Elizabeth Miller and Linda Scrivner

            SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. - The 33rd Annual Spring Fun Show was once again one of the premier events of the season. With over 500 entries, the 2003 edition featured world class horses, fierce competition and friendly conversation.

            Held annually on Memorial Day weekend, the Spring Fun Show traditionally served as a preview of the high calibur competition at the Celebration in August. However, in recent years the show has suffered from lower entries and a general lack of excitement. This year both spectators and exhibitors were delighted to see that the Fun Show returned to its former level of glory.

            “We’re very pleased with the success of this year’s Fun Show,” said Celebration CEO Ron Thomas. “To have a total of 511 entries over three nights and showing a healthy increase in entries is gratifying. We hope this growth is a sign of good things to come for the Fun Show and the entire industry. The success of our show and all shows should be credited to the support of the trainers, owners and exhibitors,” Thomas continued. “We owe them all a debt of gratitude.”

            One change at this year’s show was the introduction of a new flag horse. Following the retirement of Snow On The Mountain at last year’s Celebration, Counterfeit Dollar took over the role of the official flag horse. The solid white performer is proudly owned by Bob and Curtice McCloy and is prepared by Todd Smith Stables. Bud Seaton continued his duties in the saddle each night.

            After missing the Celebration due to illness last year, the Fun Show welcomed Larry Bright back to center ring as the official horse show organist. His music is the signature sound of both the Celebration and the Fun Show, and the crowd welcomed him back with open arms.

            The judging duties were undertaken by Jamie Bradshaw of Union Grove, Ala., Nicole Carswell of Morehead, Ky., and Mike Sims of Chattanooga, Tenn. The 44 classes under their watchful eyes included divisions that showcased the versatility and wide-spread appeal of the Tennessee Walking Horse. Over 60% of the classes featured past and present World Champions and World Grand Champions.

            Several classes played host to over 20 entries. Twenty-six horses answered the gate call for the Amateur Show Pleasure division. With the large number of entries, the judges called for a workout before awarding the blue to the team of I’m Armed and Lethal and Lee Wall. Another fabulous class was the Three-Year-Old Mares and Geldings event. Twenty-two head competed for top honors before the blue ribbon was awarded to My First Dollar and Allan Callaway.

            However, there was one class that stood out above the rest at this year’s Fun Show. Those lucky enough to witness the battle for the Three-Year-Old Stallion crown will not soon forget the amazing performances turned in by A Strong Dollar and The Titleist. These two young talents were the stars of the show.

            After completing the class, the judges opted to ask these two horses to return to the track for a head-to-head duel. Both horses already have a long list of accomplishments, and their performances at the Fun Show were eagerly awaited by many within the industry. The Saturday night crowd was on its feet by the end of the workout with supporters of both horses voicing their enthusiasm with roars and applause.

            There could only be one champion, however, and that honor was bestowed on A Strong Dollar. This was the first outing for the young stallion under the direction of his new trainer, Link Webb. The Titleist and Steve Dunn were almost equally as popular as the reserve champions. If this battle was any indication of what lies ahead, the last Thursday night in August will be an exciting one.

            The Aged Stallions, Over 15.2 class at the Fun Show has always been considered a stepping stone to the World Grand Championship. In recent years, Out On Parole and Masquerading have collected the Fun Show title on their way to the industry’s highest honor.

            This year, Private Charter and Knox Blackburn continued their bid for the World Grand Championship by capturing the Fun Show’s ultimate crown. With a recent championship win at the Mississippi State Charity Horse Show and a reserve finish at the National Trainers’ Show, this team has established themselves as serious contenders for the final competition on the last Saturday night before Labor Day.

            The race for the blue ribbon count ended in a tie between two of the premier training facilities in the nation. Allan Callaway Stables and David Landrum Stables each earned five Fun Show blues in both open and amateur competition. Callaway directed Absolutely Flawless, Capone, My First Dollar, Tennessee Gen and Witch’s Jazz to championship acclaim. Landrum celebrated the successes of Don Rafa, Generator’s Champion, Main Power, Miracle At The Ritz and Pride’s Sundance Star.

            Lonnie Messick, Director of Animal Welfare/DQP Services at the NHSC was extremely pleased with the show.        Only nine violations were recorded over the course of the three-day event, and the appearance of USDA VMO’s Dr. Lynn Bourgeois and Dr. Doris Hackworth did not affect the number or quality of entries. Messick stated, “The numbers were good, and the trainers need to be complimented on how they presented their horses. The DQP’s and the USDA did a great job. There was exceptional communication between everyone, and overall the attitude was very good.”


