By Linda Scrivner

ASHEVILLE, N.C. - The Land-O-The Sky Summer Festival Horse Show started off with an excellent show Thursday evening with 212 entries. The Land-O-The Sky Shrine Club members were thrilled and pleased that they would be able to contribute substantially to their charity for crippled children. Their motto is “Strong Legs Run So That Weak Legs May Walk.”

On Friday night, however, entries took a turn for the worse as USDA officials arrived, and many exhibitors chose not to show. On Saturday night, many stables had returned home but there were substantial numbers showing, giving a hint of what a great show it would have been. The horses that showed were of top quality and the large crowd enjoyed the excellent horses that were presented and was very vocal in their support of their favorites. The cheering for the thrilling grand championship entries was exceptionally loud.

This show always attracts contenders from North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and South Carolina, but this year there were also horses from Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Missouri.

Exhibitors from this show provided excellent horses and riders to be judged by Alvin Strickland of Edgefield, S.C.; Robert Kellet of Fountain Inn, S.C.; and Bill Carmichael of Mount Sterling, Ky. The three-day event was held July 8-10.

As the week progressed the intensity grew and the level of competition mounted. Everyone excitedly awaited for the championship stake. No one was disappointed when the horses entered. Seven entries entered one at a time as their adoring fans shouted cheers of encouragement. After the second running walk was called by the judges, the horses lined up and the judges turned in their cards. The towering, flax maned and tailed stallion, MG Above The Rest, was called to the winner’s circle for the second year in a row. Last year the talented stallion was shown by Shawn Abee and this year Allen Abee was in the irons. The applause showed the popularity of this golden stallion as he made the victory pass wearing the roses. The 2004 Land-O-The Sky Grand Champion is owned by Tom and Sissy Weese. Reserve in the championship was awarded to Pusher’s Backstreet Boy and Chad Baucom for Bonnie Davis. The third streamer was awarded to Pusher’s Force and John Puckett for Ashley Compton.

As the stake horses were in the line-up, announcer Gene Frye of Taylorsville, N.C., made a plea to the crowd. Frye said, “Too many things outside affects the ring inside. Talk to your congressman. We need to pull together. I’m for the Horse Protection Act, but this is ridiculous. A horse has shown twice and gone through government inspection twice and tonight this same horse can’t show because of the scar rule.” The crowd gave him a rousing ovation.

There were 52 walking classes, and 20 of these were unanimous ties. The blue-ribbon tally was won by Baucom Stables, just as it was in 2002 and 2003, winning nine Asheville blues. Johnny Puckett Stables and Link Webb Stables claimed five blues apiece. Four blues were won by Stacy Gunter of Larry Wheelon Stables and Helms Farms. Dual blues were awarded to Kistler Stables, Clay Mills and Steve Woody Stables. The remaining 23 blues were divided among the 23 other barns, all of which brought top stock.


When the gates opened for class one, 10 trail pleasure entries entered the ring. The first 2004 blue went to Master’s True Star and Julia Lovin. Second place went to Gen Desires Rewards and Vickie Hughes Grindstaff for Lawrence and Vickie Hughes Grindstaff.

Everyone knew it was going to be a great show when 18 entries answered the gate call in the Lite-Shod Plantation Amateur Specialty. Wired 440 and Mike Conley claimed the blue ribbon for Conley and Larkin from Conley Stables unanimously. Second place went to Burl Dale and his Jazz On Time. Jeff Atkins trains this team.

The Two-Year-Old Amateur Stallions were next to enter. Major League Threat carried Steve Mozeley around for a victory pass. Link Webb trains this stallion for owner Phil Havens. Reserve went to It’s Only A Game and Clay Mills from Baucom Stables.

The gate call was made for the Open Specialty, and the heat was on with 14 great entries. Tarheel Cash and Derick Bonner topped this class for Bob Rollins. The reserve champion was Cameo Cash and Chad Baucom for Rhonda Warren.

The 16-entry Three-Year-Old Mares and Geldings Amateur blue went to Bustin’s Baby Nay and Jerry Hewitt for Jerry and Vicky Hewitt from Baucom Stables. Pusher’s Lite Score MM and Vicki Hughes Grindstaff picked up the red streamer for Linda Wheelon and trainer Tommy Hall.

He Keeps On Giving, directed by Link Webb, topped the 10-entry 15.2 and Under Specialty class for LWB, LLC. Chad Baucom directed London Rain to reserve for Charles Clark.

