HARRIMAN, Tenn. - On May 17th and 18th the Eighteenth Annual Smoky Mountain Classic was held in Harriman, Tennessee at the Roane State Agriculture Pavilion. The show was held to benefit this year’s Dream Connection child, Tora Phillips. Tora is the six year old daughter of Shane and Rebecca Phillips. Tora and her family will be going to Disney World compliments of the Smoky Mountain Walking Horse Association. The Association would like to thank everyone who attended and helped make this trip a reality for the Phillips.

Forrest Lee with East Tennessee Tack, added to the fund raising efforts by donating a new western saddle. Tickets were sold at the show and Tora Phillips drew the lucky winner's name from the box. The saddle was presented to Mr. Oldham of Rockwood, Tenn.

Judging this 46 class event was Paul Watlington of McMinnville, Tn. Gary Brewington handled the announcer’s duties as Jo Simerly entertained on the organ. Sandra Hall captured the action on film.

As show-time neared the parking area filled with horse trailers, lots of horses, fans and exhibitors. By the time the show was about to get underway, as news spread of the arrival of Michael Guedron, trainers were scratching entries resulting in a much smaller number of horses than usual. Even though the classes were not high in number they were high on quality.

Dr. Michael Guedron and Dr. Jody Kulpa were the United States Department of Agriculture representatives on hand to inspect entries with the Designated Qualified Persons, Jim Fields and Mark Thomas. Veterinary Medical Officer, Doris Hackworth was also on hand to help with the duties. On Friday evening there were four armed security personnel and three investigators. There were no violations of any kind on Friday, from either DQPs or VMOs.

"Saturday evening," stated Lonnie Messick, Director of Animal Welfare/DQP Services, " there were two armed security personnel present." He went on to say, " there was one pre-show violation, and one entry that was referred by the USDA for a post-show violation, and only one other post-show violation. There were no conflicts, this weekend, between the USDA officials and the DQPs. The overall atmosphere was friendly."

The show ended on Saturday evening with the Walking Horse Stake. Two nice entries made the call, when the card was marked Steve Hankins made the trip to the winner’s circle, for the floral horseshoe and tricolored ribbon, aboard Gen’s Triple Pride for Kenny Compton. Finishing reserve in the class was Dana Kyte and Picture Perfect; Kyte owns and trains the entry.

One of the most talked about classes of the show had to be the East Tennessee Walking Horse Assc. Members Only, Specialty. Eleven ladies, determined to make the best of the situation, entered the ring on stick horses and rakes. Some even wore chains! They worked both directions of the ring and a lineup was called. These ladies had entered horses and opted not to show their four-legged stock. Judge Watlington marked the card and awarded each a blue. These ladies had their hearts in the right place as they returned their checks to the show.

Who got the blues? Tim Wheelon’s Willow Springs Farm collected the most blues at this year’s event with a total of seven. Carl Johnson’s Double N Stables brought back six blues for their efforts. Steve Hankins Stables was next in the tally with four, Paul Livingston Stables carried three home to Church Hill, Tenn. Harley Caldwell, Carlton House, Mike Janeway and Parks Farm each left with two blues to their credit.

Willow Spring's first victory pass came in the Park Pleasure Amateur Men’s Specialty with Jack Morgan and Skyline making the good performance. Morgan also owns the entry. Joanne Davis’ Fearless took home the blue in the Park Pleasure Two and Three-Year-Old class, with Tim Wheelon in the irons. Lindsey Cate was responsible for two trips to the winner’s circle. She rode Collector’s Mr. Twister to the blue in the Youth 12-17 Specialty and returned Saturday evening to carry out the top award in the Walking Pony, Youth Specialty, again aboard “Mr. Twister”. Her mount is owned by Nancy Cate. It was back to back blues for Ashlea Wheelon. She made two trips to center ring to claim the roses in the Amateur Show Pleasure Specialty and the Open Show Pleasure Specialty with Lucky Call for Carl and Lea Potter. Rounding out their count to seven was Leo Skelton and Bodacious Cash in the Three-Year-Old Amateur Stallions. Skelton owns the entry.

