By Elizabeth Miller

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. - The third annual Great Strides Charity Walking Horse Show was held Saturday, July 12, 2003, at the Bedford County Ag Center. Benefiting the Great Strides Therapeutic Riding Program for the handicapped, the event hosted 187 exceptional entries in 29 classes. After a highly successful show, plans are already being made for next year’s event.

The honorable A. P. “Sonny” Holt had the task of judging each of the entries. The always enjoyable Connie Dunlap entertained the spectators and exhibitors with her familiar organ music. Bobby Sands was present behind the microphone in his role as announcer and Jack Greene was behind the camera in center ring as the official photographer.

Nine championship entries answered the gate call in the final class of the evening. The Bud Dunn Memorial Walking Horse Stake was held in memory of one of the finest horsemen our industry has ever known and both the number and quality of entries were certainly a tribute to a great gentleman.

A former world champion in the amateur division, Pushover & Lookout scored the stake victory under the expert direction of Buddy Dick. The impressive black stallion is owned by Don and Lucky Collins and is a frequent winner in the amateur division with Lucky Collins aboard. Reserve honors were awarded to Spirit’s Midnight Rider and Ramsey Bullington. The Anne Williamson family proudly owns the entry. The third place award went to Generator’s Double Coin and Jamie Bradshaw for owners Randall and Martha Fergusson.

Finish Line Farms was responsible for four blue ribbon winners at the Great Strides show. In addition to Pushover & Lookout, three amateur wins were recorded by Handover The Cash, Chromium and Master’s Gunsmoke.

Sue Irby was thrilled to win her first and second blue ribbons in Tennessee on Saturday night. She directed Handover The Cash into the winner’s circle following the Amateur Four-Year-Old Mares and Geldings class. Her second victory pass came with Chromium in the Amateur Two-Year-Old Mares and Geldings division. Irby is the proud owner of both champions.

Reigning Fine Harness World Champion Master’s Gunsmoke made his 2003 debut a blue ribbon affair in the 15.2 and Under Amateur class with Taylor Broderick in the irons. The flashy gray competitor is owned by the David Broderick family. This was the first show ring appearance for Master’s Gunsmoke since his Celebration victory with the late Sam Caldwell.

Brothers John Allan and Bill Callaway both enjoyed a blue ribbon ride at Great Strides. Bill earned top honors with First Watch in the Two-Year-Old Mares and Geldings class. This handsome gelding is owned by Don Pratt. John Allan directed Pride Of Ritz to victory in the Open Four-Year-Old division. LaRue McWaters is the proud owner.

Dick Peebles Stables also earned dual blues. Robin MacDonald rode Dollar’s Crimson Delight to blue ribbon honors in the Amateur Three-Year-Old Mares and Geldings class. Bruce and Robin MacDonald share ownership of the sorrel competitor. Peebles rode into victory lane at the conclusion of the Three-Year-Old Stallions class with Armed To Score. The talented colt is owned by Janice and Buddy Glasscock.

Horses owned by Toby Scarbrough’s Meadowbrook Farms were also the recipients of two Great Strides blues. Scarbrough presented Motown Motion to win the Open Amateur division. Steve Dunn and Simply Dangerous were the winners in the Open Specialty class. With 17 talented competitors competing for top honors, the Open Specialty class was the largest class of the evening.

Horses stabled at Blue Ribbon Stables took home two blues. Miles Irby rode Ultra Edge to the top honors in the Plantation Pleasure Lite-Shod Specialty class. This consistent winner is owned by Bob Lawrence and Becky Barnes. Dinero and Jeff Byrom walked away with the blue ribbon in the Western Plantation Pleasure Specialty for owner Wayne Hall.

Five Way Farms also presented two blue ribbon winners. Move Over and Thad Way were the Walking Pony class champions. Carolyn Rutner is the delighted owner. Moments Of Jazz continued his winning streak in the Amateur Three-Year-Old Stallions class. Lynn Womack was in the irons for owner Doyce Lawrence.

Once again, Nathan Mills walked away with dual blues in halter competition. He led Rock Of Ages to victory in the Open Weanling class and presented Encore’s Magic Lady to top acclaim in the Yearling Fillies division. Proud grandparents Hoyte and Jane Eakes own the talented youngsters.

In the second largest class of the evening, 12 top entries competed for blue ribbon honors in the Ladies Amateur Mares and Geldings event. Pusher’s Delightful Star and Meg Chiappari were the judge’s choice in the good class. The Mike Chiappari family owns the champion mare and she is under the training direction of Joe Martin Stables.

Royal & Famous walked straight into victory lane in the Amateur Two-Year-Old Stallions class. Owner Debbie Marbry made the good ride under the guidance of husband and trainer Chester Marbry. In the Amateur Specialty class the winning combination of Push Me Bold and Donald Stephens earned another title. The handsome gray stallion is owned by Donald and Gladys Stephens and is under the direction of Joe Fleming Stables.

Kayla Berg made the trip from Missouri to claim top honors in the Juvenile 12-17 Mares and Geldings class. Her award winning mount Mark’s Sweet Dream is owned by Dr. and Mrs. David Berg and is trained by Josh Taylor. Mama Rose earned blue ribbon honors in the Three-Year-Old Mares and Geldings class. The outstanding filly was ridden by Mike Hilley for owner Patty Marek.

2001 Two-Year-Old Amateur World Grand Champion I’m Willie Wonka made another terrific show to capture the top award in the Amateur Four-Year-Old Stallion class. The elegant Janice Fostek made the winning ride for Joe and Janice Fostek. The black stallion is prepared by Sammy Day Stables.

Ray Solley and The Rising Sun increased their 2003 blue ribbon tally with a win in the Park Pleasure Open Specialty class. Solley owns the entry and Glen Crowe of Fairview Stables handles the training duties. In the Two-Year-Old Stallions class, Willie Be Strokin made an impressive show to claim blue ribbon honors. The talented colt was ridden by trainer Bobby Hugh for owners Randall and Gloria Dixon and Brenda Bramlett.

Copy’s Turbo and Robert Nelms walked into the winner’s circle following the Yearling Colts class. The top competitor is proudly owned by J. T. and Martha Nelms. Collector’s Mindy and Amy Ann McCormick followed up their recent Money Tree Classic victory with another win in the Juvenile 11 and Under class. McCormick owns her outstanding mare and proud father Mike McCormick prepares her for the show ring.

Freak Design and Dru McCormick earned blue ribbon acclaim in the WHT Auxiliary division. The Jim Olsen family owns the entry and Mickey McCormick Stables is responsible for his training. In the Amateur Show Pleasure Specialty class, Pusher’s Twilight and Holly Branam were the judge’s choice for top honors. Branam owns the bay beauty and Belle Meadow Farm’s expert helps them gain access to the winner’s circle.

Familiar winners Friday Night Mercedes and Connie Waldo earned another blue ribbon at Great Strides. They were the winners in the Country Pleasure class. This highlights the third annual Great Strides Charity Walking Horse Show.