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The Future Takes Center Stage At Futurity



by Mark Davis

Ah, yes. The greatest 11 days of the year, those right before Labor Day that make up the world’s greatest horse show, the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, are finally here once again. After the first 2009 World Champions were crowned during The Celebration’s Wednesday morning session, the focus turned back to Calsonic Arena Wednesday evening for the industry’s richest one night horse show, the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association’s 71st annual National Futurity, featuring our industry’s finest young horses in the halter, Trail Pleasure, Lite-Shod, Park Pleasure and Performance divisions.

As tradition holds, the Celebration judges mark the cards for the Futurity and this year’s panel’s included Rollie Beard of Lewisburg, Tenn., Jamie Bradshaw of Union Grove, Ala., Mike Carpenter of Franklin, Tenn., Jennifer Bingham of Shelbyville, Tenn., and Sam Sorrell of Flemingsburg, Ky.

Promptly at 5:30 pm, the familiar voice of horse show announcer Bobby Sands, who returns to The Celebration center ring after almost a decade’s absence, called the evening to order with the presentation of the stars and stripes by The Celebration’s official flag horse, Counterfeit Dollar and World Grand Champion rider Bud Seaton. TWHBEA Executive Director Stan Butt gave the invocation for the evening, followed by the singing of the National Anthem by Jennifer Potts.

With that, it was time to call the first class of the evening, Two & Three-Year-Old Park Pleasure Stallions, Mares & Geldings to the ring. Seven of the 10 nominated entries made their way to the track to work for the panel as Judge Rollie Beard called the gaits in the event. Flying to the winner’s circle and claiming the floral horseshoe in the section with a unanimous decision of the panel was Lewisburg, Tenn., trainer Bruce Hankins and The Red Falcon riding for the Berry Coffey Estate of Petersburg, Tenn. This youngster, sired by Generator’s Falcon and out of Major River Dancer, scored a win earlier this year at the Dickson County Horse Show and a reserve at the International Grand Championships. Devious Don, owned by Lisa Bowman-Anderson of Greeneville, Tenn., pulled into the second position, with I’m A Shady Character, property of Jeff and Sara Heuer of Cape Girardeau, Mo., rounding out the top three.

       


Babies, babies, babies. The babies were looking good as they took center stage in class 2, Weanling Fillies, as 24 of the 61 nominated worked hard to show their very best for Call Judge Jennifer Bingham and her panel in hopes of walking away with a floral horseshoe of their very own, which was almost sure to be too big for them. Shooting the hole in one, Miss Cheyenne, sired by Seve out of Pure Vengeance, pulled in for a moment with photographer Jack Greene with Bobby Richards at the lead for Larry Mesimer and Dr. Roger Richards of Concord, N.C., and Hendersonville, Tenn. This win marked number nine for this duo who had already scored blues at the Dr. C.C. Chitwood Memorial Horse Show, Grinder’s Switch Horse Show, Smoky Mountain Classic, Columbia, Spring Jubilee, the National Trainers’ Show, Money Tree Classic and dual wins at the International Grand Championships. Busting in for the reserve honors was Jose’s Door Buster, property of Dr. Jack Bailey of Topeka, Kan. I Can’t Imagine was third for proud owner Carol Hargett of Shelbyville, Tenn.

Back under saddle for class 3, the Three-Year-Old Western Trail Pleasure Stallions, Mares & Geldings were up next with three of the six nominated showing off their best western ways for Judge Jamie Bradshaw and his staff. Copper’s Morning Glory and Jared Carrier added the TWHBEA National Futurity win to their resume, which included the Amateur Owned & Trained Trail Pleasure Specialty Grand Championship at the 2009 International Grand Championship, with a unanimous decision of the panel, riding for Wallace H. Carrier, Jr., of Franklin, Ky. Headed back to the Peach State, Santana’s Velvet Touch pulled in for the red streamers for Susan and Phil Cobb of Cedartown, Ga. Sleipnir, the property of Allison Thorson of Huron, Ohio, was third.

The one entry nominated in class 4, Two-Year-Old Park Performance Stallions, Mares & Geldings, Ritz’s Diamond Broker, owned by Allen Curtis of Hendersonville, Tenn., took to the rail in its 2009 show ring debut and worked the gaits to perfection earning the victory pass and futurity title in the section.