In the 15-entry Performance Pleasure Amateur Specialty the crowd voiced their approval for their favorites with much applause. Petite Moon Lady, directed by Clay Mills for Emily Barnett, earned the blue. Reserve went to Masked Copy and Gordon Ezzell for Gordon and Angelyn Ezzell. Phillip Rowe is the trainer.

The Two-Year-Old Amateur Mare and Gelding teams were next. Selected for the blue were JFK’s Gray Misty and Kyle Rice. Baucom Stables trains JFK’s Gray Misty. Melanie Brooks and The White Mask from Brooks Stables earned the reserve position for Karen Bethel.

In the Open Amateur Specialty, Randy Dean and the always popular Spirit’s Macho Man wore the blue from the ring for Diane Givens. They hail from Bellwood Stables. The reserve team was Design’s Checkmate and Mike McBrayer from Baucom Stables.

One of the most talked about horses of the Thursday evening show was Evil Rebel and Chad Baucom. This talented horse won the 10-entry Four-Year-Old Stallion Specialty. Carolina Equine is the owner. Reserve went to Dumas Push-N-Perfection and Chris Pickel for Danny and Tracey Presley.

I’m Shania and Gordon Ezzell proudly claimed the Park Pleasure Amateur Specialty title over 21 other entries. Gordon and Angelyn Ezzell own I’m Shania. Regal’s Delight and Burl Dale claimed reserve for trainer Daniel Osborne.

One of the larger classes of the evening was the Show Pleasure Amateur Specialty with 17 entries. Winning the title in this large class was Fashion’s Midnight Threat and Daniel Potter. Last year mom Kathy Potter won this same class aboard Fashion’s Midnight Threat. Johnny Puckett Stables readies this team for competition. Willie-Bust and Celia Urguart won reserve for Wildwood Farms.

Fifteen top ponies created quite a stir in the Youth Walking Pony division. The team of Sure Threat’s Masterpiece and Samantha Gaddy had a large cheering section. The blue was awarded to this hard-riding team from Baucom Stables. The Sym Gaddy Family own this exciting stallion. Reserve went to Pusher’s Loose Cash and Brandon Derick for Bobby Silver. Stacy Gunter of Larry Wheelon Stables trains the entry.

The winning team in the ETWHA Ladies Auxiliary Member Specialty was Fantazmic Cash and Vicki Hughes Grindstaff for the Farrell Hughes family. Stacy Gunter readies this team for competition. My Bright Star and Yvonna Matthis won reserve for John Weihl and Yvonna Matthis under Baucom Stables’ banner.

A Red Ball Jet and Brandon Nelms for the Helms family were the ones selected in the Lite-Shod Youth Plantation Specialty both this year and last. Helms Farms is trainer. Wired 440 and Rusty Carlton claimed reserve for Mike Conley and Larkin Turner from Conley Stables.

Amanda Hankins directed Stormy Walks to the blue in the 16-entry Four-Year-Old Mare and Gelding Specialty for Gerald and Virginia Smith under the guidance of Steve Hankins Stables Inc. The chosen reserve team was Olympic’s Iceman and Scotty Brooks for Allen May.

Generator’s Power Punch and David Polk were chosen in the 10-entry Stallion and Gelding class for David and Dee Dee Polk. Selected for the red streamer were Swoosh and link Webb for Steve Mozeley.

The final class of the evening was the Three-Year-Old and Under Performance Pleasure class, which was won by You Can’t Stop Me and John Grainger for Denise Carter. Derek Monahan rode Eb’s Rebel Yell to reserve for Jim Fletcher.


Friday and Saturday evenings had walking and racking classes. The first class Friday was the Mares and Geldings Specialty. Danny Kistler was in the irons of the winning horse, Los Vegas chosen unanimously for Fred Croft. Kistler Stables is trainer.

The youth classes are always competitive at Asheville. Swoosh and Megan Mozeley laid claim to the blue in the Youth 12-14 Specialty class for Steve Mozeley and trainer Larry Webb of Webb Stables. Pushing The Limit and Madison Holloway won reserve. Baucom Stables prepares this team for the show ring.

Jose’s Switchblade and Link Webb added the Two-Year-Old Mare and Gelding title to their resume for Donnie and Charlotte Taylor. Reserve in the class were Chick-A-Dee and John Puckett for J.D. and Pat Baker.

