The Ozark Empire Fairgrounds in Springfield, Mo., was the scene for the 34th Annual Midwest Walking Horse Trainers’ Association Fall Charity Horse Show. The show began on Thursday, Sept. 23 and ran through Saturday, Sept. 25 with beautiful fall weather and a large number of horses showing. There were 389 entries, compare with last year’s 405 entries, 302 entries in 2002 and 437 entries in 2001.

“The Midwest Walking Horse Trainers’ Association extends a heartfelt ‘Thank You’ for your participation in our 34th Annual Charity Show. We want to thank all of our sponsors, owners, advertisers, volunteers, grooms and other friends who work hard to make this show bigger and better every year. Thank you for attending the show and we hope you will enjoy the fine horses and riders in each class. We look forward to seeing you back again next year,” president Mike Maack said.

Show chairman and secretary-treasurer Carol Middleton also expressed her appreciation to everyone. This year’s show was a benefit for The Deaconess Foundation. Lee Upton of Shelbyville, Tenn., was on hand to judge the many fine horses from several states.

The highlight of the show came Saturday night as the Walking Horse Grand Champion was called to the winner’s circle after a second running walk was called. Jubilee’s Image and Curt Caldwell made an outstanding show to claim the championship neck ribbon for Matt and Lisa McWilliams. Josh Taylor and Sundust With Attitude received reserve honors for Mr. and Mrs. Clifford Sapp. Mike Blewett and Generator’s Legend made a strong ride and claimed the yellow streamers for Kim and Joe Rozman.

Horses owned by 4J Land & Cattle Co. of Waynesville, Mo., won the blue ribbon tally with 17 blues. Curt Caldwell Stables of Strafford, Mo., earned nine blues. Eddie Barclay Stables of South Fulton, Tenn., claimed seven blues. Don Bills Stables of Strafford, Mo., was close behind with six blues. Huffman Family Stables of Ozark, Mo., and Ken Taylor Stables of DeSoto, Mo., both earned five blues. The Paul Patterson family earned three blues. Mike Maack Stables of Bolivar, Mo., and Elvin Sapp of Columbia, Mo. earned dual blues apiece.

4J Land & Cattle Co. are always well known for their top plantation horses and this year was no exception. The four J’s are dad Jerry Laughlin and sons Jay, Jim and Jeff. Jay’s son Joel also claimed several blues as did mom Betty Laughlin. Their operation is truly a family one and they have trail rides and auctions every year, in addition to riding, owning and selling many outstanding show and pleasure horses.

Jimmy Laughlin began their winning streak on Thursday evening as he topped the 11-entry Lite-Shod Two Gait class aboard JFK’s Royal Dream. This team won four other classes, including the Lite-Shod Two-Gait Stake on Saturday night. The team of Mike Maack and Shaker’s Mr. Threat claimed the reserve spot on Thursday in the Lite-Shod Two Gait class. Reserve in the championship were the team of My Horse Showtime and Marvelene Kusewitt for Rosalie Jones and Marvelene Kusewitt. The duo also won the Three-Year-Old Lite Shod, Two Gait, the 10-entry Amateur Lite-Shod Two Gait and the Amateur Lite-Shod Owner-Exhibitor and Trainer Two Gait classes. Kevin Webb and Romeo’s Magic Touch were reserve inn the Three-Year-Old and Under Lite-Shod Two Gait while Sherry Hill directed Pride’s Gypsy Jazz to reserve in the Amateur Lite-Shod Two Gait. The reserve team in the Amateur Lite-Show Owner-Exhibitor and Trainer Two Gait was Debbie Scott and Our Glory Girl.

Time At The Ritz claimed five blues with three different Laughlins aboard. Jay directed Time At The Ritz to the victory pass in the Park Pleasure Two-Gait, the Park Pleasure Amateur Owner-Exhibitor and Trainer Two-Gait, and the Men’s Park Pleasure Two-Gait classes. Joel Laughlin and Time At The Ritz claimed the Juvenile Park Pleasure Two-Gait and Jerry won the Western Park Pleasure, Two-Gait titles. Reserves in the respective classes were Anne Hardin and Twisted Cash, Michelle Campbell and Caretaker’s Image, Jim Laughlin and Silver Dollar Exclusive, Alisa Zbornik and Ms. Harley, and Betty Laughlin and Gen’s Lady Fair.