Carl Johnson’s Double N Stables started their winning streak in the Amateur Specialty Stallions as his daughter Natasha cashed in on the blue with Win A Lot Of Cash for Bob and Tonya Van Dyke. Carl Johnson returned in the Open Specialty Mares, Stallions and Geldings the next night and netted the blue aboard Win A Lot Of Cash. Valentino’s Favorite and Jerry Marise claimed the top spot in the Two-Year-Old Open Mares and Geldings for Carl Brown. In his debut performance, Armed & Dangerous Premier, under Carl Johnson’s direction, made the victory pass in the Two-Year-Old Open Stallions for Dr. Kemp Higgenbotham. Larry McLaughlin and 10-Tucky Blue Chip claimed back to back blues. McLaughlin and “Blue Chip” carried out the blue in the Amateur Three-Year-Old Mares and Geldings with Johnson returning to win the Three-Year-Old Open with “Blue Chip” on Saturday. Larry and Margaret McLaughlin own the entry. This brought their total to six.

Along with the victory in the Walking Horse Stake, Steve Hankins Stables carried three additional blues back to Tazewell, Virginia. What a way to start and end their trip to the Smoky Mountains, with Lindsey Hess carrying home the blue in the first class and Hankins the Stake class tricolor! Lindsey rode her horse, They Call Me Doc to the winner’s circle in the Youth 11 and Under class. Connie Hess, came back in the Amateur Novice Rider Specialty on They Call Me Doc the next night to bring the total for this nice mount to two blues. Push In Command earned the top spot as Hankins made the good ride in the Three-Year-Old Stallions, for Valley Express.

Paul Livingston Stables was next in the blue ribbon tally, claiming a total of three. Owner/amateur, Jennifer Brown, no stranger to the winner's circle, and Pride's Gold Millennium added another blue to their resume' in the Four-Year-Old Amateur Stallions. Livingston shared the glory in the Pro-Am Specialty, as he had Kathryn Ramsbottom make the victory pass aboard Extra Ordinary for Bob and Linda Ramsbottom. In their debut performance, it was Fame's Royal Rascal and owner, Jennifer Brown, claiming top honors in the Two-Year-Old Amateur Stallions.

Claiming two blues each were; Harley Caldwell, Carlton House, Mike Janeway and Parks Farm. Tim Brooke's Opportunity, obtained two Smoky Mountain Classic blues. The first one came as Harley Caldwell directed him to the winner's circle in the Mares and Geldings Open Specialty for the Fisher family. Lori Caldwell returned to carry out the blue in the 15.2 and Under Amateur Specialty aboard "Tim Brookes".

Under the Carlton House Stables direction, Matthew McNabb and Pushover The Rail took the top position in the Amateur Mares and Geldings Specialty. Mr. and Mrs. Martin McNabb are the proud owners of this entry. Affirmative and Ron Lawrence received the go-ahead to make their way to the winner's circle in the 50 Years and Over Specialty for Mr. and Mrs. Ron Lawrence.

Mike Janeway, showing for C.L. Kline Farms, earned the first of their two blues with Mr. Sandman in the Walking Weanlings. James Wedal, along with his young mount, The New Comer, ranked the blue in the Park Pleasure Youth Specialty for Kline Farms.

The Parks Farm entry, Generated Gold, with Newton Parks in the irons brought two blues home. The first blue came in the 15.2 and Under Amateur Specialty, and Saturday night returned for the win in the Amateur Owned and Trained Specialty.

The remainder of the blues were singled out between; Bruce Almeida, Lori Coleman, Rick Davidson, Sam Hartsell, J-Walking Stables, Dana Kyte, Larry Proffitt, Saddle Brook Stables and Marshall Tinch.