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Masters of the Trainers’ Show

Saturday Night


by Sara Engel


                SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. - The final night of the National Trainers’ Show offered something for every horse enthusiast, from viewing world championship horses in competition to having the exceptional treat of watching our current world grand champions in motion.

Saturday night’s opening ceremonies began just like the prior nights by welcoming a trainer with the American flag and their child with the Trainers’ Association flag. Once again bringing out the flags was the mother/son duo of Laurie Toone and Hunter Morgan.  Toone directed Red Sunday’s Best while Morgan directed Princess Speed around the track.

The first class of the night was the WHTA Riders’ Cup 15.2 and Under Stallions. Six entries made the gate call and this class was not short on talent. Spectators enjoyed the famous “rocking chair” canter for the first class of the evening. Link Webb guided Santana’s El Nino around the big oval where presenters with the awards and photographer Shane Shiflet waited to crown the champion. Michael and Ann Jones own the talented entry. The crowd approved of the reserve winner in the class as well. The Outlaw and The Legend received a round of applause as they rode to the red ribbon for owner Carol Ann McLaughlin.

For the WHTA Riders Cup Two-Year-Old Stallion class, eight eager youngsters ring made their way to the arena, many for the first time. With a unanimous decision from the judging panel, Roll The Gold was guided by Chad Williams to the winner’s circle for the second time this show. Roll The Gold’s first trip down victory lane was with owner Spud Warr from Phenix City, Ala., in the irons. Also receiving a unanimous decision from the judges was the pair of Bill Callaway and Encore’s Bullet for the reserve tie.  Bill Hill of Knoxville, Tenn., owns this top entry.

Again on the agenda for the evening were a few exhibitions by reigning world grand champions.  The first to enter the ring to entertain the crowd was current Youth 12-17 Mare and Gelding World Grand Champions, Prism Sky and MaryBeth Blessing.  After making flawless work of both ways of the ring, MaryBeth pulled Prism Sky into center ring for a dedication.  Prism Sky is prepared under the Knox Blackburn Stables banner.

John FK’s Diamond Delight and Dalia Smith of Manchester, Ky., made an outstanding ride to capture the Juvenile Specialty Championship for the second consecutive year in a row. This outstanding team was crowned Youth 15-17 Mares and Geldings World Champion and Reserve Youth 12-17 World Grand Champion at this past year’s Celebration. Reserve in the class went to the world championship team of Armed To Show and Maisie McSwain for the Dan McSwain family of Alpharetta, Ga.

Another world champion entered the ring to wow the crowd.  This time it was the pair of Alex Bumpus and her equine partner Dangerously Unique.  This pair worked both ways of the rings displaying excellent equitation form.  Earlier this week, this duo claimed the Auxiliary Equitation Youth 12-17 title.

In the Plantation Pleasure Lite-Shod Open Championship, the judges asked for Calvin Klein’s Obsession and Jeff Givens to come to the winner’s circle and accept another blue ribbon of the Trainers’ Show, this time though, they also received the floral horse shoe. If this show and their flawless resume so far this year is any indication of what their year is going to shape into, look out. Calvin Klein’s Obsession is owned by Donald Knight of Murfreesboro, Tenn. The reserve championship honors went to last year’s champion and current world champion Pusher’s Beaming Pride with trainer Howard Hamilton in the irons for owners Jim and Debbie Nichols of New Market, Tenn.

The third entry to exhibit their talents in the ring truly needs no introduction.  Reigning World Grand Champion Main Power and Joe Cotten performed flawlessly to the crowd’s delight.  Main Power has recently been standing at stud at Summit Stallion at Sand Creek Farm in Shelbyville, Tenn.

In the WHTA Riders’ Cup Three-Year-Old Classic, the crowd was wowed by Sam Martin’s performance with The Indy 500. Martin led the winner to his victory pass for owner Gus King of Arab, Ala. It was The Indy 500’s debut performance. Out of the eight entry class, Six Man and Chad Williams were called out of the lineup to accept the reserve honors for Dr. George Wright of Mt. Juliet, Tenn.

Sixteen talented horses made the gate call for the Trail Pleasure Amateur Specialty Championship class.  The competition in this class was steep. It included world champions and reserve world champions. Reigning world grand champions Bluegrass Bandit and Jared Carrier stepped from the lineup to claim the floral horseshoe for the Chip Carrier family of Franklin, Ky.  Second place honors went to Charlie Howard and Summer Wishes for James, James and Howard of Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Up next were seven talented horses with their young riders in the Youth Walking Ponies class. Score Card and Samantha Green emerged victoriously for the second year in a row. Samantha Green of Columbia and Nashville, Tenn., owns this top contender. The reserve champions in the class, A Sweeping Fire and Dalia Smith, graciously accepted the red streamer.  A Sweeping Fire is owned by Calvin Hacker of Manchester, Ky.

