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Highway Willie Roars Past The Competition At Laurel

LAUREL, Miss. - Kicking off the 2003 show season in Mississippi, the 13th annual South Jones FFA Walking and Racking Horse Show was held Saturday, March 8. The spacious Magnolia Center at the Laurel Fairgrounds housed the 30 class event. Show Manager Bobby Brakefield was pleased with the turnout at this year’s show, but he said, “The show committee is strongly considering moving to the first weekend in April for the 2004 show. If the decision is made to change dates, the new dates will become permanent to avoid conflict with other shows in the area.”

John Fikes of Hamilton, Ala. assumed the responsibility of judging the 128 walking and racking entries. Perry Thomas of Tupelo, Miss. handled the job of announcing the show while horse show organist John McDonald of Collinsville, Miss. entertained both the spectators and exhibitors with his music. Jack Greene made the trip from Christiana, Tenn. to capture the event with his digital camera.

Leading the blue ribbon count was the team from Holley Stables in Byhalia, Miss. Led by trainers James Abernathy and Tim Hicks, they captured five impressive early season blues including the Walking Horse Stake Title. Abernathy directed Highway Willie to that honor for proud owner Larry Rea of Houston, Miss. Earlier in the evening, Abernathy had the privilege of carrying our nation’s flag during the opening ceremonies aboard this talented sorrel stallion.

Making her first ever show on a Tennessee Walking Horse, Carrie Alice was delighted to hear her name called as the winner of the Four-Year-Old Amateur Mares and Geldings class. She piloted the Larry Rea owned entry, Generator’s Polished Brass, to this title. In 15.2 and under amateur ranks, Danna Shirley and her former world champion, Mark’s Motion Man, claimed the victory.

The two-year-old amateur team of Robert Redford and Jenny Bailey Jones followed up their Starkville win on Friday night with a second blue ribbon in Laurel for Frank Bailey of Kosciusko, Miss. Rounding out the Holley Stables winners were Two-Year-Old Open Walking champions, Primed By Design and James Abernathy, for Cathy Smith of Southhaven, Miss.

Horses trained by Dale Watts of Summit, Miss. were responsible for claiming four blues in Laurel. Current TWHBEA President Robert Thomas was delighted with his amateur specialty win aboard Delight’s Gold Bum, and wife, Margaret, earned another trophy with Strong Armed in the Ladies Amateur Specialty event.

In Youth 17 and Under action, Mary Elizabeth Morrison and The Lady’s Touch walked away with their first blue ribbon of the year for Morrison Stables of Hattiesburg, Miss. The other Watts trained Laurel champion was Plantation Pleasure Lite-Shod Amateur winner Precious Hallelujah with Judith Dial in the irons for John and Judith Dial of Parchman, Miss.

Five Way Farms of Tuscaloosa, Ala. took home two top prizes from Laurel. In an impressive debut performance, the new team of Jet Stream and Jack Way were the blue ribbon winners in the Open Three-Year-Old Walking class. This roan stallion sired by The Skywatch was recently purchased by Andrew J. Smithart, III of Tuscaloosa, Ala. from former owner Bob Kilgore. In Four-Year-Old Amateur Stallion competition, Coin’s Grace and Donna Holley collected the blue ribbon for Rick and Donna Holley of Tuscaloosa, Ala.

In racking competition, Paradise Stables of Grove Hill, Ala. scored three big wins. Michael Harrison directed Evil Ed to the racking stake title for Curtis Jordan of Frisco City, Ala. Another entry under the ownership of Curtis Jordan claimed blue ribbon success in Laurel. Generator’s Outbreak and Michael Harrison were the style racking champions. In the country pleasure division, Evil’s Ultra Action earned the blue with owner Sandra Odom of Silas, Ala.

Hal and Sophia Martin of Grenada, Miss. celebrated two wins with their horses in Laurel. First, Sunrise Threat topped the Open Park Pleasure Specialty class. A few classes later Secret Pushover made a trip to the winner’s circle in the Open Walking Specialty class. Hal Martin was in the irons on both occasions.

Also taking home two top awards were James and Debbie Gatwood of Sumrall, Miss. In the largest class of the evening, Pride’s Dark Wind was named the Amateur Show Pleasure Walking Specialty champion while Stock’s Night Star made the victory pass in the Amateur Park Pleasure Specialty division. James Gatwood made both winning rides.

Another dual blue ribbon winner was Swep Williamson of Hattiesburg, Miss. He earned blue ribbon acclaim in the Three-Year-Old Amateur Walking division with Dangerous Charisma as well as the Open Amateur Racking title with Blaze N Tusox.

The amateur owned and trained divisions featured some of the toughest competition of the night. In the walking horse class, Cash Master and David Warner were crowned victorious for David and Kenneth Warner of Prentiss, Miss. On the racking side, Magic On Fire was on top with Kenneth Miller of Milbry, Ala.

Other single blue ribbon winners included Gimme A Gen On The Rocks in the Colts Under Halter class. This nice youngster was handled by owner Jim Hardy of Brandon, Miss. She’s Gone AWOL along with owner Tommy McGinnis of Maben, Miss. were victorious in the Two and Three-Year-Old Racking division.

In other pleasure competition, Gray For A While and Milton Bryson claimed the Gaited Pleasure Class for James Black of Olive Branch, Miss. Callie Childs of Folsom, La. took home the blue ribbon in the Trail Pleasure Class with her horse, Sundrop Thunder.

This highlights the 13th annual South Jones FFA Walking and Racking Horse Show. Complete results follow and they can be seen, searched, and printed out from our permanent results data base on our web site at

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