by Debbie Graham
The twenty-secod Gum Tree Classic Horse Show was held on October 27, 2001 at the Lee County Agri-Center in Verona, Mississippi. The ltrusa International of Tupelo, Mississippi sponsors the fundraiser that benefits several of the club’s projects. Proceeds are donated to Faith Haven, a temporary emergency shelter for children who have been severely neglected or abused and also a Senior Citizens Program the club sponsors that adopts nursing home patients who have no families. College scholarships are provided to students, and funds are given to The Regional Rehabilitation Cener as well as the Free Clinic located in the area.

Weather forecasters issued a freeze warning for the area the night of the event. Despite the cold weather, traines, exhibitors, and fans packed the showgrounds to attend the Gum Tree Classic. The show was honored in 2000 with the Show Of The Year in Mississippi. This year’s edition was a double point show for the Mississippi Association.

Robin Edwards judged the thirty-one walking and racking classes that drew a total of 292 entries. Perry Thomas served as master of ceremonies. Mike Farley handled the duties of ringmaster. Diane Beaver provided entertainment of the keyboard.

Seven weanlings answered the gate call in the first halter class of the evening. The talented young entry, Duck’s Bad News and Ann Forrester claimed top honors. Cindy Power won the Yearling class with handler Marilyn Scott at the lead for Harlan and Ann Hatcher.

Whitter Stables entries led the blue ribbon tally with a total of seven at the show. The first of these came in the Juvenile 11 and Under class. The popular team of Flashy Cash and Lindsey Wall made the familiar ride to the winner’s circle. Jackie McConnell rode William Faulkner to the blue in the Two-Year-Old Stallion class for John and Meg Faulkner Duchaine.

In a large field of Three-Year-Old Amateur Mare & Gelding contenders, Pushin’ That Jazz and Sarah Dunn earned a well-deserved blue. Mike Hilley readies this team for competition. Gen’s Impressive Lady and Carol Shelton added another victory to their 2001 list of accomplishments in the Ladies Amateur Specialty class. Double Shot Of Gen and Bobby Barclay were named Amateur Show Pleasure Specialty champions.

Wade Crum collected the first of three blues awarded to Circle C Stables. Extra’s Bad Boy continued his winning season with an outstanding performance in the Four-Year-Old Open Specialty class. Bill and Rhonda Moore own the entry.

Southern Serenity Ranch received five Gum Tree Classic titles. Howard Hamilton walked away with the first in the Two-Year-Old Mare and Gelding class aboard All Colors Copy for owners, Harbert and Nora Alexander.

Gen’s Crushed Ice and Malcolm Mason won the Plantation Pleasure Lite-Shod Specialty class. Pushover’s Titan and Wilsene Moody were the proud recipients of the blue ribbon in the Three-Year-Old Amateur Stallion class. Wilsene took home a second blue in the 15.2 and Under Amateur Specialty class riding Blues.

The Juvenile 12-17 Specialty class was led by Just So You’ll Know and Tyler Herndon in the irons for Bill Williams. Tyler won his second blue with Hytone’s Buster Brown in the Juvenile Pony division. Woods Stables prepares these contenders.

Amid a large field of fifteen Amateur Owned and Trained contenders, Mark’s Gypsy and Eric Brigman made the victory pass.

Entries owned by Dr. and Mrs. Rosser Wall claimed two Gum Tree Classic titles. Lee Rikard and The Summit caught the judge’s attention in the Four-Year-Old Amateur Stallion class while I’m Armed and Lethal topped the Three-Year-Old Open class with Brad Davis.

Pam Russell, exhibiting with a broken foot following a recent accident, was thrilled to win the Four-Year-Old Amateur Mare and Gelding class riding I’m Hammerin’ Hank.

Verner Smith won his first of two blues at the show in the Amateur Specialty class aboard The Score Is Tied. He returned to take the Two-Year-Old Amateur Mare & Gelding title riding Up In The Sky.

Royal’s China Doll and Debbie Nichols were crowned Park Pleasure Specialty champions. At the top of the judge’s card in the Two-Year-Old Amaeur Stallion class was Dark Express and Jack Littrell for David and Katie Ridgeway. In the Country Pleasure class, Olympic Angel and Jenna Hamilton were winners for Marilyn Staley Friedman. Billy Crockett rode Pusher’s Bustin Time to claim the blue ribbon in the Spotted Saddle Horse Specialty class for Wayne Crockett. Pushover’s Elvis carried Wade Crum to the winner’s circle in the 15.2 and Under Open class for Brad East. Bringing the show to a close was the Walking Horse Stake class. Wade Crum was awarded the Gum Tree Classic tricolor for The East Family.

An exhibitors party was held following the show with lots of delicious food for horse show participants.