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Future Shines Bright At TWHBEA National Futurity

By Mark Davis


            The traditions continue as the 68th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association National Futurity took the track in Calsonic Arena August 23rd

            The TWHBEA National Futurity has grown and developed over its many years of existence to where it is now the richest one night show in our industry boasting prize money in the tens of thousands.  The 2006 event featured 180 entries competing in 15 classes of competition. As always, the Futurity is managed and produced by The Celebration and use the judges of the show, which include Jamie Bradshaw of Union Grove, Ala., Wink Groover of Longview, Texas, Tommy Loid of Bowling Green, Ky., Huck Moss of Trenton, S.C., and Ronnie Spears of Tullahoma, Tenn.

            The opening ceremonies included the presentation of the flag by Counterfeit Dollar and Bud Seaton, invocation by Stan Butt of Columbia, Tenn., and the singing of the National Anthem by Kylene Crabb of Shelbyville, Tenn.

            Up first on the evening’s schedule was the TWHBEA Youth Medallion Championship.  The Youth Medallion division was created several years ago by the TWHBEA to promote the canter in the youth division.  Young riders show in events at their local shows throughout the year and participants in the Championship must show in at least one show prior to the Championship.  Points are also awarded at the shows throughout the year that lead towards an end of year high point award which includes a $1000 college scholarship.  Eight of the 24 expected hit the track in the event as Judge Tommy Loid called the gaits in the division.  Topping the division with a strong performance was the team of You’re In Command and Matthew McMurtrey riding for Dianne McMurtrey of Winter Garden, Fla.  This successful duo preceded this win by bringing home top honors at the Eagleville, Tenn. Lions Club Horse Show, Columbia, Tenn.’s Money Tree Classic, Murfreesboro, Tenn.’s Bethesda Horse Show and Lynchburg, Tenn.’s Moore County Horse Show. Jacob Baum and OMG proudly accepted the red streamer for Dr. Jim Baum of Shelbyville, Tenn.  Accepting third were Pride’s Flashy Girl and Audrey Grand for Jimmy Grant of Raymer, Ala.

Matthew McMurtrey

            Class 2 brought the Two-Year-Old Park Pleasure Stallions, Mares and Geldings to the track with two of the five with reservations making the call to work as Judge Huck Moss led the panel in the event.  Not Your Average JFK and Craig Swagerty captured the top honors in the class for Nancy Lovato of West Jordan, Utah.  Texas Fiesta and Larry Patton were reserve for Laura Goodwin of Madison, Tenn.

            Well, it was finally time for some babies!  That’s the whole reason for coming to the Futurity . . .right?  Twenty of the 84 nominated took to the track for class 3, Weanling Fillies.  Judge Ronnie Spears served as Call Judge in the division.  Walking their way to the winner’s circle, just as they had already this year at the Columbia, Tenn. Spring Jubilee, Centerville, Tenn.’s Grinders Switch Horse Show, Eagleville, Tenn.’s Lions Club Horse Show, Murfreesboro, Tenn.’s Bethesda Horse Show and Belfast, Tenn.’s Lions Club Horse Show and whoopin’ it up all the way was Whoopin’ It In Command and Nathan Mills for Nathan and April Mills of Nashville, Tenn.  She’s A Teddy Bear and Karen McGee led to reserve for Sherry Holland and Mary Dell Kilgore of Decatur and Northport, Ala.  She’s All Cashed In and owner/exhibitor Charles Gleghorn of Fayetteville, Tenn. took home the yellow streamer.

            Three-Year-Old Park Pleasure Stallions, Mares and Geldings were up next in Class 4 with four of the 12 nominated making the call to work for Judge Jamie Bradshaw and his staff.  Shaking their way down victory lane was Encore’s Shakin’ Lady and Jeff Laughlin riding for Jerry Laughlin and 4-J Land and Cattle Company of Waynesville, Mo.  Another 4-J entry, In Vogue and Jay Laughlin captured the reserve honors in the division, after picking up two Celebration blues during the Wednesday Morning performance.  The Diablo and Jeff Byrom accepted third for Kimberly Byrom and Whitney Davis of Bell Buckle, Tenn.

