FOREST, Miss. - The 5th annual Forest Rotary Classic was held Saturday, September 28 at the Forest Coliseum in Forest, Mississippi. The 26 class event was sponsored by the Rotary Club and harvested 147 entries. Allan Callaway made the journey from Shelbyville, Tennessee to judge the event. Brad Davis, Collierville, Tennessee, was apprentice judge for the evening. Charlie Ritchie, Memphis, Tennessee, entertained with his wonderful organ-playing capabilities and Perry Thomas of Tupelo, Mississippi, kept the show rolling from behind the microphone. James Vernon presented the red, white, and blue aboard Gen’s Super Stroke, as the show got underway. I had the privilege of capturing the night on film.

The Walking Horse Stake class held five teams vying for the tricolor honors. Neon Magic and Ray Gilmer captured the tricolor for Morrison Farms. Pusher’s Society Man and Edgar Abernathy were reserve for Tommy and Pat Vinson. Eb’s Night Owl and Dick Peebles rode to the yellow for George and Carol Smith.

The night began with a pet parade for the youngsters. Everything from a miniature pony to a little black pig made their way through the gate. Judge Callaway awarded all participants a blue ribbon.

The first class of the evening was Colts Under Halter. Of the four entries, A Walk With Faith and Marilyn Scott made the walk to the blue for Bob and Marilyn Scott. Keystone and Ann Hatcher, owner/exhibitor, were reserve. Another four entry class was the Youth Specialty, Riders 11 and Under. The Lady’s Touch and Mary Morrison had the blue ribbon touch for Morrison Farm. Reserve in the good class went to I’m A Jubilee and Chance Stephens, owner/exhibitor.

The Amateur Park Pleasure Specialty was up next. Generator’s Rocketeer and Pat Vinson found themselves in the winner’s circle for Tommy Vinson of the six teams. Wired’s Ebony Girl and Melanie Skidman were reserve for George Henson. Eight young two-year-old stallions entered the ring for the Open Two-Year-Old Walking Stallion class. I’m Sam Houston and Wink Groover took the top spot for Wink and Nancy Groover. Reserve in the class went to The Masked Man and Lee Upton for James and Peggy Vernon.

Pride’s Shady Lady and Miles Irby claimed the Country Pleasure title for Marty Irby. Reserve in the good class went to Cindy Power and Harlan Hatcher, owner/exhibitor. Nine young riders took to the rail in the Youth Specialty, Riders 12-17 division. Hytone’s Buster Brown and Tyler Herndon made the winning ride for Tim Herndon. The Verner Smith family celebrated a reserve win by Heart Failure and Justus Smith.

Mi Amore and Mike Hilley were certainly the love of the judge as they rode to the Open Two-Year-Old Walking Mares and Geldings title for Sarah Dunn. Falcon’s Backdraft and Ray Gilmer were reserve for Charles Cox. Nine teams vied for the Show Pleasure Specialty blue. The Great Escape and Paula Sanders, owner/exhibitor, escaped with blue ribbon honors. Command Me and Mandy Heard, owner/exhibitor, rode to the red ribbon honor. I’m Hammerin’ Hank and Pam Russell hammered out a blue ribbon performance in the Amateur 15.2 and Under Specialty class for Larry Russell. Gen’s Attaboy and Carol Smith were reserve for George and Carol Smith. Six novice teams answered the call in the Amateur Novice Specialty. No longer a novice was Generator’s Blaze Of Gold and James Abernathy who topped the class for the Faruse family. General George S. Patton and Sandy Smith were reserve for Stone Oak Farms.

The Night Watch and Dick Peebles were watched as they made the victory pass in the Three-Year-Old Stallion class for Stone Oak Farms. Watch Delight and Ray Gilmer were reserve for Charles Cox. Miles Irby returned to the ring for another blue, this time aboard Coin’s Black Spice in the Park Pleasure Specialty, Heavy Shod, Riders 17 and Under division for Irby Stables. Generator’s Rocketeer and Lauren Hawks were reserve for Tommy Vinson.

Pam Russell claimed her second blue of the night aboard her two-year-old mount, Hotline, to claim the Amateur Two-Year-Old Stallions title for Larry Russell. Who Am I? and Bart Gilmer rode to the red ribbon. Gilmer owns the entry. I’m Armed & Lethal and Lee Upton came away armed with the Open Walking Specialty blue for Dr. and Mrs. Rosser Wall. Impressive’s Rising Sun and Shea Woods were reserve for Great Oaks Farms.

Cashing in on the Open Three-Year-Old Mares and Geldings blue was Silver Dollar Dutchess and Justin Harris for Bob McCloy. Reserve in the class went to Lori’s Design and Danny McClellan for Archie Brooks. Miles Irby once again claimed a blue in Forest. The Amateur Plantation Specialty Lite Shod blue was claimed by Irby, who directed Sun’s Glory Bound to the honor for Irby Stables. Eagle’s Lady Sue and James Nichols were reserve. Nichols owns the entry.

A Little Bit Of Jazz and Tommy Vinson had the blue ribbon performance in the Amateur Two-Year-Old Mares and Geldings division. Vinson owns the winner. Silver’s Sassy Sally and Frank Mosley took the reserve ribbon for Stone Oak Farms. Generated Power and Kelly Bailey generated to the winner’s circle in the Ladies Amateur Specialty division for Frank Sissy. Reserve in the good class was claimed by The Summit and Lee Way for Dr. and Mrs. Rosser Wall.

No horses were entered in the Open Four-Year-Old class, as a result the class was canceled. Five teams answered the call for the Amateur Owned and Trained Specialty class. Mack’s Gold Streaker and Rocky Christian claimed the top spot for Knute Christian. Threat’s Big Time Secret and Lowell Stephens were reserve for Juanita Stephens.

Breaking out of the Amateur Three-Year-Old Stallion competition was Jailbreak and James Nichols in the irons for Ron Nichols. Red Danger and Bart Gilmer rode to the red ribbon for Mary Ellen Gilmer and Jan Hayburt. Fury Of The Storm and James Abernathy had the competition feeling their fury, as they took the Amateur Four-Year-Old Stallion blue for the Peter Schuff family. All Colored Up and Ann Hatcher came out with the red for Harlan and Ann Hatcher.

The current Three-Year-Old Amateur Mare and Gelding World Champion and Three-Year-Old Mare and Gelding, Sanman, claimed the top honor in the Amateur Three-Year-Old Mares and Geldings division with Pam Russell in the irons. Husband, Larry Russell, owns the entry and was very proud of his lovely wife winning three blues in one night!

Miss Texas Cash and Nancy Groover were reserve for Wink and Nancy Groover.

How sweet victory was for Sweetie Sky and James Vernon. The team captured the Amateur Four-Year-Old Mares and Geldings blue for James and Peggy Vernon. Gen’s All Colors and Carol Smith made the ride to reserve for George Smith. Back-to-back blues found James Vernon, this time Mr. Vernon was aboard Gen’s Super Stroke in the Men’s Amateur Specialty class for James and Peggy Vernon. Just So You’ll Know and Bill Williams were reserve for Great Oaks Farms.

Two of the three teams entered in the added Grooms’ Class vied for the blue ribbon title. Can’t Hardly Wait and hard working, Francisco Fernandez, captured the blue from the Webb Stables staff. Reserve in the class went to Knucklebuster and Joe Fields for Morrison Farms from under the Falcon Ridge Farms banner.