Staying in the Performance division, the Two-Year-Old Mares & Geldings were up next in class 5 with seven of the 20 nominated making the gate call to work for the growing National Futurity crowd under the watchful eye of Call Judge Sam Sorrell and his cohorts. Ernest Upton and Me And Mrs. Jones rode away with the roses in the competitive division for Bobby Joe Jones of Manchester, Tenn. This outstanding youngster is by Black Diamond Ritz out of Exclusive Generation and has scored 2009 wins at the Smith County Horse Show and Arab Park and Recreation Horse Show, including a strong reserve at the National Trainers’ Show. The Don Milligan owned, The Special Design was second with Slice, an entry owned by Crawford Colts, LLC of Carrollton, Ga., collecting the yellow streamers.

Shifting back to the halter division, class 6 featured the Yearling Fillies with 19 of the 95 with nominations working the track as Judge Rollie Beard led the panel. After the rail work and an extensive examination in the line up, it was I Walk A Fine Line and Dr. Brian Wright, 2009 champions at the Belfast Lions Club Horse Show, making that sentimental journey to the winner’s circle for Dr. George Wright, Dr. Roger Richards, Allen Curtis and Dr. Grey Barker of Mt. Juliet, Hendersonville and Gallatin, Tenn. This stellar filly was sired by Lined With Cash out of I’m Walkin’ To The Ritz. My Cowgirl Dale Evans, owned by Dr. Roger Richards of Hendersonville, Tenn., were reserve in the deep division. Naomi’s Watchin Over Me walked into the third spot for Bobbi Kay Hein and Nicolette Anderson of Lebanon, Tenn.

It was time to get back in the Western way for class 7, Two-Year-Old Western Trail Pleasure Stallions, Mares & Geldings with five of the eight expected making their way up the chute to show their talents as Judge Jennifer Bingham called the gaits in the section. Powerstoke Special and Jimmy Laughlin proudly accepted the honors in the division for Jerry Laughlin and 4-J Land and Cattle Co. of Waynesville, Mo. Dollars In Dixie, entry owned by Dr. Judy Moore and Ed Foust of Shelbyville, Tenn., were reserve. Jazz’s Mr. B, property of Linda Hackel Brown of Bell Buckle, Tenn., was third.

Remaining in the pleasure division, class 8 featured the Two-Year-Old Lite-Shod Stallions, Mares & Geldings with seven of the 10 with reservations making the gate call to work for Judge Jamie Bradshaw and his staff. Topping the event was A Jazz Man sired, Jazzalicious and Grandy Tuck, Jr. riding to the winner’s circle for Ginger Williams of Reidsville, N.C. Armed By JFK, owned by Steve and Charlotte Icardi of Corinth, Miss., was second, with the popular palomino, Corona Gold accepting the golden streamers for Sandy Harris of Chapel Hill, Tenn.

       

After an exciting exhibition by 2007 World Grand Champions, Master Of Jazz and Jimmy McConnell, it was time to call the babies of the horse show world back to the ring for class 9, Weanling Colts. Nineteen of the 62 nominated hit the track to show off their best moves under the watchful eyes of Call Judge Mike Carpenter and his panel. After all of the work was complete, the Futurity crowd saw a Master Of Jazz get, The Master Of Blues and handler Chris Richards, 2009 champions at the Woodbury Lions Club Horse Show, take the top award in the section for Mr. and Mrs. Charles Brantley of Wartrace, Tenn. The Hoyte Eakes owned entry, The Gipper took the red streamers back to Eakes’ Nashville, Tenn., home. Out Of The Park was third for Alan and Jason Bachert of Shelbyville, Tenn., and Grover, Mo.

The performance entries were back in class 10, Three-Year-Old Mares & Geldings, with eight of the 17 with reservations making the call to work for their chance at the floral horseshoe and all of the National Futurity acclaim. Judge Sam Sorrell served as Call Judge in the class. Riding to the top of the division was Lewisburg, Tenn., trainer Wayne Dean and It’s All About Jack showing for Bob Cherry of Centerville, Tenn., who served as Executive Director of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association for many years. This talented young horse was sired by JFK out of Rain’s Fancy Free. She’s Our Amazing Grace, the entry owned by Jean Beech of Belfast, Tenn., was reserve, with Bombay Jose’ pulling in for the yellow ribbons for Lisa Teel and Mitzi Butler of Andalusia, Ala.

During a quick break in the action, the Wednesday Night crowd was entertained once again by another former World Grand Champion, this time 2002 WGC Out On Parole and Steve Dunn.

