Rain At Midnight Storms Into Winchester

By Elizabeth Miller

WINCHESTER, Tenn. - The first weekend in May is steeped in tradition for horse enthusiasts across the country. With most of the attention focused on the Kentucky Derby festivities in Louisville, Ky., Tennessee Walking Horse fans begin the weekend with the annual Winchester Rotary Club Horse Show held on the first Friday night in May.

This year’s edition was held on May 2 at the Southern Middle Tennessee Agricultural Pavilion. The honorable Bob Burris, Jr., of Franklin, Tenn., assumed the task of judging the 25 class event. Also participating in their official roles at the show were announcer Gary Brewington, organist Wayne Nabors and ringmaster Joe Partin. Sherry Oxford served as the center ring photographer.

The evening’s opening ceremonies had special meaning for Julie Rhea Hise and her family. She was honored with the privilege of carrying our nation’s colors with her horse, Night Star. Her husband is currently serving our country as a captain in the Marine Corps stationed in Iraq.

In the final class of the night, eight fantastic entries answered the gate call for the Walking Horse Championship Stake. A recent winner at the Mississippi State Charity Horse Show, Rain At Midnight, earned the title with a flawless performance that excited the enthusiastic crowd. Trainer Joel Weaver directed the entry for owner Kevin Parton. This marked the third blue of the night for the team from Rising Star Ranch of Shelbyville, Tenn.

Claiming an impressive reserve tie was Spirit’s Midnight Rider and Ramsey Bullington. Mrs. Annie Williamson proudly owns the black stallion. The yellow award was taken home by Mr. Cash & Carry and Michael Vandiver for Stewart’s Farm and Nursery.

The 14 horse Three-Year-Old Stallion class featured some of the top competition of the evening. Extremist and Joel Weaver captured the blue ribbon. The George Zamora family was delighted with the performance of their handsome sorrel stallion.

Gen’s Master Pusher earned the other top award for Rising Star Ranch. Along with owner Joe Christmas, he was took home the victory in the 15.2 and Under Amateur Specialty class.

Horses from Mickey McCormick Stables of Shelbyville, Tenn., also won three Winchester titles. Touch Me On Command followed up his recent reserve tie at the Trainers Show with a blue ribbon performance. Owner Dru McCormick rode him into the winner’s circle in the Two-Year-Old Amateur class.

Another reserve winner from the Trainer’s Show, Mozambique, claimed top honors in Winchester. Jeanine Gullett made an outstanding ride aboard the black mare to earn the Ladies Amateur Mares and Geldings Specialty title. They are the reigning Elite Amateur Lady Riders on Mares and Geldings World Champions.

The third award for Mickey McCormick Stables was captured by Olympic Encore and Joel Johnson in the Walking Pony Specialty class. Owner Pat Hackney was overjoyed with the dynamic performance of her talented little horse.

Bobo Farms, Inc., of Shelbyville, Tenn., also had the pleasure of winning three Winchester blues. Instant Love and Bill Bobo made the first victory pass in the Open Park Pleasure class. The lovely mare is owned by Lisa Baum. Bobo also scored a victory aboard Dr. Perfect. The Sandra Hodgson owned entry topped the 15.2 and Under Walking Horse class in his usual flawless form.

Ebony’s Smoking Sun and Dr. Linda Garrard made an excellent performance to earn the Open Amateur title. Dr. Garrard was absolutely delighted with her classic horse, which she owns with her husband, Dr. Cliff Garrard. Bobo Farms, Inc., prepared the entry for competition.

Knox Blackburn Stables of Franklin, Tenn., was responsible for taking home two blue ribbons from Winchester. He rode to the winner’s circle in the Four-Year-Old Open class with Millennium Masquerade. The handsome black stallion is proudly owned by the Gilbert Miller family and is sired by their 1998 World Grand Champion Masquerading.

Blackburn’s other victory came in the Show Pleasure Specialty class amidst a strong field of 11 world class competitors. He directed Czar’s High Tide to the top honors for owner B. J. Harris.

