On Thursday, August 17, 2023, two-time World Grand Champion and two-time World Champion, Sam I Am Jose, passed away from sepsis after undergoing emergency colic surgery just ten days before he was scheduled to compete for World Championship honors in the Four-Year-Old Stallions division at the 2023 Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration. 

In his short show career, Sam I Am Jose won 18 blues and was undefeated his Three-Year-Old and Four-Year-Old years of competition with the majority of his wins determined unanimously. He carried his owner Dr. Ann Rea, who carefully selected him as a barefoot colt, to her first World Grand Championship in 2021 and carried her son, Alex Rea, to his first World Championship and World Grand Championship in 2022. “Sam”, as he was affectionately known, was trained his entire career by Tanner Burks of Victory Farm. Sam and Tanner shared a very special bond and had their sights set on the Four-Year-Old World Grand Championship in 2023.

Sam loved the show ring and he will be missed by all who had the pleasure of being a part of his short, but decorated show career. He was laid to rest at the only home he ever knew, Victory Farm, where his memory will live on in the hearts of his trainer, barn family and owners forever.