by Sharon Manning

Posted May 27, 2002

POMONA, Calif. - The West Coast Walking Horse Trainers' Association hosted it’s 20th annual show at the Fairplex location that has become a real home-away-from-home for the California Walking Horse exhibitors by virtue of the frequent use of the facility. The schedule adhered to the usual Friday night - Saturday format and offered 68 classes for all levels of Walking Horse competition.

Making the California trip to adjudicate the May 3rd and 4th event was Jeff Hatcher, Charles Town, West Virginia. He was joined on the westbound flight by announcer Tommy Williams, Mt. Pleasant, Tenn., who kept things rolling along from his vantage point behind the microphone. Show Manager Donna West assembled an all-star cast of officials who are so vital to a seamless event. A salute to Hollywood was cleverly incorporated in the center ring decor that was designed and executed by Susan Gordon.

The Jackie Cornelius Memorial Trophy was awarded for the second year to Eva McClure’s Motown Delight, who was teamed to the Open Stake Championship title by trainer Russ Thompson. The highly regarded 15.2 chestnut property was on his game as he made yet another trademark high gear performance for the honors.

The all important ribbon count revealed an amazing dead heat with 23 blues and tricolors each for Golden West Farms and Russ Thompson Stables. Wendy Shaw’s Bouquet Creek group posted ten wins in the pleasure classes, while Courtesy Stables and Sue Wittick’s barn tied with four blues apiece. Jenny Earhart’s owner-trained efforts produced a trio of first place awards for her Pomona outing.

Presenting the winners by division is the alternate method in the event of a tie, so the Open category, in age-group order, was at the top of the list. The Two-Year-Old Mare champion was the Poplar Creek Farms, LLC entry, JFK’s Ingenue with Scott Benham in direction, while stable mate Lucky Silver Dollar and Greg Bryant accepted the Two-Year-Old Stallions and Geldings honors for the new Erickson and Brunke partnership. Benham returned in the Three-Year-Old Mares and Geldings class with another Poplar Creek property, Strictly A Lady; the age group’s Stallions and Geldings champion was newcomer Simply Thrilling, the Arthur Gordon entry who debuted with Ray Reis at the controls.

Claiming the Open Four-Year-Old award was the Money And Power/Greg Bryant team, who collected the crystal trophy for owners Mike and Marilee Moran. Highlighting the Open Specialty event was another debut performance by Scott Benham and A Skywalker, who represented new owner Sue Harrington in the winner’s circle. The final Open blue was earned by Gerre Mann’s Bart Starr, who joined forces with Greg Bryant for the 15.2 title.

The Amateur stars shone brightly at the West Coast Trainers’ Show. Making their first outing a blue ribbon event were He’s Pushin’ The Ritz and Sue Harrington, who accepted the Two-Year-Old award for the Sue and Pat Harrington alliance. The divisional Three-Year-Old Stallions and Geldings event found Ritz’s Perfect Touch and Susan Gordon in the spotlight for the family’s Stone Gait Farms, while the corresponding Mares and Geldings class was topped by Mo’s Trick Or Treat with Carleen Redman up for Gary and Carleen Redman.

The Four-Year-Old Amateur Specialty tie was accepted by Guylene Ozlanski and her Generator’s Mist, who was another first time west coast competitor. The Ladies Specialty class was a triumph for Bart Starr and Gerre Mann, who celebrated their first blue as a team. Melvin Parham and Strictly Sensational scored their second Novice victory since joining forces early this year. The Specialty Mares and Geldings title was added to the Apocalypse show record; owner Joyce Hofstee enjoyed the good ride. The Specialty Stallions and Geldings class found Time To Glo and Kylee Aargenti in the spotlight as a precursor to their Saturday night Amateur Stake success. The highlight of the division was the Specialty Stake appearance by current WGC A Specialist and his stylish lady rider, Susan Gordon, who always delivers a world class performance.

The Show Pleasure category featured the Open Three Gait tie that was collected by Greg Bryant for Mike and Marilee Moran, along with the Open Specialty victory of Score’s Charm and Scott Benham in a highly competitive class; Tim and Tammie Schamber sponsor the sorrel mare. Will Carter and Ultra Threat Charmer walked to the Novice ribbon for the Andrea De Young-Carter ownership, with catch rider Jenny Earhart and Another Hot Toddy accepting the divisional Juvenile blue for Courtesy Stables. Million Dollar Dream and Sheila Bartlett swept the Amateur Specialty Stake competition on the heels of their Amateur Show success.

