by Derick Mann
The future of the breed was put on display at the 2002 Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association’s National Futurity. The Calsonic Arena played host to the event as the fine panel of Celebration judges called the classes. Celebration CEO, Ron Thomas was the show manager and Robert Thomas, Jerrold Pedigo, Charles Hulsey, and Bob Cherry are the TWHBEA officials that help put the show together.

The task of announcing the 64th Annual Futurity went to Chip Walters. Connie Dunlap kept the beat as the show’s organist while photographer Jack Greene captured the winning moments on film.

The show began as always with the striking white stallion Snow On The Mountain and rider Bud Seaton presenting the national colors. The vocal talent of Leah Boyd was used to sing the national anthem. Then it was show time.

Entering the ring first were the talented riders of the TWHBEA Medallion Championship class. Judge Irby called the class of nine entries. Placing the finishing touch on their campaign in the Youth Medallion Division was the team of Erica Hartlein and The Finishing Touch. Gingerbread Farms owns the classic horse. Reserve was awarded to Justin Harney and Our First Impression. Third in the championship was Catherine Britt.

Trip My Trigger was the first stallion sponsor of the evening. He sponsored the Two-Year-Old Park Stallions, Mares, and Geldings and is the property of Canton, Ohio native Jo Ann Dowell. Trigger holds the honors of being Three-Year-Old Amateur World and World Grand Champion as well as Four-Year-Old Amateur World and World Grand Champion with Sue Ann Schott. The beautiful stallion stands at Sand Creek Farm under management of breeding manager, Patti Gray.

Eight Entries were present for the Two-Year-Old Park Stallions, Mares, and Geldings. Milligan was the call judge for the class. A unanimous decision was made for A Classical Jazz and Craig Swaggerty to receive the blue. The red ribbon was awarded next to Masked Marauder for Hillview Farms. Third place honors went to Si Si Senor, the property of Becky Barnes.

The next stallion sponsor was the colorful Kodachrome. Kodachrome’s sire is the legendary Pusher C.G. The multi-titled stallion holds the honors of Dixie Jubilee champion, Spring Hill champion, and Reserve Fine Harness World Champion to his credit. Cathy Baird is the owner and Darcy Newman manages his breeding program at 10-Tucky Breeding Facility. Rollie Beard is and has always been the horse’s trainer during the show season.

A whopping nineteen entries answered the gate call for the Weanling Fillies class. Paul Whitehead called the class. Bill Beech was the handler of the winning entry, Simply Priceless. Margaret Anne Beech is the owner from Belfast, Tennessee. Cotton’s Power Pusher placed reserve with Kathy Potter for son Dillon Potter. I’m The Lady In Command was third.

Pusher’s Fine Art was the next sponsor at the Futurity. Sired by The Pusher C.G. and owned by Richard and Karen Marriott, Fine Art earned several fine honors from major shows like the International. Full Moon Farm is home for Pusher’s Fine Art during the breeding season. Lindy Holt manages the stallion’s breeding career while Rodney and Buddy Dick handle his training at Finish Line Farms.

WIth two entries the Three-Year-Old Park Stallions, Mares, and Geldings got underway quickly. Beard was the call judge for the class. After both entries showed the judges what they could do, the selection of Joltin Joe Dimaggio and Trish Wooten was made. The winning entry is under the ownership of Gary and Carleen Redman of Fontana, California. Elegance Of Design and Craig Swaggerty were reserve for Nancy Lovato.

One of the most talked about show horses of our time was the sponsor of the next class. Jose Jose was paraded around the show ring as a list of his accomplishments was read. That lengthy list includes winning the Two and Three-Year-Old World and World Grand Championships with unanimous decisions. Jose Jose is sired by Gen’s Major General and out of Stormy’s Ruby. Mr. and Mrs. William B. Johnson are the proud owners of Jose Jose and stand him at their Waterfall Farms in Shelbyville, Tennessee.