In addition to winning the $100 cash prize for the trainer that brought the most entries to the show, Dick Peebles Stables of Shelbyville, Tenn., also earned two blue ribbons in Winchester. The first was in the Four-Year-Old Amateur division with Kennedy’s Prince Charming. Julie Rhea Hise directed the former World Champion Weanling Colt into victory lane for her parents, Bobby and Gina Rhea.

Peebles made his own victory pass aboard another World Champion, Down Under. The former World Champion Amateur Specialty Gelding captured the Open Aged Walking Mares and Geldings class after a highly contested competition by the ten entries. S & P Farms owns the champion.

Entries owned by William B. and Sandra Johnson’s Waterfall Farms made a clean sweep of the two-year-old competition in Winchester. The Mexican and trainer Ramsey Bullington bested a field of 13 highly charged entries in the Two-Year-Old Stallion class. This talented colt is one of the first sired by the Johnson’s stallion, Jose’ Jose’. His debut was an early signal of future success.

In the Two-Year-Old Mares and Geldings division, Magic Lady In Red and trainer Joe Martin made a blue ribbon winning debut performance. This flashy filly was recently purchased by the Johnsons and is sired by their stallion Generator’s Man Of Magic. She is also one of his first offspring under saddle and promises a bright future ahead.

In the Country Pleasure division, familiar winners Gen’s Final Masterpiece and Christie Scrivner made yet another trip to victory lane. Scrivner is the proud owner and trainer of this smooth gaited entry.

Donna Sprouse will remember her trip to Winchester for many years. She won her very first blue ribbon aboard Miss Patsy Cline. They walked away with the Lite-Shod Plantation Pleasure Specialty title under the guidance and direction of trainer Larry Patton of Mt. Juliet, Tenn.

Adorable Emily Zahnd and The Skyline made a stellar blue ribbon performance in the Youth Riders 11 and Under on Mares and Geldings Specialty class. Zahnd owns the entry along with her mother, Andrea, and proud father, Chris, handles the training responsibilities from his Swinging Gate Stables in Trinity, Ala.

High Altitude and handler Chris Richards reached the heights of success in Winchester. They took home top honors in the Yearling Colts and Fillies Under Halter class. This striking youngster is owned by the Curt Washburn family and the James Washburn family.

Generator’s Mr. Twister and trainer Harvey Rodriguez earned the victory pass ride in the Park Pleasure Two and Three-Year-Old division. This colt, one of the last sired by the late Pride’s Generator, is owned by Hansel and Paula Andrews.

With a total of 16 high caliber entries, the Three-Year-Old Mares and Geldings class was the largest class of the night. Following her recent win in Cullman, Ala., John Mack’s Merry Delight added a Winchester title to her 2003 resume’. Trainer Larry Massey was in the irons for thrilled owners Bob and Carol Johnson.

In the Youth Riders 12-17 on Mares and Geldings class, Jaclyn Pierce was elated following her victorious ride aboard Fearless Leader. She is also the owner of her outstanding mount that is under the direction of trainer Bill Bilbrey.

Kelley Weaver and Rankin County emerged victorious after the Walking Horse Trainers Auxiliary class. The big black gelding is the property of Floyd Sherman’s Backward S Ranch. Weaver’s father, Steve Aymett, assumes the training duties of the champion from his Lewisburg, Tenn., based facility.

Toby Scarbrough and his gray roan stallion, Elvis Pusher, followed up their recent win at the Mississippi State Charity Horse Show with another victory in Winchester. The reserve world grand champion duo earned the Amateur Specialty title under the Meadowbrook Farm banner. Black Hawk Farm and their team of trainers, Brock Tillman, Justin Jenne’ and Justin Harris, prepared the entry.

Last year’s Two-Year-Old Mare Champion at the TWHBEA National Futurity, Jackie O’s My Sister, made her debut in the Three-Year-Old Amateur division a blue ribbon affair. Bill Beech made the outstanding ride for the Ray Beech family. The illustrious mare is trained by Buck Williams Stables.

This highlights the Winchester Rotary Club Walking Horse Show. Complete results follow and can be seen, searched, and printed from our web site www.walkinghorsereport.com.