by Jennifer Maack-Condren

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - The Ozark Empire Fairgrounds was the setting for the Heart of America Walking Horse Fall Championship on Sept. 24-26. A total of 220 entries were presented for Judge Tim Wheelon of Shelbyville, Tenn., to tie during the 54-class show. This show marks the beginning of several three-day shows held in the fall on the HAWHA circuit.

The final gate call of the show was for the Manna-Pro Walking Horse Championship, and five fine entries were brought into the ring one at a time, each with their own cheering section. Judge Wheelon put the class through the normal gaits and then called for a second running walk. When his decision was made and the card turned in, Eddie Barclay and Miss Sharon Stone were called to the winner’s circle for owners Noel and Robin Botsch. Reserve in the class went to Jose’s Strider with Margaret Hickman in the irons for the 4-J Land & Cattle Co.

Saturday night was full of stake classes. In the Amateur Stake class, The Pusher’s Generator and Kyndra Myers came out on top for Roberts and Heiney under the direction of Anne Hardin Stables. The Lite-Shod Stake found Gen’s Million Dollar Baby in the winner’s circle with Jimmy Laughlin in the irons for 4-J Land & Cattle Co. 4-J also claimed the Park Pleasure Stake when Jordan Laughlin directed JFK’s Fancy Lady Leslie to the blue ribbon for Laughlin’s first stake title.

Don Bills and California Dreamin’ were designated as the Two-Year-Old Champions for Jon Trimble. Hayley Miller and Magic Impression have been a winning combination all season long and this Saturday night was no different when they claimed the Juvenile Stake title for Dr. and Mrs. Glenn DeGraffenreid under the Jim Huffman banner. Don Bills returned a few classes later to make the victory pass in the Three-Year-Old Stake class with Drop In For Vic for Alice Rowden.

The Costume class is always well received and in an effort to gain more entries this year, HAWHA opened it up to any horse and rider. And the results of that decision paid off when five very creative entries made the gate call. Jesse Laughlin reverted back to infancy when he donned pajamas, bonnet and pacifier to claim the blue in the class aboard Legend Of Stan The Man.  

Show officials, trainers, exhibitors and spectators were certainly pleased with the caliber of entries presented at this show and felt is was a success. Heart of America will now begin work on its awards banquet scheduled in early February.

Complete results can be viewed by clicking here.

Blue Ribbon Tally:

4-J Land & Cattle-15
Jim Huffman Stables-6
Don Bills Stables-6
White Oak Farms-5
Eddie Barclay Stables-4
Brad Huffman Stables-4
Jerry Manes Stables-4
Anne Hardin Stables-3
Campbell-Nichols -3