            The performance horses were up next in class 5, Two-Year-Old Mares and Geldings.  Sixteen of the 51 nominated made the gate call to work for Judge Wink Groover and his staff.  The outstanding class of competitors got the crowd excited and had everyone in the crowd cheering for their favorite as they passed around the ring.  Proving their talent was no secret, Larry Edwards and A Victoria Secret rode to the Futurity win, just as they had earlier this year at Edison, Ga.’s King Cotton Charity Horse Show, Shelbyville, Tenn.’s Spring Fun Show and Woodbury, Tenn.’s Lions Club Horse Show, for Chester and Linda Stokes of Jacksonville, Fla.  I’m Stayin’ At The Ritz and Joe Cotten picked up the red streamer for the Evergreen Walking Horse Farm, Inc. of Bell Buckle, Tenn.  Jose’s Caliente and Link Webb were third for Robert Ramsbottom Jr. of Norris, Tenn.

            The halter colts were back in class 6, Yearling Fillies, as 16 of the 82 nominated showed their walking ways for Judge Tommy Loid and his cohorts.  Topping the division was the 2005 Weanling World Grand Champion, Stormy’s Silky Sue and Robert Nelms at the lead for J.T. and Martha Nelms of College Grove, Tenn.  This duo preceded their National Futurity win with top honors at Columbia, Tenn.’s Money Tree Classic, Shelbyville, Tenn.’s Liberty Lions Club Horse Show and Great Strides Horse Show, Pulaski, Tenn.’s Red Carpet Horse Show of the South and the Wartrace, Tenn. Horse Show.  Just Walkin’ and Nathan Mills were doing just that to tie in the second position in the division for his granddad, Hoyte Eakes of Nashville, Tenn.  Leading to third was Oops Dream Girl and Karla Hurley at the chain for Charlotte Chrestman, Carl Hurley and Roger Richards of Shelbyville and Hendersonville, Tenn.

            Returning to entries under saddle, class 7 brought all six of the nominated entries to the track for the Two-Year-Old Lite Shod Pleasure Stallions, Mares and Geldings.  Judge Huck Moss served as Call Judge for the division.  Capturing the title in the event was The Armed Cashier and Jeff Laughlin riding for Pedigo and 4-J Land and Cattle Company of Murfreesboro, Tenn., and Waynesville, Mo.  The Grand Opening and Bobby Richards were reserve for Waterfall Farms of Atlanta, Ga.  Extra Classic and Jim Potter accepted the yellow streamer for Mag Ranft of Groveport, Ohio.

            The Three-Year-Old Mares and Geldings were up next on the agenda, class 8, with 9 of the 22 nominated making the gate call to work under the watchful eye of Judge Ronnie Spears and his staff.  Topping the division with a stellar performance were Elmore and Rodney Dick riding for Rodger and Harolene Willis of Wartrace, Tenn.  She’s Calamity Jane and Jimmy McConnell were shooting up the competition to walk away with second for Jim & Bonnie Gerhardt of DesPeres, Mo.  Dangerous Gin and Joel Weaver were third for Jerry Laughlin’s 4-J Land and Cattle Co. of Waynesville, Mo.

            The babies were back for class 9, Weanling Colts, with 26 of the 83 nominated working the ring.  Judge Jamie Bradshaw served as Call Judge for the event.  When the work was complete, it was clear there was one team truly in command, The Rookie In Command and Chris Richards.  This impressive team, who recently picked up wins at Murfreesboro, Tenn.’s International Grand Championships and Spring Hill, Tenn.’s Lions Club Horse Show, for Kim Bailey of Lynchburg, Tenn.  A Dance With Danger and Bobby Richards worked to the reserve position for Lisa Teel of Andalusia, Ala.  Shock It To Me and owner/exhibitor Carlyle Johnson of Shelbyville, Tenn., were presented with the third award.

            Back in the Lite Shod division, five of the seven expected for class 10, Three-Year-Old Lite Shod Pleasure Stallions, Mares and Geldings took to the rail to work as Judge Wink Groover called the gaits.  Taking the honors back to Lone Star state was the duo of Muchacha Grande and John Feltner, Jr. riding for Kelly Sherman of Dallas, Texas. This win was preceded with honors from Marshall, Texas, West Monroe, La.’s Louisiana Jubilee and Shelbyville, Tenn.’s Spring Fun Show. A Classic Angel and Jim Potter took back the red streamer for Matthew L. Janisch of Mansfield, Ohio.  Grandee Ann and owner/exhibitor Connie Waldo of Shelbyville, Tenn., accepted third.

