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What A Night! What A Night!

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. There was one difference for last night’s presentation. Instead of it being a father-son duo, like the nights before, Saturday offered a well-known father-daughter team, Mike and Amy Ann McCormick. The crowd was thrilled by their performance and professionalism.

The first class of the night was part of the new WHTA Riders’ Cup program. Ten 15.2 and Under Stallions made the gate call rather than the 11 entries that were posted in the program. Nonetheless, the class was not short on talent. Spectators enjoyed the famous “rocking chair” canter for the first class of the evening.

This first class of night was the first of six classes to have a unanimous decision. Master showman Sammy Day guided Will-E-Walk around the big oval where presenters with the awards and photographer Jack Greene waited to crown the champion. Harry and Trudy York of Nolensville, Tenn., own the entry.

The crowd was equally pleased the judges decision for reserve in the class. Multi-champion, Silver Dollar Make Me Hollar with Thomas McCormick in the irons rode for the red ribbon for Abby Graves of Moss, Tenn. 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. Sam Martin and He’s A Weekend Warrior made the winning ride for Claussen Warren of Rock Hill, S.C. Jackie McConnell also put on a stellar performance for the reserve honors in the class for Camille Akin of Collierville, Tenn.

John FK’s Diamond Delight and Dalia Smith made a outstanding ride to capture the Juvenile Specialty Championship.This outstanding team was a strong reserve in the preliminary class for Calvin Hacker of Manchester,Ky. Reserve in the class went to the world championship team of Prism Sky and MaryBeth Blessing for What A Blessing Farms in Bristol, Tenn.

In the Plantation Pleasure Lite-Shod Open Championship, the judges asked for multi-world champion and world grand champion, Pusher’s Beaming Pride and Howard Hamilton to come to the winner’s circle and accept the second unanimous blue ribbon of the evening along with the floral horse shoe. The reserve championship honors went to the persistent Blackberry Wine with Kevin Marker in the irons.

In the Three-Year-Old Classic, the crowd was brought to its feet by hometown favorite Bill Bobo’s performance with Royal Masque. Dan and Donna DeMedio of Sulphur Springs, Texas, own the champion. Impressive Motion and Bill Cantrell also put on a world class show for the reserve honors in the class for Bobby and Emily Bohannon along with Joe and Scott Cooper of Wetumpka, Ala.

Fourteen talented horses with their young riders made the gate call for the Youth Walking Ponies class. The competition in this class was steep. It included world champions and reserve world champions. Score Card and Samantha Green emerged victoriously for Huckaby and Sadler of Columbia and Nashville, Tenn. The reserve champions in the class, I’m Uncle Kracker and Haley Lane, were only separated from the winner by one point.

Dr. Linda Jones and Haley Lane of Bainbridge Ga., own the entry.The WHTA Riders’ Cup Four-Year-Old Stallions class included 11 entries. These first year “canterees” were flawless. For the third unanimous tie of the night, Jamie Bradshaw and Jose’s Intimidator humbly accepted the top honors in the class for Randall and Martha Ferguson of Union Grove, Ala. Reserve in the class was another crowd favorite; Peyton Manning with Bill Bobo in the irons put on a good show for Judy McDonald.

There was a special dedication that follwed the WHTA Four-Year-Old Stallions class. When the Trainers’ Show was still in preparation, show management asked for owners, spectators, exhibitors and trainers to nominate their special farriers. One by one the farriers were called to center ring and then recognized for their hard work and dedication to the breed. Four world championship quality entries made their way to the ring for the Open Amateur Championship. A repeat  unanimous win for the floral horse shoe was in the cards for Dirty Little Games and Brandi Todd. Reserve in the class was awarded to multi-champion Black Cash Delight with Gail Walling in the irons.

After the Open Amateur Championship was the Year In Walking Horse dedication presentations that were made by Christy Howard-Parsons and K.C.Hensley. Saturday night’s honorees were Kathryn Ramsbottom, who accepted the book with her parents Bob and Linda Ramsbottom, and Kenny Compton for NYPD.

