by Lisa Cummings

DULUTH, Ga. - The Georgia Walking Horse Exhibitor's Association held its annual awards banquet Feb. 21, 2004, at the Gwinett Place Marroitt. This year's attendance was larger than ever, even though several long standing members were unable to attend due to illness. Over 150 maded reservations for the evening. All in attendance enjoyed great food and the opportunity to get reacquainted after a dismal winter.

Lisa McMahan, president of the GWHEA, was unable to attend due to illness, but Dr. David Mullis graciously took over her duties for the night, welcomed everyone, thanked the corporate sponsors for their support during the past year, and announced the 2004 officers and board of directors. Members were asked to cast their ballots for the Voted Awards that would be announced later that evening.

After everyone enjoyed coffee and dessert Jerry Cole, started the Chinese Auction. For those of that have never experience this type of auction, it works this way: 1. You purchase a bag of chips. ($5, $10 $15... and so on) and get a paddle with a number on it. 2. On your table there's a bowl for placing bids (when a bid is placed it stays there). 3. The auctioneer shows the item up for bidding and places a price on it ($1, $2, or $3). 4. If interested you place the bid in the bowl and raise, swing, your paddle anything you can do to be noticed. 5. Instead of raising the bid the auctioneer then begins to call numbers, while the person with the gong waits until just the right moment to stop him. 6. The last number he calls out is the winner of the item.

There were many donated items up for auction this year ranging from a sterling silver mouse for your computer, skin care products, wormer for your horse, leather bridles, just about anything you can imagine, even riding lessons with Faye Lynne Coffee. The auction raised over $800 for the association.

Each year the GWHEA choses a charity to sponsor. This year the Good Sheperd Riding Academy was the benefactor. The Academy uses therapeutic riding and works with children that have handicaps. The association presented a check for $3,000 to Good Sheperd. During this presentation the Ladies Auxiliary also presented a check for $1,000.

The High Point Awards presentation was next. The Weanling High Point Champion was She's Bustin With Pride, handled by Mandie McFay and proudly owned by Tommy Jowers. Reserve honors went to Paper Dollar, handled by Ronnie Arflin and owned by Earl Cooper and Jerry Brown. Neon's Flashy Cash and She's Pure Poison Ivy tied for the high point award in the yearling division. Neon's Flashy Cash is owned and exhibited by Mandie McFay. She's Pure Poison Ivy is owned and exhibited by Martha Eubanks. Taking home the reserve honors, also a tie, were Delight's Gold Coin Doll and Ronnie Arflin, owner and exhibitor, and Silver Gen, handled by Megan Mullis and owned by Randall and Gloria Dixon. Model High Point Champion was Magic's Cherokee, handled by Megan Mullis and owned by Randall and Gloria Dixon. Major Colors, handled by Col. Paul Walker, received reserved honors in this division for HL Rogers.

Trail Pleasure and Country Pleasure High Point Champion honors went to Sundrop At Last, ridden by Dr. Rebecca Teal and owned by Dr. Teal and Sabra Smith. Again there was a tie for reserve honors. Chu-Chu, ridden by Carla Mulcay and proudly owned by Bob and Carla Mulcay, and Eavesdrop, ridden by Karen Smith and owned by Carol Aldrich-George, took home reserve honors.

Karen Smith and Carol Aldrich-George returned to claim the high point award for Eavesdrop in the Park Pleasure Lite-Shod Specialty. Black Rain Drops, directed throughout 2003 by Ben Findley, Henry Findley and Robert Findley took reserve honors for owner Robert Findley. In the Park Pleasure Lite-Shod Western Specialty Chu-Chu was the high point winner for Bob and Carla Mulcay. Claiming reserve honors was Black Rain Drops for Robert Findley.

Porshea Smith was excited when Choice Cut was awarded the high point trophy in the Park Pleasure Juvenile 17 and Under division. Jenna Morris and Joy Geske came forward to claim the reserve award in the division for Coin's Thunderbolt. Park Pleasure Amateur Specialty High Point Champion was Generator's Destroyer, directed by Henry Findley and owned by Ben Findley. Kathy Malone's Generator's Dark Side received reserve honors.

Park Pleasure Two and Three-Year-Olds Champion was Messenger's Spirit, proudly owned and exhibited by Johnny and Susan Paul. Rain's Autumn Mist, directed by Linda Smith, claimed reserve honors for Linda Mixon.

Dr. Rebecca Teal was thrilled when Mo Shame On Me received the high point award for Park Pleasure Western Specialty. Messenger's Last Chance, owned by Johnny and Susan Paul, and Edge Of Time, owned by Guy Ben Findley, claimed reserve in this tough division.

The Park Pleasure Amateur Owned and Trained high point winner was Ultra's Pilgrim Delight, owned and ridden by Floyd Butler and Ray Stiles. Choice Cut, owned by Seahorse Stables, topped the competition in the Park Pleasure Open Division. And Generator's C Note, owned by Guy Ben Findley, claimed reserve honors.

Spotted Horse Specialty honors went to Shelia Manwarings' Allen's Spotted Threat. Taking home reserve honors was Hand Painted Masterpiece for HL Rogers. Both of the winners were directed by Col. Paul Walker.

The next awards to be presented during the evening were in the Performance Horse Division. Gen's Grinch captured the WHTA Youth Council 11 & Under High Point Award for owner/rider Katelyn Fuller. Taking the reserve spot was Pusher's Blizzard, ridden by Haley Lane and owned by Linda Jones. Both of these winners are trained at Cantrell Stables.