Class 11, Three-Year-Old Park Performance Stallions, Mares & Geldings featured no nominations, so the schedule moved on to class 12, Three- Year-Old English Trail Pleasure Stallions, Mares and Geldings with eight of the nine expected working as Call Judge Rollie Beard called the gaits. Miss Esther Williams and Lisa Weaver rode to the top of the division with a unanimous decision of the panel for Fred and Lisa Weaver of Doyline, La. This win marked the sixth 2009 win for this talented young mare. Mr. Natural, owned by Chip Carrier of Franklin, Ky., was in the second position. Another Carrier family entry, Coppertop’s Miss Penny was third for Jared Carrier of Franklin, Ky.

       

Returning to the halter division, class 13 brought the Yearling Colts to the track with 21 of the 117 nominated working the big oval and showing off their very best moves as Judge Jennifer Bingham served as Call Judge in the class. Long time colt handler Bobby Richards was looking ready when he made his march to the winner’s circle, wearing his orange coat for the occasion, and that was certainly fitting as he was at the lead of Good Ole Rocky Top, a 2009 winner at Gallatin, Tenn., Fayetteville, Tenn., Dickson, Tenn., and a three-time International Champion, claiming this honor for Dr. Roger Richards, Allen Curtis and Bobby Joe Jones of Hendersonville and Manchester, Tenn. The Threat Of Poison pulled in to claim reserve honors for Mr. and Mrs. Charles Brantley of Wartrace, Tenn. He’s Sittin’ On A Ritz pulled in to pick up the golden streamers for Bobby Joe Jones of Manchester, Tenn. 

Class 14 featured the Three-Year-Old Lite-Shod Stallions, Mares & Geldings with four of the ten expected beating the gate call to work for Call Judge Jamie Bradshaw and his cohorts. Picking up the second win of the night for owner 4-J Land and Cattle Co., Wendy Laughlin made the strong performance with Promiscuous Girl to rise to the top of all five judges cards and ride away with the roses. Let’s Waltz Across Texas was reserve for Mrs. A.E. McEwen and Jim McEwen of Williamsport, Tenn.

The Two-Year-Old Stallions were up next on the schedule in Class 15 with seven of the 26 expected working to the track to work under the watch of Celebration veteran Judge Mike Carpenter and his panel. All My Money and Jimmy McConnell captured the National Futurity title in the division for Julie Cole of Shelbyville, Tenn. This talented young stallion was sired by All American Cash out of Star Lit Dollar. Headed back to the Bluegrass State, Midnight Excape picked up the red streamers for Wally R. Parrish of Georgetown, Ky. Going way out west for third was Hello Joe, owned by Joseph A. and Mary E. Alverez of Olympia, Wa.

Class 16 featured the Two-Year-Old English Trail Pleasure Stallions, Mares & Geldings with five of the seven expected making the call to work through the gaits as Judge Sam Sorrell served as Call Judge for the event. Proving they were good to the last drop, One Last Drop and Maggie Moore topped this division and carried top honors back out west for Loretta and Max North of Shingle Springs, Calif. Headed back to the Buckeye State, My Royal Whoopi was second in the section for Linda Thompson of Lexington, Ohio. Alamo Joe rode into the third position for James E. Nichols of Oxford, Miss.

The Yearling In Hand Extended Gait class returned to the schedule this year after making a debut appearance in 2008. The intent of the class is to showcase the four beat running walk that has made the Tennessee Walking Horse so famous over the years. Nineteen yearlings made the return appearance to perform for the judging panel in this unique event. Doing that running walk all the way to the winner’s circle with a unanimous decision was He’s Sittin’ On A Ritz and Dr. Roger Richards at the lead for Bobby Joe Jones of Manchester, Tenn. Naomi’s Watchin Over Me pulled in for the red streamers for Bobbi Kay Hein and Nicolette Anderson of Lebanon, Tenn. Good Ole Rocky Top collected the yellow ribbon for Dr. Roger Richards, Allen Curtis and Bobby Joe Jones of Hendersonville and Manchester, Tenn.

Rounding out the evening’s schedule, as usual, was the Three-Year-Old Stallions, class 18 on the evening’s program. Seven of the 11 expected made the gate call to work for the good crowd still on hand as Judge Jennifer Bingham called the gaits. Topping the event was the team of Play Something Country and Chris Bobo riding for Jeff Smith of Greer, S.C. Get Ready, property of G. Russell Wright and Son of Old Hickory, Tenn., pulled in for the reserve honors. The Ninth Wonder was third for owner Carla Hurley of Hendersonville, Tenn.

        

And, with that one final victory pass by Play Something Country and Chris Bobo, the 71st annual Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association National Futurity was in the record books and a successful night it certainly was with 176 entries taking the ring in the 18 classes of competition. With the quality featured this evening, the future certainly is bright for the Tennessee Walking Horse!

Click here for a complete listing of Wednesday evenings results.

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