by Lauren Abernathy and Stephanie Rose

TUNICA, Miss.—The fourth annual Delta Fall Classic was as always a portrait of southern hospitality and an exciting horse show. It was held at the Paul Battle Jr. Arena in Tunica, Miss., on Nov. 5-8, 2008. The judges were Ty Irby of Mobile, Ala., Paul Livingston of Church Hill, Tenn., and Bill Bailey of Russell Springs, Ky. Instead of three nights of performances as it has been in the past, the show added an extra night on Wednesday. On Thursday, USDA officials arrived at the show and remained the rest of the time.

Show Manager James Benton Pendleton was very pleased with the way the show turned out. He said, "Thank you to all the trainers who supported the show and showed their horses, and for the many exhibitors and spectators who were involved in the show; we greatly appreciate it. We work to make this show better each year and I hope that you will join us in Tunica for the 2009 Delta Fall Classic."

Many entertaining new things happened during the Delta Fall Classic. A Farriers’ class was added to the end of the show on Wednesday evening along with an Open Pony class. The last class on Friday night was a three-riders-to-judge class. The trophies, ribbons and floral horseshoes were beautiful and if you won the Farriers’ class or the Grooms’ class, you were given a Delta Fall Classic warm jacket. This year, the Cannon Harmon Memorial Delta Fall Classic Sportsmanship Award was presented to Terry Moran after his great performance in the Farriers’ class and carrying on a good attitude about the show.

The skyboxes really filled up this year. It was a luxury to sit in the warmth with food and drinks with your friends. The tables on the floor were catered each night with the final night offering filet mignon.

Two of the most thrilling classes every year are the Chase Hawks Memorial Youth 17 & Under Championship and the Marcus Alexander Memorial Championship Riders’ Cup. Chase Hawks and Marcus Alexander were big parts of the walking horse world and meant a lot to those who knew them. Hawks’a mother and sister come each year to give the trophy to the winner. The youth are called in one at a time like the Walking Horse Stake. This year’s winner was 2008 Youth World Grand Champion FDR and Amy Nesius for the Rick Nesius family of Chapel Hill, Tenn. This closed out their undefeated season.

Alexander’s mother and father as well as his friends were also on hand to give the trophy in the stake division. The stake division was won by 2002 World Grand Champion Out On Parole and Steve Dunn for Randall and Sadie Baskin of Franklin, Tenn. This was the first time Out On Parole has shown since he was crowned the champion of the world over six years ago.

The Amateur Championship was the class that had the entire crowd on its feet cheering. Wilsene Moody showed Star, the 2006 Four-Year-Old World Grand Champion and last year’s Delta Fall Classic Grand Champion, for the first time and made an outstanding performance to take home top honors with a standing ovation cheering her on around the ring during the victory pass. Moody made her victory pass with the biggest smile at the show.

Click here for complete results.