The Beech family had reason to celebrate once again after the Two-Year-Old Mares and Geldings class. Margaret Anne Beech’s Jackie O’s My Sister and Buck Williams took the top honors in the class. Judge Gilmer was the call judge for the eighteen entry class. Second place was awarded to Miss Sweepstakes USA and Link Webb for Mrs. Gerald Montgomery of Rockvale, Alabama. Vengeful Hour took third for Virginia Chism of Arrington, Tennessee.

The 1994 World Grand Champion was next on display. Gen’s Armed And Dangerous sponsored the Yearling Fillies class. With Pride’s Generator bloodlines and out of an Ebony mare, Armed And Dangerous had all the talent needed to take the titles of Three-Year-Old World Grand Champion, Reserve Four-Year-Old World Grand Champion and 1994 World Grand Champion. The big stallion has stood at Womack Stables since 1995 and continues to stand there to this day. The proud ownership is George and June Brown, Charles and SHirley Hulsey, Jim and Bonnie Moon, Charles and Florence Terry, and Jerrold Pedigo.

The ring was packed with twenty-five entries in the Yearling Filly class. Judge Irby called the class. Following a successful show season, A Wind Storm and Robert Nelms continued to blow away the competition as they took the top ribbon in the class. The entry’s owner is Rodger Richards. The red ribbon was awarded to Kodachromes Annie Oakley for Susan Wood of Midway, Kentucky. Third place went to A Touch Of Jazz for Fred Benjamin.

The stallion sponsor of the next class burst through the gate with rider and trainer Dick Peebles. It was none other than the always entertaining Pride’s Winning Edge. Bud Thomas is the owner of the three time World Champion. The impressive stallion has had an exciting career. He is sired by Pride’s Genius and truly possesses many of the same great attributes of his sire. Pride’s Winning Edge stands at Dick Peebles Stables in Shelbyville, Tennessee.

Judge Milligan called the next class of fourteen entries. The Two-Year-Old Lite Shod Stallions gave quite a performance at the Futurity. Claiming the title in the class was the team of First Classic and Jim Potter for Lynne Wenger of Ohio. Placing second in the class was A Classic Heart Throb for Mark and Debra Matson. Third place honors were received by Wishing For Cash for Kathy Owen.

The solid gray stallion, Gray’s Elegy was the next sponsor on display. Gray’s Elegy is named after the trainer that started him and led his sire, Pride’s Secret Threat to a World Grand Championship, veteran horseman Billy Gray. Gray directed the skilled stallion to the Two-Year-Old World Championship and Reserve in the World Grand Championship. At that time the stallion was jet black with just a few sprinkles of gray. As he got older he became more gray. Jeanne Harrison is the new owner and Darcy Newman continues to manage his breeding program at 10 Tucky Breeding Facility in Lewisburg, Tennessee.

An entertaining class of Three-Year-Old Mares and Geldings answered the gate call next. With a dozen entries to choose from, Whitehead called the class. Owner Cyndi McConnell was thrilled when the announcement came across that her husband Jackie and horse, A White Rose, had placed first in the class. Second place honors went to Link Webb and Going To The Ritz for James Vernon. The yellow ribbon was presented to Splotched and Joe Cotton for Black Hawk Farms.

Mighty Maxx was the next sponsor on display. Mighty Maxx is by Pride’s Beam and is a two-time world champion and a Four-Year-Old Amateur World Grand Champion. Mrs. Jo Ann Dowell is the owner from Canton, Ohio. Her daughter Sue Ann Schott showed the mighty black stallion until he suffered a tragic and untimely injury. The show ring’s loss was the breeding barn’s gain as the decision was made for Mighty Maxx to stand at Sand Creek Farm in Shelbyville.

The Weanling Colts were exhibited next. An astounding twenty-seven entries responded to the gait call. Judge Beard was the call judge. First place honors in the large class were awarded to Hey Hey Jose and handler Bill Beech. This was the third first place entry of the night out of My Jackie O. My Jackie O was also the dam of the Weanling Filly Champion. The owner is Margaret Anne Beech of Belfast, Tennessee. Second went to Mucho Grande’ for Lindy Holt of Bell Buckle, Tennessee. Receiving the third tie in the class was Final Watch for W.E. Broughton.

