyte Eakes when he showed colts. This is another fine example of our youth following in their parents’ and grandparents’ footsteps in the walking horse world.

Rachel Baker had a class all to herself, the Auxiliary Equitation Medal Youth 11 and Under Specialty class. She made a flawless exhibition demonstrating her skills and was rewarded with the blue.

Youth were highlighted in the next class also, the TWHBEA Youth Medallion, 17 and Under Three-Gait class. Erica Derickson directed Watch For Glory to the top of this highly competitive division. This mare is undefeated in this division this season, with previous wins at the South Alabama Charity Show with Erica Derickson aboard and last weekend at the Alabama Ladies Auxiliary Show with Maria Derickson. Twin sisters, Maria and Erica own and share this lovely blaze faced mare that won many blues last season. Grandy’s Rhythm Lady and Hali Stokes exited the ring smiling with the red streamer in hand.

Next appearing on the scene were 10 top entries in the WHTA Riders' Cup Two-Year-Old Mares and Geldings. The audience had their eyes glued on these youngsters hoping to get a peek at a possible 2005 world champion. The crowd gathered behind the seats all the way around the arena discussing the nice-looking entries. Catch Her In The Act and Charlie Green were the judges’ choice for owners Bob and Luanne Sigman. Jimmy McConnell and She’s Calamity Jane picked up reserve for Jim and Bonnie Gerhardt.

The current world champion team of Benjamin Bowen and Sanman enjoyed blue ribbon success in the 11-entry Youth 11 and Under class. Last season was their first season together and 2005 also seems very promising. Sanman is owned by Larry and Pam Russell. Grandmother Pam Russell won many blues on Sanman, then passed her mount onto Bowen. If the smile on Bowen’s face as he exited the ring is any indication, this was a wise decision. Trainer Link Webb also claimed the blue in the Aged Mares and Geldings at South Alabama Charity Show earlier this season. World champion Flash Cash carried Rachel Hyneman to the reserve position, which also warrants a victory pass at the Trainers’ Show.

The Ladies Amateur Specialty is always a competitive with top caliber horses wherever you look. The 2003 and 2004 world championship team of Erin Graf and Silverado Spirit were the second unanimous tie of the evening. David and Erin Graf own this great mare. They also won the 2004 Trainers’ Show Amateur Mares Specialty class blue. Hot on her heels were the team of Driving Miss Dumas and Terry Mann who also made an excellent show for Mann Chrysler Dodge Jeep Eagle.

Last year’s reserve world grand champion weanling Look Who’s Taking Command and Nathan Mills debuted to the blue in the 10-entry Yearling Colt division for Hoyte Eakes. The reserve winners were Pushin Danger and Robert Nelms for Chris and Tami Proctor.

The panel chose the current world championship team of Alexandria Holland and Ritz’s Diamond Joe to wear the blue in the 11-entry Youth 12-14 Specialty class for the Neal Holland family. Alexandria Holland rode hard to make her 2005 debut a great one. She has accomplished a lot since she made her show ring debut at Jackson, Miss., last April. Lindsey Wall and Rare Cash wore the red streamer from the ring for the Mike Wall family.

The weather turned cooler as the evening wore on. Fur coats and jackets had replaced the tank tops and shirts worn Wednesday evening. No one wanted to leave before the three-year-olds showed and when the 21 entries entered the WHTA Riders' Cup Mares and Geldings class, the cool weather was soon forgotten. Last year’s Trainers’ Show Two-Year-Old Mare and Gelding champion, Hey Hey Ole and Jimmy McConnell also won this year. Bob and Mary Medina own this talented mare that carried Bob Medina to a world championship last August. Wink Groover and Hondo Texas claimed the reserve spot for Wink and Nancy Groover.

Current world champions Mary Beth Blessing and Prism Sky were the unanimous winners in the Youth 15-17 class. Blessing has always enjoyed showing and riding and she won her first blue with the striking gray at Gallatin last year May. This is another team that has accomplished a lot in less than a year. What A Blessing Farm owns Prism Sky. John FK’s Diamond Delight and Dalia Smith hailed from Kentucky to claim reserve for owner Calvin Hacker.

