by Linda Scrivner

WHITE PINE, Tenn. – The 39th annual East Tennessee Walking and Racking Horse Classic expanded their show this year to three days since it had been so successful in 2007 with two nights. This event was held on June 19-21, 2008, at the Smoky Mountain Expo Center in White Pine, Tenn. Jennifer Bingham-Davis and Duane Rector marked the cards for the 62 classes. The show was sponsored by the Cherokee Lions Club of Morristown, Tenn.

Over 200 stalls had been sold and many trailers filled the parking lot for the Thursday evening show and it looked as if it would be the show’s largest event to date.

Before the show began, USDA VMOs Dr. Susan Kingston and Dr. Miava Binkley, along with Animal Care Inspectors Lori Linn and Bev Hicks arrived to inspect horses alongside the NHSC DQPs. Many of the entries chose not to show due to the so-called “fear factor” of the unknown and what would happen at inspections. As the week went on, there were fewer violations written and the numbers showing increased each night. On Saturday night there were no violations even though more horses showed than any other night.

The finale for the East Tennessee Walking Horse Classic was the Riders’ Cup Championship Stake. The walking and shaking team of Santana’s El Nino and Link Webb made their 2008 debut and took home the top honors for Michael and Ann Jones of LaFayette, Ga. It’s Only A Game and Chad Baucom carried out the red streamers for Charles Clark of Charlotte, N.C.

Baucom Stables led the blue ribbon tally by winning 10 blues. Link Webb Stables returned home with eight blues while John Puckett Stables won six White Pine blues. Tracie Barron, Derek Bonner Stables and Mickey McCormick Stables earned dual blues each. The remaining single blues were picked up by Herschel Blessing, Holly Whisnant, Do It Yourself Stables, Jerry Highsmith Stables, Ailshie Stables, Compton Farms, Paul Livingston Stables, Steve Hankins Stables, Kayleigh Mesimer and Chris Davis.

On Saturday, there was a benefit to assist Jamie Ailshie on two upcoming surgeries. The Classic allowed the ETWHA Ladies Auxiliary to have a fundraiser for a charitable cause for the last two years. There was a grilled chicken luncheon to raise funds Saturday noon. Saturday evening, Diane Given and Julia Livingston presented the Keith Ailshie family $1,500 raised from the luncheon.

Friday evening following the show, the ETWHA Trainers’ Association had planned an after show meeting with Bill Hawks. The purpose of this meeting was to give owners and trainers a chance to ask questions concerning his work with the USDA and to keep them updated. Bill Hawks arrived Friday evening for the show and stayed until it ended Saturday evening. He conducted the meeting along with WHTA President Link Webb and David Finger of the NHSC, who was also present at the show Friday and Saturday evening.

Complete results can be viewed by clicking here.