by Andrea Patterson
Posted February 13, 2002
BOLIVAR, MO - The Midwest Walking Horse Trainers’ Association held its 2001 Awards Banquet on January 26, 2002. For the second consecutive year, this banquet was held at the Silo Ridge Country Club in Bolivar, Missouri. The 60s-degree weather was the ultimate complement to a scrumptious buffet dinner and the pleasure of great company among friends.

Prior to the banquet and awards ceremony, 2001 President Don Bills conducted the business meeting, with the election of new officers first on the agenda. Jim Huffman was elected the 2002 MWHTA President, Mike Maack was elected Vice-President, and Carol Middleton was reelected Secretary/Treasurer. Three new Board of Directors members were nominated and elected to fill vacancies. The Board is now comprised of Floyd Posenke, Jim Hill, George Craig, Tom Burton, Jerry Manes, and Don Bills. Special recognition was given by Carol Middleton and Don Bills to several of the people that perform a lot of the work behind the scenes and who enable our shows and our organization to run more smoothly and efficiently.

The winners were members of this organization with the most points accumulated in their division, and Supreme Champions were winners of 10 or more blue ribbons during the show season. Ballots were distributed to trainer and associate members to vote upon Trainer of the Year and Best One-Night Show of 2001 among the MWHTA-affiliated shows. Horse of the Year was voted upon only by trainers.

The evening of festivities was certainly celebrated by one gentleman in particular. Jim Huffman had a banner night, collecting several awards and the election of 2002 MWHTA President. But the smiles were perhaps the greatest when Jim was also elected as 2001 Trainer of the Year, and Thorncrest’s Cat-Man-Do was voted Horse of the Year, which is under his training. Best One-Night Show of 2001 was the Laclede County Saddle Club Horse Show held in Lebanon, Missouri.

The hard-working attitude of the Jim Huffman Family earned them other awards, as well. Hydro Generator, a family-owned horse, earned Two-Year-Old and Two-Year-Old Amateur Horse of the Year, as well as winning a Supreme Champion award. Thorncrest’s Cat-Man-Do was the Three-Year-Old Amateur Horse of the Year and Supreme Champion for owners Ron Boyer and Karen McKinnis. Zahn Morrison and President’s Moondancer rounded off this stable’s successful evening by winning the Juvenile 11 & Under Horse of the Year.

Mary Lee Campbell’s family enjoyed their consistent and hard-earned winnings with five awards. The team of Bradley Nichols and Coin’s Smooth Operator topped their great year with Juvenile 12-17 and Juvenile Specialty Horse of the Year. Glenda Nichols and Dixie Jubilee were the recipients of Amateur Specialty Horse of the Year and Supreme Champion. Eclectic was the Amateur Horse of the Year, frequently exhibited by Brian Nichols.

Don Bills Stables netted three year-end awards. The first of the evening was Skyman as Three-Year-Old Horse of the Year, owned by Lin Davis. Distinguished Pride was the 15.2 & Under Horse of the Year, exhibited and owned by JoAnn LeNeve. The time was right that Darlene Swaringim and Mark the Time collected the award for Show Pleasure Horse of the Year. Hickman Stables received three awards. Spirit & Silver was Open Horse of the Year, as well as a Supreme Champion, for owners Dr. Lynn and Linda Bridwell. Fifty and Over Amateur Specialty Horse of the Year was The Major Gator, owned by Pam Witthofft.

The Paul Patterson Family found success with The Master Copy, first winning Plantation Three-Gait Horse of the Year and then a Supreme Champion designation. Look At You also won Supreme Champion in the lite-shod division.

Tom Burton Stables had two winning horses at this banquet. Main Performance was Trainers’ Family Class Horse of the Year for owner Geri Burton. Jill Wait picked up a Supreme Champion award for her many blues in the amateur division aboard Stormy’s Applejack.

Under the direction of Jerry Manes Stables, Show Me The Money was the Four-Year-Old Amateur Horse of the Year for owner Jerra Williams. My Horse Showtime received a Supreme Champion award for owners Rosalie Jones and Marvelene Kusewitt for its blues in the plantation and lite-shod divisions.

Plantation Two-Gait Horse of the Year was again won by Gypsy Lane Dusty Maid for Steven and Karen Skopec. “Gypsy” also won a Supreme Champion award.

Three times a charm, Pride’s Lucky Break was the Lite-Shod Plantation Horse of the Year and Supreme Champion for the third consecutive year for Bill and Shirley Lotridge.

Caretaker’s Image was also a Supreme Champion for the Jim King Family.

At the conclusion of the evening, the proceeds from the MWHTA 31st Annual Charity Show, which was held September 20-22, 2001, in Springfield, Missouri, were presented to Jennifer Condren on behalf of the Deconess Healthcare. Jim Huffman appropriately closed the evening by saying, “From all of the trainers, we thank our customers most of all. It was a great year last year. By working together, we can make 2002 even better.”