Long before there was a Park Pleasure designation for flat shod horses, California had Park Pleasure classes for padded horses minus the action device. Included in the Trainers’ Show schedule with “West Coast” as part of the class description, the longtime star of that division, Captain Joe’s Reward, continued his reign supreme with Adrienne Cappuccio doing the honors for her mom, Harriet Cappuccio.

Flat Shod Park Pleasure had standout talent in every category. The Open Three-Year-Old event saw the Mike and Marilee Moran property, Flash Of Rain, in the winner’s circle with Manuel Rodriquez in the irons. The Four and Under Open Specialty blue was accepted by Gen’s Lady Fair and Jamey Thompson for owner Nadea Watt. Another Watt-sponsored property, Bad News Gold Hard Cash, dominated the Western classes with trainer Trish Wooten riding to the Open Three-Gait and Open Specialty wins with his owner doing the direction for the Amateur Specialty premier blue for the pair.

Patriot Score and Brianna Dotson were called to accept the Park Pleasure Junior Rider trophy for the More Family ownership, while Demara Nuzum and her Score Triple Sevens topped the Novice class to follow up their Amateur Show win. The Guylene Ozlanski-sponsored Countdown's Cordell Walker prevailed in the Amateur Specialty Stake event with his owner at the controls, and in the Open Stake with trainer Jamey Thompson up.

The Lite Shod competition spotlighted some of the best pleasure stock in the country. Double Java and trainer Manuel Rodriquez made another winning ride for the Open Three and Under honors, with Java returning later under Marcy Drummond’s direction for a strong Amateur Specialty Stake performance to extend his winning streak with two more titles. Mark and Marcy Drummond are the proud owners. Wendy Shaw and WC Pushin’ For Pleasure, who were called to the Open Four-Year-Old honors, represented the Bill and Betsy Marzinzik backing with their blue ribbon performances.

Another Shaw-trained entry, the venerable Mama’s Hands, heard his name called on four occasions; Western Amateur Specialty with Brittney Ellis, Novice Specialty with Megan Rodriquez, and in the Junior Rider and Trail Obstacles classes with Shayna Shaw. Janis Brown is the very generous owner of the tried-and-true roan gelding. Also closing out with four titles to her credit was the legendary WGC Genius’ Dixie Chick, who claimed the Amateur Three Gait and Open Three Gait Stake awards with proud owner Sheila Kyle, the English Open Specialty with Danny Wooten, and the Western Open Specialty under Trish Wooten’s direction.

California’s Lite Shod Pleasure stars are sure to be among the top contenders in Tennessee this summer. He’s A Wrangler is the new kid on the block who prevailed in the Amateur Four-Year-Old, Western Amateur, and Open Specialties and the Open Specialty Stake classes with Maggie Moore in the saddle for the Harvey and Maggie Moore ownership.

Pride’s Mega Force and trainer Trish Wooten rode to the English Open Specialty award for the Four J Land and Cattle Company backing, while the veteran Allied Commander landed the Novice and Amateur Specialty blues, thanks to Melissa Washington’s direction for Thomason and Wittick. Rounding out the gallery of winners was the nationally recognized Hit And Run, who had the English and Western Three Gait wins with owner Bill Marzinzik and the Junior Rider blue teamed with Lauren Shaw.

The Trail Pleasure entries were in abundance at the Trainers’ Show, and winning a ribbon in one of the large classes was a real accomplishment. National Celebration High Point Trail Pleasure star, To Die For!, was front and center for the Western Amateur Specialty tie, thanks to Shayna Shaw’s expert direction for owner Janis Brown. Papa’s Queen Lady and Summar Shamma kept their streak alive with wins in the English Amateur Specialty and Junior Rider classes, while Jannie Earhart’s owner-trained Royal Prince Charlie scored the Novice blue with Rebecca Themelis as well as the English and Western Three Gait ties under the ringmanship of the teenaged owner.

The Spotted Saddle Horse events found Scott and Vicki Nelson’s R Luck In Dixie stepping up for the Western Open Specialty with trainer Wendy Shaw in the saddle, and the English Open Specialty and English/Western Open Stake champion, Chief Battle Cry, in the winner’s circle teamed with trainer Manuel Rodriquez for the Hughes and Hofstee partnership.

Courtesy Stables trainer, Raul Puentes, produced and directed the Weanling winner, Command’s Most Wanted, and the Yearling starlet, Memory’s Twist About, for proud owner/breeder, Eva McClure. He also showed Kathy Beard’s stallion, Threat’s Midnight Threat, to the Model Class recognition.

Rounding out the roster of Trainers’ Show winners was the Equitation champion, D.J. Clairville, who trains with Sue Wittick and company for the specialized discipline.