Thursday Night

            Thursday night’s competition began in superb style with a turnout of excellent quality horses and increased entries from 2002. Entries rose from 164 last year to 185 this year. Many 2002 world champions and big winners in the early 2003 season walked away with Fun Show victories.

            The first class of the evening brought 17 entries to the Calsonic Arena. The amateurs riding 15.2 and under mares and geldings put on a show for judges Sims, Bradshaw and Carswell, but in the end, the world champion mare Sunrise At Midnight and Susie Harmon would not be denied. Harmon was thrilled that her mare carried her to a blue on her birthday. Sunrise At Midnight has been in the pasture as a broodmare for the past two seasons, with foals by He’s Puttin’ On The Ritz and Jose’ Jose’, but returned to the showring with blue ribbon zest for owners John and Susie Harmon and daughter, Hailey Miller. Brenda Bramlett and her mount Stopwatch were the reserve winners in this very competitive class.

            Twelve young two-year-old mares were on hand to compete for the Fun Show title in this class. John Allan Callaway made a strong shows aboard Absolutely Flawless for C & C Stables to take home the prize. Sam Martin directed reserve champion Santana’s Hurricane for Renaissance Farms.

            The Sky Commander and Julie Grider racked up another win in the 12-entry Two-Year-Old Amateur Stallion competition for the Tommy Grider family. Kurt Kovalick directed the talented young stallion earlier in the season to win at Gallatin. The Sky Commander is by world champion The Skywatch out of the world champion mare That Lady In Command, who is out of world champion mare Mark’s Ebony Ann. With his dam and granddam both world champions, this colt is certainly bred to walk. Nathan Class was reserve in the amateur two-year-olds with Clark Farms’ Jose’s Rojo.

            Glen Flippo made a good show aboard his Ol Red to add another title to their resume in the seven-entry Amateur Country Pleasure, Gentlemen Riders class. Lucky’s Dynamo and R.D. Waldo picked up the red streamer for  R.D. and Connie Waldo.

            Under the direction of Allan Callaway Stables, the talented team of Mitzi Hooper and Capone won the 17-entry Amateur Stallions 15.2 and Under Specialty class for Mike Hooper. Sandra Johnson and John F.K.’s Delight earned the red ribbon for William and Sandra Johnson under the guidance of Landrum Stables.

            The Plantation Pleasure Lite-Shod class featured six talented entries. The winners, Armed With Beauty and Terry Vaught, have been on fire this season, racking up a Trainers’ Show blue earlier this season for Terry and Linda Vaught. No stranger to winner’s circles, Star Struck By JFK and Joe Dixon were the strong reserve finishers for Red Eagle Farms.

            Mike Hilley made a nice presentation of Pushin That Jazz in the nine- entry Aged Mares and Geldings Over 15.2 class for owner Sarah Dunn. Dunn has won blues at this year’s Gulf Coast Charity and Gallatin on this versatile talent. Claiming the reserve position was Chad Williams aboard Caesar Ritz for Spud Warr.

            Eleven talented competitors were on hand for the Amateur Country Pleasure Ladies competition. Judy Moore directed Heat From The Sun to the blue for Moore-Foust Farm, with Patti Pollack and Pollack’s Silver Spur Ranch’s Mr. Chili Pepper following closely behind.

            Eight Trainers’ Family, 18 and Over class entries made beautiful presentations in this popular class. In the end, the 2003 Gulf Coast Charity Auxiliary Members champions, I’m A Five Star General and Stacy Blackburn, were victorious under Formac Stables guidance. Earlier in the season, father Jimmy McConnell directed this talented horse to the stake win at the Purchase Area Show in Martin, Tenn. Jennifer Dunn and Pusher’s Royal Flush didn’t leave any room for mistakes with an excellent ride to take the reserve honors.

            Skywatch’s Dark N Stormy has taken the 2003 season by storm. Winning with Tricia Timmons in the irons at the Trainers’ Show and the Gulf Coast Charity Show, and with trainer Sam Martin at the Gulf Coast Charity Show, the small black three-year-old contender was bent on adding the Fun Show Amateur Three-Year-Old Mares and Geldings honors to her list. Reserve in the 20-entry class, the largest of the night, was I’m Causin Commotion and Debbie Myers, doing some might fancy footwork themselves to claim an exciting reserve for Jim and Debbie Myers.