To take another break from the competition, a special tribute along with an exhibition were next on the agenda.  Russ Thompson directed the multi-titled mount of the late Susan Gordon, A Specialist, around the ring.  Announcer Mark Farrar read a beautiful tribute to well-known and missed equestrian Susan Gordon.  The crowd responded with a heart-felt standing ovation as Thompson made his way around the ring.

Opal Moody of Batesville, Ark., own the entry that claimed the unanimous decision from all five judges in the WHTA Riders’ Cup Four-Year-Old Stallions. These first year “canterees” were fluid in the rocking chair gait. The crowd showed they were behind the judge’s decision by hooting and hollering for champion Jackie McConnell and Star. The duo humbly accepted the top honors in the class. Reserve in the class was another crowd favorite; Another RPM with Chad Williams in the irons, who put on a good show for Larry Grissom of Chattanooga, Tenn.

Four world championship quality entries made their way to the ring for the Open Amateur Championship. Retro and owner Larry Davis of Charlottesville, Va., and Shelbyville, Tenn., were called from the lineup to receive the top honors and floral horseshoe. Reserve in the class was awarded to multi-champion Watch For Glory with Erica Derickson in the irons for Erica and Maria Derickson of Wartrace, Tenn.

For the Amateur Specialty Championship, seven were listed in the program with all seven making the gate call. Pushin That Jazz and Laura Brandon made the winning ride for Wallace and Laura Brandon of Franklin, Tenn.  This is the second time this show that this duo was awarded the top honors. Sky Jam and Suzanne Little also had an apparent fan club as they rode to the opposite side of the arena to claim their reserve honors for Bud Moore and Suzanne Littell of Catherine, Ala.

After the Amateur Specialty Championship was the Year In Walking Horse dedication presentations that were made by Christy Howard-Parsons and Jennifer Howard-Connelly. Saturday night’s honorees were Marcia Allison, Bob and Mary Medina, Allan Callaway and Jamie Bradshaw for Jose’s Intimidator.

The well-respected Francis C. Gentry Ladies Specialty class was next to enter the ring. Texas Joe Black and Kathy Zeis made their first win of the season blue. The Steve Zeis family of Douglasville, Ga., owns this top entry. Kay Green guided More Of The Major to a stellar performance for the reserve honors for Dr. and Mrs. Jim Green of Meridian, Miss.

It was then time for the pleasure horses to shine once more in the Park Pleasure Open Specialty Championship. Four talented entries made the gate call. World grand champion, Jazz All Night and Doug Barnes made another ride for the roses resulting in success for Bob Lawrence of Thomasville, Ga. Santana’s Coin and Joe Cotten also put on a great show for the Ed Andercheck family of Franklin, Tenn.

In the Show Pleasure Championship class, six entries made the gate call. The team of The Lieutenant Colonel and Jeff Green made the audience and judging panel stand at attention and notice.  This pair was awarded with the blue ribbon and floral horseshoe for Lou Anne Jennings of Erin, Tenn. Reserve in the class was current world champion San Juan with trainer Joe Cotten in the irons for Mr. and Mrs. Eric Lackey of High Point, N.C.

Next it was time for the final event of the night, the WHTA Riders’ Cup Walking Horse Stake. The five talented entries were guided into the arena one by one with the lights off and the spotlight on. After ending their season in 2005 as the Delta Fall Classic Tapes and Technical Solutions WHTA Riders’ Cup Four-Year-Old Mare and Gelding Champion, Master Of Jazz and Jimmy McConnell came out in blue ribbon form for owners Lee Wall and Mike McGartland of Jackson, Miss. The reserve championship ribbon was awarded to Freedom Fighter with Charlie Green in the irons for owners Rustee and Dennis Shoffner of Russiaville, Ind. The Golden Sovereign and Joe Cotten rounded out the top three in the class for the Dan McSwain family of Alpharetta, Ga.

For the past two years the Trainers Show has predicted the World Grand Champion with its choice for trainers’ show grand champion. Could that be the case this year?

Be sure to visit our web site at to checkout the High Point Report now that the Trainers’ Show has come to an end.

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