Joseph Bartholomew rode Olympic’s Supergizer to a win in the Four-Year-Old Amateur Stallion class for Rick Bartholomew. Baucom Stables trains this team. The reserve team was Fame’s Royal Rascal and Jennifer Brown from Steve Hankins Stables.

My Bright Star and Yvonna Matthis were unanimous in the NCWHLA Members Specialty class for John Wheil and Yvonna Matthis. Baucom Stables readies this team for the ring.

A Major High and Jack Pirkle added the Men’s Amateur Specialty title for owner Anna Avrett from Allen Forman Stables. My Cadillac Jack and David Robbins claimed reserve.

Multi-champion The Star Of Sundance and Jack Morgan claimed reserve for Jack and Betty Morgan under trainer Paul Livingston. Freddy Patten presented the reserve team, Barcelona and Bitti Hodge for B.H. Hodge.

It was another exciting ride for Latitha Oran in the 15.2 and Under Amateur Specialty aboard Sensational Premier for the Melton Oran Family. Theirs was a unanimous win. Making the reserve ride were Extra Special Touch and Lynda Cook for Danny and Lynda

The Park Pleasure Youth 17 and Under Specialty teams were next. When the cards were tallied, it was Miss Silver Satin and Brandon Helms unanimously making the victory pass for owner the Helms family from Helms Farms. My My and Taylor Hendrick earned reserve for Susan Robinson from Kistler Stables.

Hailey Puchett and Bold Stroke’s Attraction claimed first in the Youth 11 and Under, Division A, unanimously from Puckett Stables. Kelsey Jenkins and Pusher’s Clown won reserve for owner Randy Jenkins and trainer Stacy Gunter.

The B Division winners were also selected unanimously. Codi Marie Wright directed her Senator’s Delight Of Pride to the blue. Late Night Score and Lauren Young picked up the reserve streamer for Billy Dumas.

The largest Friday night class was the 12-entry Lite-Shod Amateur Specialty. A Red Ball Jet and Brandon Helms made the victory ride from Helms Farms. Winning reserve were Wired 440 and Mike Conley for Turner and Conley.

The Ladies Amateur Specialty class was a large one, but two excellent teams put on a great show to stand above the rest. The Final Score and Crystal Letterman from Larry Wheelon Stables added another unanimous blue to their lengthy list for the Farrell Hughes family. Pusher’s Force and Holly Puckett were reserve for Ashley Compton from Puckett Stables. This class kept the crowd on the edge of their seats.

Extra Ebony and Clay Mills were the victors in the Amateur Owned and Trained Specialty class with unanimous ties following a superb performance. I’m Pushin Gen and Tom Kakassy won reserve for Tom and Rita Kakassy.

The Three-Year-Old amateur Stallion class was also an exciting one. Topping this class were the team of Pusher’s General and Megan Mozeley. Webb Stables trains this crowd favorite for Steve Mozeley. Clay Mills directed I’m Game to the reserve spot from Baucom Stables.

Splash Of Santana and Courtney Hicks won the Youth 15-17 Specialty class. Puckett Stables trains the team. Allen Hodge of Tim Wheelon Stables trains the reserve winners, Collector’s Mr. Twister and Caroline Elliot. Nancy Elliot owns Collector’s Mr. Twister.

It was a blue-ribbon rider for Push Don’t Pull and LeRoy Brown in the Amateur Specialty Riders, No Blue in 2003 class. Linda Ball owns this unanimous winner and he is trained by Chris Pickel. Ultra threat Charmer and Jerry Jester earned the reserve spot.

Sam McLaughlin claimed the blue in the Three-Year-Old Mare and Gelding class with She’s A bad Mama Jamma for Wildwood Farm. Tommy Hale claimed reserve.

The final class of the evening was the Park Pleasure Specialty. My My was directed by Danny Kistler to the victory pass for Susan Robinson. Great Godness Generator and Mary Ellen Wright claimed the red streamer.


On Saturday evening the competition got hotter as the excitement and the number of entries grew. Holly Puckett claimed the first blue in the Yearling class. She led Power Surge to the win from Puckett Stables for owner Beckie Hicks. Bold Power’s Carbon Girl and Paul Livingston earned reserve for Leon Miller.

The Open Show Pleasure Specialty was next. Fashion’s Midnight Threat won his second blue of the show in a repeat performance of their 2003 victory. John Puckett was in the irons for Daniel Potter. Picking up the reserve ribbon were Willie Bust and Sam McLaughlin for Bryon Urguhart.