The brightly colored JFK Fancy Lady Leslie also won five blues, four with Jay Laughlin directing and one with Betty Laughlin in the irons. Jay directed her to blues in the Amateur Park Pleasure Two-Gait, the Four-Year-Old and Under Park Two Gait, the Three-Year-Old and Under Park classes, and the Park Pleasure Two-Gait Stake. Betty Laughlin claimed victory in the Ladies’ Park Pleasure Two Gait class. Respective reserve winners were Ted Nichols and Caretaker’s Image, Jim Huffman and Coin’s Etched In Gold in both the Four-Year-Old and Under Park Pleasure and the Three-Year-Old and Under Park classes. Anne Hardin and Twisted Cash claimed reserve in the Park Pleasure Stake Two-Gait and the Ladies’ Park Pleasure Two-Gait classes. Cattle Co. They claimed the Juvenile Lite-Shod Two Gait and the Country Pleasure. Reserve in the Juvenile Lite-Shod were Kelsey Bales and Thorncrest Bully and the Country Pleasure Reserve in the Country Pleasure was She’s Hi Tech and Cheyenne Jones.

Two of the nine Curt Caldwell Stables’ blues were earned by Skyliner and Bud Thomas. On Thursday evening, the team made an outstanding performance to claim the blue in the Men’s Amateur Specialty class. Reserve honors in both classes went to the exciting new team of Simply Grand and Jon Trimble. Skyliner also carried Thomas to the top of the Amateur Specialty Stake title. Talk Is Cheap and Tamee LeNeve were the reserve grand champions.

Matt McWilliams and Georgia’s Gray Sky claimed dual blues under Caldwell Stables’ banner. They won both the 15.2 and Under Amateur Specialty class and the Amateur Specialty Riders 50 and Over class. Tammy Bunch and Prepared To Be Dazzled were reserve in the 15.2 and Under Amateur Specialty while Simply Grand and Jon Trimble were the reserve champions in the Amateur 50 and Over Specialty class. Eleven top entries answered the gate call for the Show Pleasure Amateur Specialty division. Lisa McWilliams and her Favorite’s Sassy Sunday claimed the blue with reserve awarded to Bill McCall and Pusher High Cotton.

On Thursday evening, Curt Caldwell rode The Golden Sceptor to the blue in the Open Specialty class. Mike Maack claimed reserve honors with He’s Bustin Wide Open. Later in the evening, Caldwell directed A Mark’s Dynamite to the winner’s circle in the Three-Year-Old Stallions class. Reserve in the class went to Delight Of A Pusher and Ken Taylor.

Glenda Nichols directed Delightful Romeo to the blue in the Ladies Amateur Specialty class on Friday evening. Reserve was the team of Kim Rozman and The Generator’s Legend. Caldwell’s final blue was in the afore mentioned grand championship.

The newly purchased Stocked With Cash claimed three of the seven blues won by Eddie Barclay Stables. He first claimed the blue in the Two-Year-Old Stallions class with Eddie Barclay. Curt Caldwell directed Copy’s Golden Boy to reserve. On Friday, it was Noel Botsch in the saddle winning the Two-Year-Old Amateur. Again reserve was awarded to Copy’s Golden Boy. This time he won with Brian Nichols directing. Barclay returned with the high-headed youngster to claim the Two-Year-Old Stake on Saturday evening. Josh Taylor and Masquerading Perfection picked up the reserve red streamer in the class.

Wired’s Special Design, also owned by Noel and Robin Botsch, won both the Three-Year-Old Mares and Geldings and the HAWHA Futurity Three-Year-Old Performance title. Curt Caldwell and Generator’s Magic Dancer won reserve inn the Three-Year-Mares and Geldings. Josh Richardson claimed reserve in the futurity class with Thorncrest’s Chantilly.

Daughter Marina Barclay won two of the blues for Barclay Stables. She first captured the Show Pleasure Juvenile title aboard Extra Money. Reserve in the class was awarded to Alisa Zbornik riding Shadow’s Ultimate Beam. On Saturday Barclay also wore the blue from the ring in the Youth Walking Pony class with Man Of Mine. Show Me Jubilantly and Leslie Mott won the reserve spot in this class.

Casey Heiman and Trigger Cash began the six blue winning streak for Don Bills Stables. This exciting team won the Juvenile 11 and Under class on Friday evening. They returned on Saturday and proudly claimed the Juvenile Specialty Stake. Kelsea York and Ace’s Zorro were hot on their heels both evenings and won reserves in each class.

It was hard to tell who rode the hardest in the Professional-Amateur Specialty class, Don Bills or Tamee Heiman. Together they claimed the win in this class. Reserve went to Sarah Mitch and Mike Blewett riding Generator’s Let’s Push.