            Joe Cotten continued his winning streak of four consecutive 2003 blues aboard current world grand champion Main Power unanimously topping a strong 11-entry Four-Year-Old Stallion class for Jim Green. This was the first of three unanimous ties for the evening. Buddy Dick and Sharp Cutlery were the reserve finishers for Moore Brothers.

            After victories at the Trainers’ Show and World Cup, Lindy Holt and Pride’s Smart Alex took home the blue ribbon in the 11-entry Amateur Western Trail Pleasure class. Connie Waldo and her Friday Night Mercedes were second.

            Fully Armed and Joe Dixon visited the winner’s circle once more in the 16-entry Amateur Park Pleasure class winning unanimously for Red Eagle Farms. Howard Hamilton of Southern Serenity Ranch prepared them for competition. The team also won the Park Pleasure Stake at the 2003 Trainers’ Show.

            Mary Medina and her Barracuda topped the 14-entry Amateur Riders on Geldings title, following their Pro-Am victory at the Gulf Coast and Barracuda’s Mare and Gelding title at Jackson, Miss., with trainer Jimmy McConnell up. Current World Champion Jubilee’s Star Wars and Daniel Groover left no room for error with a strong showing for reserve honors in the Fun Show class.

            The final prize of the evening was awarded unanimously to the team of Anita George and Anita Blue. They excitedly made the victory pass in the 16-entry Four-Year-Old Mares and Geldings class under Finish Line Farms’ banner. Anita Blue added this victory to her Manchester stash for owners Doyle Wayne and Anita George. Pam Russell and Sanman, owned by Larry and Pam Russell, claimed reserve in this exciting class. Webb Stables prepares this team.

Friday Night

            A large crowd and exciting horses made Friday night’s performance one to talk about. Entries increased from 146 in 2002 by 57, bringing the total number of horses to 203 for the night.

            The second performance of the 33rd Annual Spring Fun Show began with the Owner-Amateur Youth Riders 14 and Under on Walking Mares and Geldings class. Silver’s Boogie Woman and Daniel Warner made an outstanding show to capture the blue ribbon honors. This team recently won the Youth 12-17 title at the Mississippi State Charity Horse Show. David and Kenneth Warner proudly own the champion mare, and Sammy Day Stables prepares her for competition.

            Earning the reserve tie in the 12-entry class were the reigning World Champions in the division, Extra Ebony and Aaron Bertrand. The Bob Parks family owns the gelding, and Ramsey Bullington Stables is the trainer.

            Twenty-six entries answered the gate call for the Amateur Show Pleasure class. With such a large number of horses in the ring, the judges made the decision to call for a workout before tying the class. With blues at the Mississippi State Charity and the Gulf Coast Charity already this year, I’m Armed and Lethal and Lee Wall added a prestigious Fun Show title to their resume by the unanimous vote of the judges. The outstanding competitor is owned by Dr. and Mrs. Rosser Wall and is trained by Five Way Farms.

            Current Trainers’ Show Show Pleasure Champion Extenuating Circumstances made the reserve performance under the direction of Beth Young. Rick Griffith was delighted with the performance of his Wendell Kirkpatrick trained entry.

            Chicago and Liz Underwood continued their undefeated season by winning the Owner-Amateur Riders on Walking Stallions, Over 15.2 title. They were the unanimous choice of the judging panel. The exciting black stallion is owned by Roger and Patti Hanier and is trained by Sammy Day Stables.

            Pushover’s Infiniti and owner Bob Medina earned the reserve award in the outstanding class of 11 competitors. The entry is trained by Formac Stables.

            Jeren Guthrie won her first Fun Show title in the Youth County Pleasure class aboard Prime Time Cotton. They topped the 12 horse field for Kathy Owen’s Double Springs Farm under the guidance of Russ Keyser. Lucky’s Dynamo and Wesley Williams collected the reserve honors for owner Connie Waldo.

            Twenty-two entries answered the gate call for the exciting Three-Year-Old Mares and Geldings class. After their debut win at the Gallatin Lions Club Horse Show, My First Dollar and Allan Callaway made another strong performance to walk away with the prestigious Fun Show title. Owners Don and George Ann Pratt were delighted with their talented young mare. Renaissance Farm’s Skywatch’s Dark N Stormy earned the reserve ribbon under the direction of Sam Martin.