One of the few gray offspring of the late Coin’s Hard Cash was the talented show ring star, Lined With Cash. Lined With Cash sponsored the Three-Year-Old Stallions, Mares, and Geldings class at the 64th Annual Futurity. The list of accomplishments made by Lined With Cash includes two futurity championships, the two and three-year-old championships, and reserve three and four year-old world grand championships. He was started and trained by Larry Edwards of Carl Edwards and Sons Stables in Georgia. Lined With Cash stands at the beautiful Waterfall Farms in Shelbyville, Tennessee. Owners William and Sandra Johnson are looking forward to his first group of get under saddle this fall.

With twelve entries and Judge Gilmer calling the class, the Three-Year-Old Lite-Shod Stallions, Mares, and Geldings got underway. The first place winner in the class was Revved So High. Kathy Owen’s Double Spring Farm owns the entry. Red ribbon honors were presented to The Elite Lady for for Mark and Debra Matson. Third place went to Bad News Royal Lady.

Sponsoring the Two-Year-Old Colts class was the reigning World Grand Champion, Pride’s Jubilee Encore. Encore captured the title of Aged Stallion with Bill Bobo, the Amateur World Championship with Kay Dennis, and finally the 2001 World Grand Championship with Allan Callaway during his illustrious career. Sired by a World Grand Champion, Pride’s Jubilee Star, Encore had the bloodlines to back him during his time in the show ring. Encore now stands at Lytle Creek Farm in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

The anxiously awaited Two-Year-Old Stallions was next on the schedule. Judge Ty Irby was given the task of selecting the finest of the competitive class of fourteen entries. After the final running walk and the dust had settled the crowd could be heard shouting the back numbers of their favorites. In the end the coveted award belonged to the entry of and Steve Dunn. Reserve in the popular class went to You Better Watchout and Jackie McConnell. A crowd favorite, Prime Poison and Herbert Derickson received third.

Generator’s Fame was next to parade around the Calsonic Arena. Fame was the sponsor of the Yearling Colt class at the Futurity. Fame is by Pride’s Generator and out of the legendary mare, Lady Fame. With parents like that Fame has made a great sire for the industry. In 2001, one of Fame’s offspring, Fame’s Houdini, captured the Weanling World Grand Championship. Fame is currently under new ownership and stands at Kevin Luttrell Stables. For mare owners, the selection of this stallion is a sure claim to fame.

Twenty-Eight entries spanned the ring in the Yearling Colts class. Judge Milligan called the class. After each had taken their place in the lineup and the judges finalized their decisions, the top honors were awarded to Olympic Titan and Bobby Richards. This win follows several others obtained by the two throughout the season including a win at the International. Reserve honors were received by All American Ritz. The yellow ribbon went to Dark Spirit’s Shaman.

The last stallion sponsor displayed was Pusher’s Black Hawk. The nine year old stallion was sired by The Pusher and owned by Jaclyn Smith Tillman. Steve Hankins, David Landrum, and currently Brock Tillman have trained the fine horse. Black Hawk has achieved first place ties at every major show including Land O’ Sky, Belfast, and the National Trainers’ Show. The talented stallion has also received several world and reserve world grand championship honors at the Celebration. Black Hawk has only been bred to a select group of fifty mares.

The final class of the 2002 Futurity was the Three-Year-Old Colts. Whitehead called the class of twenty two entries. Following an exciting running walk, the lineup was called and it was decision time. The winner of the thrilling class, Armed And Waiting. Rodney Dick was the rider of the gifted three-year-old for Randall and Gloria Dixon of Dacula, Georgia. Reserve honors went to the 2002 Fun Show Three-Year-Old Stallion champion, I'm Mr. Threat. John Allen Callaway directed him to the reserve win for Hoyte Eakes. McMinnville's Three-Year-Old champion, Julio Julio was third with Link Webb for Donnie Taylor.

The 2002 Futurity showcased some of the finest talent the Tennessee Walking Horse industry can boast. The future is looking bright for these contenders and the industry as a whole.