Ten entries answered the gate call in the Show Pleasure Specialty class. Power Of The Dark and Don Bills were the judges’ selection in this exciting class. Favorite’s Sassy Sunday and Curt Caldwell also made an excellent show to claim reserve.

Wife Clara Bills rode hard and exited the ring with the blue streamer in the Trainers’ Family Specialty class. She directed Sunrise At The Ritz to make the victory pass while End Zone and Sheryl Taylor claimed the reserve position.

The final blue won by Bills Stables shows the versatility of the walking horse. Retired show ring champion and breeding stallion Distinguished Pride carried Casey Heiman to the top of the Costume class with his furs, gun, leaves dragging along as well as a skull or two as he calmly performed the task assigned to him. This class was no easy task to judge and was enjoyed thoroughly by exhibitors, spectators and the judge. Marvelene Kusewitt received second with her My Horse Showtime dressed as a bride with her man tied behind her. A sign displayed the message, “Got him.”. She even threw her bouquet to the judge.

Jim Huffman won the first of his five blues in the HAWHA Futurity Two-Year-Old Park Pleasure class. Vegas Showgirl carried him to victory while Stephen Ayers and Shootin’ For The Stars picked up the reserve placing. His next blue also came in a HAWHA Futurity class, the Three-Year-Old Park Pleasure. Coin’s Etched in Gold carried him to victory. Steve Skopec and American Dot Com walked away with the red streamer.

Brad Huffman led a full sister to Coin’s Etched In Gold, Coin’s Rising Star, to victory in both the Open Yearling class and the HAWHA Futurity Yearling class. In Vogue, led by Jim Laughlin was selected for reserve in the Open Yearling while Dazzling Dixie and Jerry Manes picked up the reserve ribbon.

Huffman’s final blue came in the HAWHA Futurity Two-Year-Old Performance. Judge Upton chose Thorncrest’s Artic to make the victory pass. Reserve was won by Push-N-Bubba Blue and Mike Blewett.

Josh Taylor won the first blue of the show in the Two-Year-Old Mare and Gelding class for Taylor Stables’ first of five blues. curt Caldwell and Windy City were selected to be the reserve champions.

Katy High proudly accepted the blue in the Four-Year-Old Amateur Specialty class with her The Gatekeeper. Watch Spot Walk and Paul Patterson won reserve. On Saturday evening Ken Taylor took over the reins of The Gatekeeper and was victorious in the Junior Horse Specialty class. Mike Maack and He’s Bustin Wide Open walked away with the reserve spot in this class.

Blaize Broccard won the Juvenile 12-17 Specialty with He’s A Dreamer from Taylor’s Stables. Dixie’s Jubilee and Stephanie Campbell walked away with the reserve streamer.

The Paul Patterson family had three Midwest Trainers’ Show blues. Red Ink won two of these blues, first in the Amateur Owner-Exhibitor Trained Specialty and then in the Open Amateur class. Brad Nichols and Coin’s Smooth Operator claimed reserve in the first class. Bill Branham and Spirited Rendezvous claimed the reserve position in the Open Amateur class.

Paul Patterson introduced a walking, shaking spotted horse, Stormy All Colors in the Amateur Owner-Exhibitor and Trained Performance Pleasure Specialty. The crowd voiced their approval of this striking horse. The reserve team was Cherie Teaford and She’s Pushing TNT.

Mike Maack claimed dual blues with horses owned by Bill Branhan. Maack claimed the blue in the Performance Pleasure Specialty aboard Royal’s Night Magic. Branham claimed the Amateur Championship with Spirited Rendezvous. Red Ink and Paul Patterson carried out the red in this exciting class.

Eleven top entries displayed their talents in the Three-Year-Old Amateur class. Elvin Sapp and Genius’ Charm Lady were chosen to make the victory pass. This team returned on Saturday evening to claim the Three-Year-Old Championship. Following in their footsteps with the red streamer were Winston Edge and Curt Caldwell.

The remaining blues were won by Major Alibi and Fred Gibbany in the Lite-Shod Western Two-Gait class, Generator’s Legend and Mike Blewett in the Mares and Geldings class, Hard Cash’s Magic Mark and Floyd Posenke in the Park Pleasure class, Good Fortune and Jess Morrison in the Lead Line class, Up Jumped The Law and Amanda Schroer in the Weanling class, Magic Bomb H. and Jerry Manes in the HAWHA Futurity Two and Old Lite-Shod, Thorncrest’s Old Timer and Karen McKinnis in the HAWHA Futurity Weanling class and Tuscany and Jill Wait in the Amateur Performance Pleasure, Two-Gait.