In the Trainers 60 Years and Over Specialty class, one exceptional entry made a one of a kind ride. He’s A Rebel and Dick Myers, the original rebel, had all eyes on them for their exhibition. Announcer Mark Farrar said, “This class is for the trainers who are over 60, but not yet ready for the rocking chair.” For the Amateur Specialty Championship, seven were listed in the program while only four made the gate call. Quality not quantity was the “title” of this class. The Titleist and Bill Johnson made the winning ride for Bill and Sandra Johnson of Atlanta, Ga., and Shelbyville, Tenn. Rankin’ County and Kelly Sherman also had an apparent fan club as they rode to the opposite side of the arena to claim their reserve honors for Floyd Sherman of Dallas, Texas.

What followed this class was definitely a “Special presentation.” Who would have known that if you were at the Trainers’ Show Saturday night you would have viewed the retirement ceremony of two-time world grand champion Pusher’s Special Design? Kathryn Ramsbottom and Special made their way around the arena under saddle for the last time. The duo was then asked to come to the center of the arena while the saddle was removed and replaced with a beautiful cooler that was Special and Kathryn’s signature color, pink.

The well-respected Francis C. Gentry Ladies Specialty class was next to enter the ring. Current world grand champions John FK’s Pusher and Robin MacDonald made their first home run of the season in this class. Dick Peebles Stables prepared John FK’s Pusher for competition. Last year, Peebles Stables captured the blue in this class with the late Snowatch with Ashley Joseph in the irons. Pushin’ That  Jazz and Laura Brandon also put on a stellar performance for the reserve honors.

It was then time for the pleasure horses to shine once more in the Park Pleasure  Open Specialty Championship. Six talented entries made the gate call. World grand champion many times over, Armed Red Baron and Howard Hamilton made another ride for the roses resulting in success for Joe Dixon of Dacula, Ga. Senor Generator and Doug Barnes also put on a great show for Mack Deckle of Shelbyville, Tenn.

In the Show Pleasure Championship class, six entries made the gate call that included, world champions, reserve world champions and former trainers’ show champions. Current world champions Stewart Little and Brandon Stout prevailed for red Strickland of Olive Branch, Miss. Reserve in the class was current reserve world champion Iron Work’s Tin Man with Chad Way in the irons for Ray Jones Trucking of Greenville, Ky.

Directly before the stake class, a once in a lifetime presentation was made by the 2004 world grand champions, The Black Night Shade and Jimmy McConnell.The team received a standing ovation as they made their way around the arena.

Next it was time for the final event of the night, the WHTA Riders’ Cup Walking Horse Stake. The 10 talented entries were guided into the arena one by one with the lights off and the spotlight on. There were some technical difficulties getting the large halogen lights to return to their full glow before starting the class. In fact, first way of the ring the stake entries experienced some romantic lighting. In the reverse direction, everything was back in order.

After ending their season in 2004 as the International Grand Champions, Main Power and Joe Cotten came out in blue ribbon form for owners Holland, King and Kilgore. The reserve championship ribbon was awarded to A Strong Dollar with Link Webb for Curtice McCloy. Dragonfly and Jimmy McConnell rounded out the top three in the class for Bob and Mary Medina.

Last year’s Trainers Show predicted the 2004 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.

Neal Holland, David Landrum, Alexandria Holland, Mary Dell and Bob Kilgore join Joe Cotten after the Walking Stake win with Main Power.

A very happy Joyce Marie Green congratulated Samantha Green after a beautiful victory in the Walking Pony class with Score Card.

The retirement of WGC Pusher's Special Design was bitter-sweet. Trainer, Link Webb, Kathryn, Bob, and Linda Ramsbottom stop for one more photo.

Brandi Todd and Brandye Mills pose after the Amateur Stake win with Dirty Little Games, this pairs second blue for the week.

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