Skip to content

El Nino Takes UT By Storm

by Jeffrey Howard

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – As has been and will continue to be the tradition at the University of Tennessee Homecoming game, a Tennessee Walking Horse performs just before kickoff. Taking the honors at this year’s homecoming game were 2008 World Grand Champion Tennessee Walking Horse Santana’s El Nino and Link Webb. The duo hit Knoxville Thursday night, Nov. 6, 2008, and enjoyed a weekend of festivities hosted by David Howard and the University of Tennessee Veterinarian School.

Dr. John Henton, recently named to the National Horse Show Commission CEO Search Committee, hosted owners Michael and Ann Jones along with Webb and Santana’s El Nino. A lunch was provided before the Friday afternoon practice session and breakfast was provided Saturday morning before El Nino’s performance in front of nearly 100,000 spectators at Neyland Stadium.

The football hasn’t been good in Knoxville this year but Webb and Santana’s El Nino put on a great show before the Tennessee–Wyoming kickoff. Much to the delight of the crowd, on the reverse Webb took off his traditional hat and donned a coonskin cap worn by the Tennessee Davy Crockett mascot during UT sporting events. Webb knew his surroundings as he wore a bright orange shirt along with a University of Tennessee tie and sunglasses.

After his performance, Webb, along with his wife, Rhea Ellen Webb, and owners Michael and Ann Jones, joined Howard in his suite to enjoy lunch and the football game. The night before, the party had attended the University of Tennessee basketball exhibition game with Howard.

"We are proud to have Link and El Nino exhibit and show the great talents of the Tennessee Walking Horse in front of such a large audience," said Howard. "Tennessee athletics and Tennessee Walking Horses are such a large part of my life and it is a pleasure to have both of them on display each year at the homecoming game."

"I appreciate the honor of being asked to perform at UT’s homecoming game. It is one of the highlights of being crowned the World Grand Champion to be able to exhibit this great horse in front of 100,000 people," said Webb. Michael and Ann Jones have now seen their champion exhibit at two collegiate football games (Santana’s El Nino earlier performed at the Middle Tennessee State University football game) as well as at horse shows and schools in Shelbyville. El Nino has proven to be a great ambassador for the Tennessee Walking Horse after his spotlight ride at the 2008 Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.

More Stories

  • Latest Issue 3 1 31

    Read More
  • Walking In The Smokies stall deadline approaching

    The Walking In The Smokies Horse Show, scheduled for April 8-10, 2021, in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee is preparing for their first annual show and would like to send a reminder to anyone needing stalls that the deadline is March 15. Please contact Lexi Stinnett at 828-550-8520 to reserve stalls on the show grounds. Read More
  • Trainers' Show announces judges

    The Walking Horse Trainers’ Association National Trainers’ Show will be held at Calsonic Arena in Shelbyville, Tenn. March 18-20, 2021. Judges for the three-day event will be Wayne Dean, Newton Parks and Johnny Puckett. Read More
  • USDA prepares for 2021 show season

    The USDA recently conducted their virtual HIO training course for the 2021 show season. The USDA and industry recently received the final report from the National Academies of Sciences (NAS) and some of the recommendations in that report are communicated in the new processes the USDA will implement in 2021... Read More
  • WHOA hosts virtual awards ceremony

    On Saturday. February 20th, the Walking Horse Owners’ Association (WHOA) held their National High Point awards for 2020 on their WHOA Facebook page with winners who chose to be zooming in to accept their awards... Read More
  • WHOA to host virtual awards ceremony on February 20

    The Walking Horse Owners’ Association (WHOA) will recognize their award winners from the 2020 show season during a virtual awards ceremony on Saturday, February 20, 2021. The show will be broadcast live on WHOA’s Facebook page beginning at 6 pm central time. Read More
  • FAST Spring Showcase announces judging panel

    The FAST Spring Showcase is pleased to announce that John Fikes, Newton Parks and Sam Sorrell will judge this years’ two-day event. The show will be held at Calsonic Arena in Shelbyville, Tenn. April 16-17, 2021... Read More
  • Obituary – Kimberly Woods

    Kimberly Lynn Woods, age 47 departed this life on Sunday, February 14, 2021 at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky... Read More
  • WHAA annual barn party rescheduled due to inclement weather

    There will be a lot of great items to auction as well as breeding fees to some of the top stallions in the industry and training fees for many of the top trainers. Everyone is encouraged to bring your young horses to preview for the upcoming show season. Read More
  • Birth Announcement – William Jackson Bauer

    Dr. & Mrs. Will  Bauer of Gainesville, Georgia welcomed their first child, William Jackson Bauer, on December 4, 2020. Jack weighed 7 pounds, 2 ounces at birth... Read More