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Ocoee Classic Makes A Shining Debut

CLEVELAND, Tenn. - More than 350 entries brightened the Tri-State Exhibition Center’s Arena during the 1st annual Ocoee Classic Walking and Racking Horse Show held May 30-31. Billy Ball judged the walking horse events while Mike Wisecup marked the cards for the racking horse classes. Jack Green worked his magic behind the camera, and Mark Farrar was the voice behind the microphone. Jo Simerly played the organ and kept the horses in time. Positive comments resounded throughout the show from horse trainers, owners, spectators and the horse show committee. Mack Hess, facility manager, was thrilled about the turn-out for the show and the quality of horses that were exhibited. He extended a sincere appreciation to all of the volunteers that worked so diligently to make the show possible. Proceeds from the Ocoee Classic benefited the Tri-State Exhibition Center.

Opening ceremonies included a touching presentation by the Rainbow Therapeutic Riding Program during the Friday night opening ceremony. Music by Barry McDonald was a fitting accompaniment to the performance. Exciting Money and Raymond Haggar, 2003 Racking Horse World Champions, carried the American flag Friday and Saturday evenings.

Frankie Blue Eyes danced his way to the winner’s circle in the first class of the show. Martha Neff was in the irons during the Three-Year-Old Amateur class. Rain’s Renegade was the reserve champion in the class with Tracy Fuller directing.

Flying Sun Acres entry Panache earned the blue ribbon on this year’s debut outing during the Open Halter class. Joe Campbell lead the winning yearling. Stormy’s Sunday Lady and Tami Triplett were the reserve winners in the class.

Brandon Derrick made an outstanding ride on Sunrises’s Miracle Man in the Youth 13-17 class for 96-year-old Arny Arniurus. Steve Woody Stables prepared the entry that captured the blue ribbon. Zachary Bunch directed Beaming Around to the reserve win in the big class for Dennis and Sunny Bunch.

Jan Crawford got a great birthday present - a blue ribbon win in the Ladies Auxiliary class. Her horse Silver Design’s Entertainer carried her to the winner’s circle. Sensational Premier and Latitha Oran rode to the reserve honors in the class.

Michael Jobe topped the Open Plantation class with Real Walking Bubba, while daughter Haley Jobe finished second in the class on Evening Charger.

Jack Morgan owns the most successful horse of the show. Front Page Generator topped two big classes. Morgan rode this horse to victory in the 15.2 and Under Amateur Specialty class. His win was followed by Brent Coburn’s good ride on the horse in the 15.2 and Under Open class on Saturday night. Meredith Broom guided Thump This to the reserve honors in the amateur class. Chris Pickel of Thunder Valley Farms rode the reserve champion Twist One Up in the Open 15.2 and Under class. Sabrina Matthews owns the reserve champion.

Bill and Charlene Cox back the Amateur Plantation Specialty champion Cashie Cash. Charles Cox made the winning ride aboard this talented horse. Morgan Hodge guided I’m Amos Mason to the reserve win in the class.

Too Hot To Be Busted carried out a blue ribbon for Farrell Hughes in the Two-Year-Old Walking Specialty class. Vickie Hughes-Grindstaff piloted the winning entry. Meredith Broom rode Twist The Night Away to the reserve honors in the class for Mike and Janice King.

Cash Advance checked out the blue ribbon win in the Walking Show Pleasure Specialty Amateur class. Cindy Hughes was in the irons for owners Mr. and Mrs. Ray Hughes. Danny Murray piloted Copy's Raging Rebel to the reserve win in the class.

Sam Kite was the winning rider in the Four-Year-Old Amateur Specialty class. Vapor walked his way to the winner's circle in the ten-entry class. Fantazmic Cash was the reserve champion in the talented class. Vickie Hughes-Grindstaff guided the horse to the red ribbon win for owner Farrell Hughes.

Hill Billy Pusher and Kara Williams brought out a blue ribbon for owner/trainer Percy Green. Cindy Hughes was the reserve champion in the class on Wings Of Silver.

Magic's Loose Change was the Amateur/Owned and Trained champion. He was guided to the winner's circle by Ken Estes. Tim Smith and ET's Torch claimed the reserve title in the class.

Dana Kyte made the good ride on Pride's Midnight Express in the Men's Amateur Specialty class for owner W.E. Tittle. Tony Melhorn and Pusher's Midnight Pride were the reserve champions in the class. The entry is backed by Jessie Sneed.

I Got Rhythm and Lori Coleman walked their way to the winner's circle in the Amateur Trail Pleasure Specialty class. Bob Bilbo rode the red ribbon winner Postmarked First Class for Bob and Sherry Bilbo. Evening Charger and Haley Jobe picked up another blue in the Park Pleasure Youth Specialty class for J Walking Farms. Ebony's Expensive Sun and Diana Schiestel finished reserve in the class.

Absolute and Boone Smith topped a tough class of competitors in the Youth 11 and Under class. Smith was especially thrilled with the win because it was his eighth birthday. Grandparents Doug and Jean Brown own the entry that was trained by Thunder Valley Farm. Hunter Hensley and Silvers Scamper were the reserve champions in the eight-entry class. The horse is owned by Hal and Mary Ann Hensley.

