by Linda Fox
WHITE PINE, Tenn. - During mid-October in East Tennessee, one can always expect brilliant foliage, “Big Orange” banners flying, heavy traffic and more recently top Tennessee Walking Horse competition.

The East Tennessee Walking Horse Association's Fall Classic is fast becoming one of “the” fall shows to attend. Once again held at the excellent horse showing site known as the Great Smoky Mountain Expo Center in the White Pine, Tenn., community, the 2000 edition boasted 310 entries from several states, 50 entries higher than last year's show.

Proceeds from the show went to the Youth Emergency Shelter, Inc. or YES. YES is committed to meeting the physical and emotional needs of children in crisis. When East Tennessee area children need a temporary home of some kind, whether it be for days or for a few crucial hours, YES provides for that need.

Despite the fact that USDA officials were present for both evening performances, the numbers were good, the caliber of horses was outstanding, the behavior of the trainers was exemplary . . . and the show did go on!

Bill and Kevin Bailey and their crew traveled from Russell Springs, Ky., and got the honor of taking the final blue ribbon of the show back to the Blue Grass State as Kevin directed Pride’s Shadow Rider to top honors for the Tom Weddle family. Tim Wheelon rode Popcorn Pusher to the reserve ribbon for Tommy Milligan of Panama City Beach, Fla. Walt Bruner took Cash’s Hard Copy to the third place ribbon for Carol Parrish of Simpsonville, Ky.

Bailey Stables also claimed blues in the Three-Year-Old Mare and Gelding division with Jim Curry’s Wicked’s Rambling Rose. Mr. C.L. Baird and his Wedding Bell Blues were the 50 and Over Specialty champs. Tom Blankenship directed I’m Johnny Cash to the Amateur title. Blankenship also topped the Three-Year-Old Mare and Gelding class with Five Star Ritz.

Baucom Stables blew the top off the blue ribbon tally as they carried 10 home to North Carolina. Handsome Tyler Baucom did his share kicking in three blues. He swept the Youth 11 and Under as well as the Youth 17 and Under Specialty aboard the good black horse, Final Expression. Tyler then returned aboard Mr. Rolex who seems to have the market cornered on mane and tail as well as talent. The team bested 13 contenders to take the Country Pleasure division making their third blue of the show. The other Baucom entries helping Tyler in his blue ribbon quest were Gen’s Mizzou Man and John Hyman in the Three-Year-Old Amateur Stallion class; Leslie King and JFK’s Eternal Flame in the Two-Year-Old Mare and Gelding class; and Cash’s Old Glory with Alicia Perry in the 15.2 Amateur Specialty and again with Jason Hughes aboard in the Open Specialty division. Alicia then directed Pusher’s Real McCoy to the Four-Year-Old Mare and Gelding title. The talents of Shocking rounded out the last two Baucom wins as proud owner Donna Griffin took the Two-Year-Old Amateur Stallions title and trainer Chad Baucom took the open division.

Wheelon Stables gathered four titles along the way. Tim took the Open Mare and Gelding Specialty blue aboard Lucky Call for Carl and Lea Potter. He also directed the flashy Popcorn Pusher to the 15.2 Open title for Tommy Milligan. The Larry Wheelon-trained property He’s A Rebel and Joel Wheelon claimed the Amateur Novice Riders Specialty for Joyce Myers. Lisa Anderson directed The Madam In Command to the Ladies Amateur Plantation Pleasure Specialty title. This team is readied by Larry Wheelon.

Beatty Stables took three of the East Tennessee blues and two of them came by way of the Franklin Beaty-owned Big Papa Cool. Scott directed the big handsome colt to the Four-Year-Old Specialty title and sister Rhea Ellen Webb took the Amateur Four-Year-Old Stallions blue with the strong contender. Beaty also directed his newly acquired Prowler’s Moonbeam to the Open Specialty title for Dorman Clark of Cookeville, Tenn.