by Janet G. Bullis
Greensboro, N.C. - Members of the North Carolina Walking Horse Association met together on January 12 to celebrate this past year’s accomplishments. The annual event was held at the Embassy Suites in Greensboro, North Carolina. The evening’s festivities started with a cocktail hour at 5 followed by dinner at 6, and the awards presentations. The band Special Occasion provided the dance music, which lasted up to one in the morning. The association had over 700 members this year with 350 in attendance at the banquet.

Myra Harrill gave the welcome and invocation at the start of the dinner hour. President of the association, Ernie Warner recognized this past year’s board members and introduced the board members for the coming year. He also spoke on the success of the Championship Show held in Asheville and thanked everyone for his or her support. Ernie then presented gifts of appreciation to the secretary, Sandy Brumbaugh, treasurer, Shirley Boger, Terri Mosley, Championship Show Office Manager and Award secretary, Collen Warren and Myra Harrill, Championship Show persons, Janet Bullis and Jerry Jester Spring Horse Show Chairpersons and Pat Baker and Country Time Farms for hosting the Sneak Preview.

Terri Mosley then took over the mike. She first called out the winners of the three $50 door prizes awarded by photographer, Sandra Hall. Sandra was the official photographer of the event. Terri recognized the 2001 Celebration winners owned by members of the association. She also recognized Jason Hughes for his national honor as Assistant horse trainer of the year. Next on the agenda was the announcement of the high point award winners. Ribbons were given for 2nd through 4th place winners and a plaque and ribbon for the first place winners.

Baucom Stables won 20 of the different high point divisions. Pat Callicut and her horse Jazz Show were the stars for the night. This little horse showed he could shine in all Plantation Pleasure divisions by winning five of the first places as well as the Plantation Pleasure High Point Horse of the Year. Joseph Bartholomew and his horse Pusher’s Society Man made repeat wins from last year by winning the Youth 12-17 and Youth Specialty. Kenneth Callicut won the Amateur Riders 50 and Over with Eb’s Magic Motion and son, John Callicut won the Amateur 15.2 & Under division with this winning horse. Pushover’s Backstreet Boy and Chad Baucom were winners of the Open Stake and Championship for owners, Gene and Bonnie Davis.

David Polk Stables had five wins. Keleigh Mesimer had a busy night as she and Pusher’s Luck Charm won the Youth 11 & Under division as well as being voted Junior Horseperson of the Year and working as one of the ribbon girls.

Ronald Mosley Stables had four wins, which included the Plantation Pleasure Stake and Championship with Hack’s Queen Of Spades for Gary and Carolyn Pope. Gribble Stables had three wins. Whispering Pride, owned by Boyce Hathcock won the Amateur Show Pleasure with Cole Baker and the Show Pleasure with Blair Gribble. Rick Abee Stables won two divisions. Secret Touch Of Gold has now won the Aged Mares Open for owner, Robey Wycoff three years in a row. Don Lominac had a winner with Ticket To Ride for owner, Shelia Garner in the Three-Year-Old Stallions.

Owners Player, Bumgardner and Buckner had three impressive wins. Ultimate Warrior and Milly Player won the Amateur Open, Stake or Championship and the Amateur Owned and Trained as well as the Performance Horse of the Year.

Terri then made the Special awards presentations. The members of the association vote the horsepersons for the year and the shows of the year. As was mentioned earlier, Kaleigh Mesimer won the honor of being the Junior Horseperson of the Year. A special lady in our association, Dona Griffin won the Senior Horseperson of the Year. For many years running, the Tazewell County Classic won the best one night show of the year. The best multi-night show of the year again went to Land-o-Sky show.

The Horse of the Year awards were then presented with a blanket and a check. The Performance Horse of the Year went to owners, Player, Bumgardner and Buckner for their horse, Ultimate Warrior. This trio won last year with Dark Spirit’s Shaker. The Plantation Pleasure of the Year went to Pat Callicut and Jazz Show. The Plantation Pleasure Lite Shod Horse of the Year went to Amanda Dickerson and her horse, Fireworks At Dusk.

Chad Baucom has the distinction of being named Trainer of the Year for the past two years. This year’s winner of the Kenny Price memorial trophy was a very popular choice as it went to Joe Robinson. Mr. Joe always has a kind word and smile for everyone. The Johnny Dysart Memorial trophy went to Jerry Jester. Jerry has always been a hard worker for the association and can always be counted on for his help.

Ernie Warner then gave out the Trainer Incentive Program cash awards. These are based on the points accumulated by the trainers during the show season. $15,300 was given out in prize money, with $500 to the Performance Horse of the Year, $250 to the Plantation Pleasure Horse of the Year and $250 to the Plantation Pleasure Lite Shod Horse of the Year. The balance of $14,250 was given out to the trainers.

Ernie thanked Ronda Warren and Chris Broach for planning the banquet. He introduced the Award presenters: Kaleigh Mesimer, Stephanie Bolick, Amanda Dickerson and Ashley Davis. Sandra Hall was given a gift of recognition for her work at the banquet and throughout the year. Joe Manis came up and gave our outgoing President Ernie Warner a special plaque for his past years as our president. Our new president, Tommy Griggs was introduced. It was announced that the sneak preview would be held at Baucom Stables on March the 9th. The banquet then ended with the music starting to play and the dance floor quickly filling up as an end to another great year in the North Carolina Walking Horse Association.