            Reigning Amateur Lite-Shod World Grand Champion Pusher’s Beaming Pride and Jim Nichols added two Spring Fun Show titles to their list of accomplishments. The first was in the Amateur Lite-Shod (Canter) division with a unanimous decision of the judges. This talented team returned on Saturday night to earn the Amateur Lite-Shod title. Southern Serenity Ranch prepared the champion for Jim and Debbie Nichols. Donald Knight and Sailin Man were the reserve winners. Sailin Man is trained by Jeff Givens Stables.

            Flush With Spirit and Iris Schumann were the winners in the Owner-Amateur Riders on Mares, Over 15.2 division. Ramsey Bullington Stables trains the entry for Wayne and Iris Schumann. Reserve was awarded to Total Control and Becky Kidd-Miller. Derickson Training and Breeding Facility prepared the mare for owner Ron Kidd.

            Gen’s Johnny Walker Red and Sammy Day excited the crowd after a second running walk was called in the 15.2 and Under Stallions class. The Fun Show title is added to titles won earlier this year at the Mississippi State Charity and the Gulf Coast Charity. The John LeGate family proudly owns the sorrel stallion. Reserve was awarded to Dr. Perfect and Bill Bobo for owners Roger and Sandra Hodgson.

            Reigning Western Park Pleasure World Champion Double Your Money and Leigh Bennett were the unanimous choice of the judges in the Western Park Pleasure class. This was the third win of the year for this undefeated team. Dwight and Elizabeth Ottman’s Pearl Cliff Farm owns the talented competitor. Russ Keyser collected the reserve award aboard Harlinsdale Farm’s The Masked Marauder.

            Boomer In Command and Andy Adkins continued their winning streak in the Owner-Amateur Riders on Three-Year-Old Stallions class. They stepped forward to claim the blue ribbon in the large class of 20 talented entries. John Sharp owns the handsome stallion trained by Bud Dunn and Son Stables. Sky Jam and Brenda Bramlett made the reserve performance under the direction of Allan Callaway Stables.

            Southern Gray and Kathy Owen made a blue ribbon impression in the Amateur English Trail Pleasure division. They were the unanimous choice of the judges for top honors in the 13-entry class. This was the second win of the evening for Owen’s Double Springs Farm. Sherrie Szucs prepared the champion for the show ring. Favorite Sweetheart and Darden Gladney collected the reserve honors for James Parkey.

            Sixteen two-year-old stallions competed for blue ribbon recognition at the Spring Fun Show. Trainers’ Show champion Pride’s Heartbeat and Sam Martin once again found themselves in the winner’s circle following the class. Sullins and Timmons were proud of their award winning colt. I Could Command and Knox Blackburn took home the reserve award for Mr. and Mrs. Jamie Etheredge.

            In the Park Pleasure Walking Horse class, Grand Safari and Josh Coble were the recipients of the blue ribbon honors. Jodi Ashmore proudly owns the talented performer. The reserve award went to Trip Of A Lifetime and Doug Barnes for Ron and Julie Perry.

            Tennessee Gen and John Allan Callaway were crowned the 15.2 and Under Mares and Geldings champions. Bud Moore and Suzanne Littell were thrilled with the performance of their multi-titled gelding. Reigning 15.2 and Under Gelding World Champion Gen’s Color Me In was the reserve champion. Rodney Dick was in the irons for the G. R. Trumble family.

            An exciting class of Owner-Amateur Riders 50 and Over resulted in a  workout to determine the winner. Four of the 16 total entries were selected to work for top honors and the remainder of the class was asked for additional work as well. The 2002 Elite Lady Riders on Stallions World Champion Pride’s Sundance Star added the Fun Show title to his impressive resume. Kay Green made the winning ride under the guidance of David Landrum Stables. The 2002 Amateur Specialty World Grand Champion Electrifying was a popular reserve winner in the large class. Owner Dona Griffin made the good ride under the direction of Baucom Stables.

            The final class of the night was the Owner-Amateur Two-Year-Old Mares and Geldings division. Trainers’ Show champion Witch’s Jazz and Ed Breedlove walked away with top honors for Melissa Breedlove. Allan Callaway Stables trains the award winning filly. Santana’s Hurricane and Tricia Timmons collected the reserve honors for Renaissance Farm under the direction of Rae Martin Stables.