            Class 11 brought the Two Year Old Stallions to the ring with 14 of the 50 nominated hitting the track to work for TWHBEA National Futurity acclaim.  Judge Tommy Loid served as Call Judge in the event.  This division marked as one of the very best of the evening with the crowd getting very involved letting the judging panel know who was their very favorite.  However, there could only be one champion in the division and when the work was complete, the panel determined that the team of The Coach and Joe Cotten capture the title with a unanimous decision of the panel for Sherry Holland & Mary Dell Kilgore of Decatur and Northport, Ala.  With a roar of the crowd, All American Made and Jackie McConnell picked up the reserve title for Beverly Sherman of Dallas, Texas.  ACC and Steve Hankins accepted third for Delrick Properties, LLC – Rick Compton of North Tazewell, Va.

            Class 12 brought a new division to the National Futurity program, Two-Year-Old Trail Pleasure Stallions, Mares and Geldings.  Ten of the 12 nominated made the gate call to work as Judge Huck Moss called the gaits in the division.  Taking the blue in the event with a unanimous decision of the panel was Lion King and Marty Irby riding for Marty Irby and Kristen Williams of Shelbyville, Tenn.  This made Marty’s second win of the day as he picked up a Trail Pleasure World Championship earlier today with The Lady At The Ritz.  Maggie Moore and Grande Grande accepted the red streamer for Roger and Rebecca Emerick of Hillsborough, Calif.  Aesop and Ron Nichols took the yellow streamer back to the Magnolia state for James Nichols of Oxford, Miss.

Bill Johnson, WGC He's Puttin On The Ritz and Sandra Johnson

      The Yearling Colts, class 13, were up next on the schedule with 23 of the 108 nominated hitting the track to work under the watchful eye of Judge Ronnie Spears and staff.  Steppin’ their way to the winner’s circle just as they had all season long was the team of  Jazzed And Steppin’ and Chris Richards at the lead for Roger Richards, Angie Bumpus and Jane Pirolo of Hendersonville & Murfreesboro, Tenn. This win was preceded with top honors at Shelbyville, Tenn.’s National Trainers’ Show, Lawrenceburg, Tenn.’s Crossroads of Dixie Horse Show, Centerville, Tenn.’s Grinders Switch Horse Show, Shelbyville, Tenn.’s Tony Rice Horse Show, Lynchburg, Tenn.’s Moore County Horse Show and Murfreesboro, Tenn.’s International Grand Championships. Cutting through the competition to pick up the reserve honors were Stormcutter and Robert Nelms working for J.T. and Robert Nelms of College Grove, Tenn.  Giovanni Casanova and Allen Curtis were third for Roger Richards of Hendersonville, Tenn.

            Another new division on the schedule, Three-Year-Old Trail Pleasure Stallions, Mares and Geldings, was up next with 11 of the 15 nominated making the call to work for Judge Jamie Bradshaw and his cohorts.  Capturing top honors in the division were Gold Coin In Dixie and Dr. Judy Moore for Dr. Judy Moore and Ed Foust of Shelbyville, Tenn.  My Lucky Dollar, owned by James E. Nichols of Oxford, Miss., accepted the red streamer.  Major Matic and owner/exhibitor Mag Ranft of Groveport, Ohio was third.

            The final class on the evening’s agenda, as usual, was the Three-Year-Old Stallions.  Ten of the 17 nominated hit the track for what promised to be an exciting way to finish a great night of horse show.  When the work was complete and the cards were “all in”, it was the exciting team of All In and Steve Dunn riding to the winner’s circle for Michael Inman of Hoover, Ala.  Close on their heels in the reserve position were The Strike Zone and Link Webb riding for Donnie Taylor of Rock Island, Tenn.  Hal’s Major Shooter and Rollie Beard picked up the yellow streamer for David Roberts and Mike Floyd of Mt. Pleasant and Columbia, Tenn.

            And with one final victory pass, the 68th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Futurity was in the record books and if this event is any indication, the future of our industry is bright . . .very bright!

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