Master Voltage has already made a name for himself by winning two blues Friday evening. In the Open Weanling Robert Nelms led him to the blue with unanimous ties for Pendleton and Berzette. A Vicious Rumor and Justin Miller garnered reserve for Pat Simpkins. Four classes later James Benton Pendleton led him down victory lane once more in the Amateur Weanling division. Fear Factor and Josh Jones claimed reserve for Shane and Veronica Porterfield.

The WHTA Riders' Cup Four-Year-Old Mares and Geldings blue was awarded to Foolish Dollar and Jackie McConnell for And W Moody Ltd. This team concluded last season with a Southern Championship win and started out 2005 with another blue. Reserve went to I Could Command and Knox Blackburn for Mr. and Mrs. Bobby Luna. The crowd favorite, Dollar’s Direct Deposit, shown by Casey Wright for Jim Roberts, finished third.

Bill Callaway and He’s A Predator are a new team to watch out for. They claimed the blue in the Four-Year-Old Show Pleasure class for Dr. Harv Carlon. Holly Puckett and her She’s Sky Brite won the reserve position.

Rhea Ellen Webb aboard I’m Infamous for Phil Havens won the WHTA Auxiliary Members Specialty class with unanimous ties across the board. Joyce Marie Green and Spring’s Starmaker made a polished performance for the reserve position after carrying the flag earlier in the evening. Spring’s Starmaker is owned by Samantha and Corey Green.

The first championship of the show was the Amateur Plantation Pleasure Lite-Shod Lite Shod Specialty Championship. Jose Quervo Gold defended his title in this championship from last year with Jeff Ray in the irons. This was the third 2005 Trainers’ Show blue for Jose Quervo Gold and owners Ray and Yonko. Following his purchase of multi-world champion Jose Quervo Gold, Ray won the International Lite-Shod Grand Championship in August, 2004. Another outstanding entry, Cmon Turn Me Loose and Joe Dixon claimed reserve in this very competitive class.

Bob Lawrence and Jazz All Night made their 2005 debut to win the roses and tricolor in the Amateur Park Pleasure Specialty Championship. The reserve team also hails from Barnes Training Facility. The new team of The Silver Ghost and Debbie Cable made the reserve victory pass.

Those that waited for the 11-entry WHTA Riders’ Cup Three-Year-Old Stallions were not disappointed. Current world champion Abel and John Allan Callaway made a blue ribbon debut for new owner George Ann Pratt. A Delight From Jose and Herbert Derickson followed the winners for reserve for MJC Partnership.

Pushin Danger and Robert Nelms claimed the 14-entry Amateur Yearling class for Chris and Tami Proctor. Allen Curtis led Monica Power to the reserve position for Roger Richards.

Many spectators left after the three-year-old stallions showed and boy did they miss an exciting class! Fourteen Park Performance Amateur Specialty teams entered the gate riding hard and didn’t let up until it was lineup time. The audience went wild with many of these horses doing what fully padded performance horses do. The new team of I’ve Been Busted and Sandra Reid proudly accepted the blue for owners Barnes and Hasting. Mr. Roby and Paul Bryan carried home reserve.

The final class of the evening was the Amateur Show Pleasure Specialty Championship. Sabrina Young directed Ultra Prime Mover to the blue for Rodney Young with an exciting performance. Ironwork’s Tin Man, a beautiful gray stallion, picked up reserve with Grant Jones in the irons for the Ray Jones family. The show concluded at 12:30 a.m.

Pam Russell give a big blue ribbon hug to her grandson Benjamin Bowen
after his win in the  11 & Under class with Sanman.

Even though the owner George Ann Pratt was not ABEL to be there, it was still a special win. Abel and John Allan Callaway are joined by Debbie Myers, Brenda Carlon, Karen, Jada, Allan and Bill Callaway after the Three-Year-Old Stallion class.

The Neal Holland Family was glad to celebrate Alexandria Holland's Youth 12-14 win with Ritz's Diamond Joe.  

WC Prism Sky and MaryBeth Belssing started off the year in blue ribbon style after winning the Youth 15-17.