One of the standouts of the show was the exciting team of Sweeping Up The Cash and Stacy Gunter. They claimed the Three-Year-Old Stallion class with a unanimous decision for owners Ashely Duncan and Linda Wheelon. Irristible Cash and Paul Livingston made a great ride for reserve for Mr. and Mrs. Charles McSpadden.

It was another unanimous tie in the Two-Year-Old Stallions class for the flashy It’s Only A Game and Chad Baucom for owner Clay Mills. Don’t Touch My Hat and Colin Ramsey won reserve for Doug and Margaret Ann Newton from Baucom Stables.

Eleven Plantation Pleasure Lite-Shod entries came next. A Red Ball Jet and Brandon Helms were selected unanimously to win for Helms Farms. Grandy Tuck directed Angela Tuck’s Thunder Grey to reserve.

In the ETWHA Members Specialty class, The Final Score and Crystal Letterman won unanimously for the Farrell Hughes family from Larry Wheelon Stables. Lizzie Borden and Jennifer May carried out the reserve ribbon for Jim Ed Stuart from Brooks Stables.

Cash’s Living Dream and Deborah Perry were selected unanimously in the Four-Year-Old Mare and Gelding class for David Perry. Becky May rode Olympic’s Iceman to reserve for Allen and Becky May from Brooks Stables.

Extra Ebony and Clay Mills won the blue unanimously in the NCWHA Members Only Specialty class. Design’s Checkmate and Mike McBrayer were reserve from Baucom Stables.

There was much cheering in the 14-entry Performance Pleasure Open class. Chosen for the blue were We Walk On Water and Joey Tackett for Tracie Shaw. Sam McLaughlin directed Bitz Of Ritz to reserve for Joel Davis.

The first championship was in the Youth division. Chosen unanimously for the second consecutive year to wear the roses was the team of Pushin’ The Limits and Madison Holloway from Baucom Stables. Swoosh and Megan Moseley from Webb Stables made a good ride to win reserve for Steve Mozeley.

Regal’s Delight Lady and Burl Dale captured the Park Pleasure Specialty Championship unanimously. They earned the tricolor for trainer Danielle Osborne. My My and Danny Kistler earned reserve for Susan Robinson from Kistler Stables.

The multi-titled team of Sensational Premier and Latitha Oran was the top team chosen unanimously in the 11-entry Amateur Specialty Championship. They exited with the roses for Steve Woody Stables.

“This is a dream come true. I’ve been second several times and I never thought it would happen,” Oran said.Tears of happiness streamed down her face as well as friend and fan Kim Derrick’s face. These are the special moments that make showing worthwhile. Fantazmic Cash and Vicki Hughes Grindstaff claimed reserve for the Farrell Hughes family and Larry Wheelon Stables.

A Major High and Jack Pirkle claimed the roses in the Amateur Championship for Anna Avrett from Allen Forman Stables. Pushover’s My Papa and Jennifer Gordon claimed reserve for Larry and Carol McLaughlin and Dick and Marilyn Gordon under the guidance of Baucom Stables.

Land-O-Sky Commentary

(Editor’s note: This is a statement issued by announcer Gene M. Frye of Taylorville, N.C.)

This year is an election year and we as members of the horse industry, more than ever before, should vote for people we have done enough research on to know they are candidates that we can talk to and be assured they will listen. If we don't UNITE as a group and stop the bickering and ill will between the different groups, we are going to see our industry as Show Horses put out of business.

The government takes our tax dollars and pays USDA inspectors to come to our shows and inspect our horses and a majority of the time the inspectors can't agree on what is a violation of the Horse Protection Act. The HPA is here to stay but it should be applied to all breeds equally and not discriminate against the Walking and Racking segments only.

When a horse can clear pre and post inspections on one night and come back the next night and get a scar rule ticket on pre-inspection, there is something wrong with the system. When Juvenile horses are written up and kids denied the opportunity to show on horses that passed inspection the previous night, there is something wrong with the system or the people applying the system.

We need to make every effort possible, by contacting our political representatives, by phone, by letter or by e-mail and let them know we need some help. Do it over and over again until we get a positive result. Politicians understand two things--votes and money--and we need to let them know we have both that can help or hurt.

We need to unite the HIO's and try to come to an agreement to help the industry. How can a Scar Rule ticket for a barb wire cut be helping the horse or the industry? Government of the people, by the people and for the people, but where? Certainly not in the Walking and Racking Horse Show Industry. Pull together, UNITE EFFORTS and CONTACT your politicians. Numbers get results.