Terry Givens Stables and owners Mike and Janice King had an exciting Saturday night. Terry Givens carried out two back to back blue ribbons. A Golden Merger was awarded the blue in the Show Pleasure Specialty class with ten entries performing. Twist The Night Away captured the Two-Year-Old Open Walking class blue. Chris Pickel and Push Don't Pull were the reserve champions in the Show Pleasure Specialty class for owner Linda Ball. Winky Groover and 10 Karat Dumas were the red ribbon recipients in the Two-Year-Old Open Walking class. His mount is owned by Edd Stair.

Brent Coburn guided another winning entry Rarefind to the winner's circle in the Three-Year-Old Open class. Owners Jerry and Linda Martin were thrilled with the performance. Double Dumas and Winky Groover were the reserve winners in the class for owner Larry Rea.

Chris Pickel and Second Copy rode to the winner's circle to claim the blue in the Four-Year-Old Open Specialty class. Julian Bronwyn owns the winning steed. Reserve honors in the class were awarded to Hill Billy Pusher and Percy Green.

A Doug Brown entry captured a second blue of the evening. Brown guided Extra Beauty to the blue ribbon win in the Open Lite-Shod Specialty class. Doc's Taking Charge took the red ribbon in the class with Bill Bilbo in the irons for Bob and Sherry Bilbo.

Bill Spivey and Doc's Magic captured the blue ribbon spirit in the Open Walking Specialty class. The entry was prepared by Steve Woody Stables. Brent Coburn guided JFK's Glimmer Of Sunshine to the reserve win in the class for Paul and Vivian Henderlight.

Fay Witcher II made two back to back blue ribbon rides. He directed Eb's Cash Of Charge to the win in the Four-Year-Old Mare and Gelding Walking Specialty class for Christian Lessard. Jeff Cox and My Pearl Harbor were the reserve champions in the class. Witcher claimed a second blue in the Amateur Specialty Stake aboard Number One Commander. The Reserve Amateur Stake Champion was More For The Money and Patty Travent. Bill and Patty Travent own the entry.

Brent Coburn claimed the grand championship honors in the final class of the evening. The Star Of Sundance, another Jack Morgan entry, carried out the roses in the exciting and talent filled Stake. Reserve honors in the competition went to Chris Pickel and Gen's Drop Of Sun, a Fred Randolph backed entry.

The Tri-State Exhibition Center hosted a very successful and positively accepted show. Horses from Cedar Grove Stables, Steve Woody Stables and Thunder Valley Farms carried home the majority of the wins during the two-night event. The 1st annual Ocoee Classic was truly a hit. Exhibitors, trainers and the horse show committee all look forward to next year's event, which will be even brighter. Complete results follow and may be seen, searched or printed from our web site at


The Tri-State Exhibition Center Grows

The Tri-State Exhibition Center was the dream of several Bradley County citizens and was born from 15 years of planning. The land for the facility, which was donated by the county, is dependent on private donations for land improvement, construction and maintenance. The facility is located just off of I-75 and Exit 20.

The first phase of center was completed in October of 2001 and included a barn, a competition ring, a warm-up area and lighting. The second phase of construction began in January 2003. Included in the plans were 80 permanent stalls, a wash rack, bathrooms, bleachers and a storage barn. In March of this year a fund-raising drive was launched to generate funds to cover the ring, complete the concessions area, develop seating for 1,400 spectators and create a permanent site for a management office.

Events housed at the facility thus far have been agriculturally related, however, the center encourages a diversity of events and hopes to hold shows for the garden, antique, home and auto industries along with community fairs, dog shows, graduation ceremonies and arts and crafts fairs. More information and an event schedule can be found at the facility’s website at


The Rainbow Therapeutic Riding Program Shines Brightest Of All

The Rainbow Therapeutic Riding Program is a non-profit (501 C3) organization dedicated to providing therapeutic riding activities for individuals who are physically, emotionally or mentally challenged. Before participating in therapeutic horseback riding activities, each prospective rider is required to present a medical history and a physician’s statement. The riding sessions are offered with no cost to the riders or their family members. Leaving wheelchairs and walkers behind, participants learn riding skills, receive therapy and enjoy the freedom of movement on their horse. They control their mounts through obstacles and journey where they would never be able to go by themselves.

The horses and the volunteers are the heart of the program. The special riders that performed at the Friday evening performance of the Ocoee Classic were Maggie Humberd riding Micah, Emily Conn riding Flash, Johnny Woodward riding Minnie and Weslee Clark riding Goldie. The volunteers are Julie Raulle, Ali Raulle, Bailey David, Jordan Alsip, Cindy Jenkins, Abbey Thomas, Shane Clark, Derreck Arnold, Mistic Clements, Katlin Hill and Glenn and Nancy Schmidt.

The group of students and volunteers performed a pattern through a series of cones. During their exhibition, music by Barry McDonald played in the background. His song “Angles Fly Away” was written when McDonald’s son was diagnosed as a special needs child.

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