The Keith Allen family dominated the WHTA Youth Council 12-17 division. Bodacious Pusher, directed by Ashley Allen, claimed top honors. Tickle Me Pink, ridden by Sara Allen, took home reserve. These entries are trained by Carl Bledsoe.

Bonus From Ritz received the high point trophy for Walking Ponies. Maisie McSwain was the exhibitor and the Dan McSwain family are the proud owners. The reserve honors resulted in a tie. The winners were Super Willy, owned and ridden by Kelsey Fuller, and Busted Dot, recently purchased by Tom, Avette and Steven Bowman.

JW and Martha Eubanks' Rich and Wicked captured the high point award in the Amateur Owned and Trained Specialty. Buddy Love, owned and ridden by Ed Federer, claimed the reserve trophy.

GWHLA Specialty winner was Gen's Master Blaster, shown by Barbara and owned by Ronnie and Barbara Newton. Noddinghead Farms' Pusher's Rainy Day Woman, ridden by Dr. Rebecca Mullis, took home reserve honors. Lone Star Judge was the Ladies Specialty Champion for Sandra Austin. Taking reserve honors was Spontaneous Choice, ridden and owned by Mary Mack Hall.

Skipped Coin owned by Billy Cannon, topped the competition in the Men's Specialty. With Pushin Major, owned by Carl Bledsoe and Bob and Carla Mulcay, taking the reserve honors.

Amateur 15.2 and Under champion was A Rare JFK. Guy Ben Findley is the proud owner and exhibitor. Terry Meeks' Boston Harbor took home the reserve trophy.

Guy Ben Findley returned to claim the award for Amateur 50 & Over Specialty with Major News Flash. Jack Halls' General Lee took home the reserve honors.

Jack Hall returned to take home the high point award in the Novice Amateur Specialty for I'm General Lee. Taking reserve honors was It Takes A Thief, proudly exhibited and owned by Carol Brown.

Henry Findleys' One Step Beyond claimed the high point award for Show Pleasure Specialty. One Step Beyond was ridden throughout the year by Guy and Robert Findley. Reserve honors again resulted in a tie with honors going to Enchanter's Crowd Pleaser, ridden by Kelley Wilson and owned by Scott and Kelly Wilson. Touch Of Magic, ridden by Barbara Newton and owned by Ronnie and Barbara Newton also claimed reserve honors in this division.

I'm Twice The Delight received the high point trophy for the Pro/ Am division. Mary Touchton and Larry Edwards were the exhibitors for the 2003 season. Taking reserve honors was Skipped Coin, who was ridden by Billy Cannon and Bill Cantrell.

Cash N Carry Little Girl, owned by Danny Rylee and trained by Ken Moore, received the high point award for the Two-Year-Old Amateur division. Carl Edwards and Sons' entry Fog At The Ritz, directed by Paige Edwards, took the reserve honors. Walking Crazy, owned by Frank Shelton and trained by Bill Cantrell, claimed top honors in the Two-Year-Old Open division. Linda Roys' Santana's Jubilee claimed reserve. This entry is also trained by Bill Cantrell.

Three-Year-Old Amateur High Point Award winner was Hard Mountain Cash, proudly owned and ridden by Jane Meredith. Receiving reserve honors was Stock In The Ritz, owned and exhibited by Kathy Hollin. Ain't She A Trip took home the high point award in the Three-Year-Old Open division, ridden by Carl Bledsoe and owned by Larry and Yvette Studdard. Reserve honors went to Hi Yo Silver, ridden by Carl Bledsoe and owned by Terri Smith, and My Super Star, ridden by Larry Edwards and owned by Herb Murrath.

Bobby and Linda Mixons' A Special Ultra Copy claimed the trophy in the Four-Year-Old Amateur division. A Special Ultra Copy is trained by Larry Edwards. Busted Affair, owned and ridden by Lisa McMahan and trained by Bill Cantrell received reserve.

The Golden Sovereign, owned by the Dan McSwain family took the award for the Four-Year-Old Open with The Man in Charge, owned by Dr. and Mrs. WH Hill, taking the reserve. Both of these talented horses are trained by Larry Edwards.

The 15.2 and Under High Point Award winner was UC I'm Ultra Gold. This winner is owned by Cantrell and Warr and is directed by Bill Cantrell.

He's Payback, owned by Ronnie and Barbara Newton and exhibited by Ron Green, claimed the trophy in the Open Specialty. Taking home reserve honors was Sky Master, ridden by Bill Cantrell and owned by Rickey Key.

The winning Stake Horse of the Year was ET's Secret, also ridden by Ron Green and owned by Ronnie and Barbara Newton. I'm Twice The Delight, owned by Lloyd and Mary Touchton and ridden by Larry Edwards, was honored with reserve.

The winner of 2003's Billie Pittman Memorial was Barbara Newton.

Over all high point awards were as follows: Park Pleasure Juvenile of the Year Porshea Smith and reserve Jenna Morris; Park Pleasure Amateur Exhibitor of the Year Karen Smith and reserve Henry Findley; Park Pleasure Trainer of the Year Chris Kelley and reserve Colonel Paul Walker; Park Pleasure Horse of the Year Eavesdrop and reserve Generator' Destroyer; Juvenile Exhibitor of the Year Maisie McSwain and reserve Katelyn Fuller; Amateur Exhibitor of the Year Barbara Newton and reserve Guy Ben Findley; Performance Horse Trainer of the Year Larry Edwards and reserve Bill Cantrell; Performance Horse of the Year Gen's Master Blaster and reserve A Special Ultra Copy.