by Linda Scrivner

ANDALUSIA, Ala. - The South Alabama Charity Horse Show concluded its first year with 300 top entries in Andalusia, Ala. The new show was hosted by the Pilot Club of Andalusia. Show management was thrilled with the exceptional numbers and quality of this new show. They felt that the WHTA Riders Cup was a big asset in bringing the trainers, owners, and outstanding horses to their show.

The show was held at the premier Covington Center Arena. Most of the facility's 252 stalls were full during the two-day event, held March 11-12. Walking judge Brock Tillman and racking judge Mary Alice Bohanan marked the cards for the 47-class show.

Pilot International was founded in Macon, Ga., in 1921. It is a volunteer organization of executive, business and professional leaders working together to improve the quality of life in communities throughout the world by serving those with brain-related disorders and disabilities.

Eugene Carbine president of the Walking Horse Association of Alabama welcomed everyone to the show with the following statement:

“We hope you have a safe trip, an enjoyable stay and a successful and profitable show. The ultimate winners will be those who show and the youngsters who benefit from the show proceeds. I want to express my sincere appreciation to our members, sponsors and advertisers for their support and to each exhibitor and spectator as well. Thank you for attending and we hope to see you for the 2006 show as well. Enjoy the show!”

The WHTA Riders Cup Walking Horse Stake Championship served as the show's finale. The announcer called five entries in one at a time and the intensity grew as the class progressed. Judge Tillman selected the walking, head-shaking bay roan stallion Rainbow Of Colors to wear the roses. Tim Smith was in the irons for Andalusia owners, G.L. and Beverly McNeill. The McNeills and their daughter, Shirley, who worked many hours to make this show a success, enjoyed seeing several of their horses show. Of course, winning the stake, made it all the more special.

Another excellent team was Wired & Walking and Link Webb who earned the reserve position for the Jeff Bryant family of Henegar, Ala. Both pairs had large cheering sections in this crowd pleasing finale.

Third place in the championship went to Bill Cantrell and U C I’m Ultra Gold, who made a flawless show. Cantrell and Warr of Phenix City, Ala., proudly own this horse whom they raised on a bottle.

Cantrell Stables also led the blue ribbon tally at the show. They returned home with six Andalusia blues. Tim Smith Stables earned four blue ribbons while Nathan Clark of Clark Farms and Webb Stables earned three blues apiece. Those winning dual blues were Doug Barnes, Spencer Benedict Stables, Jamie Bradshaw, Derickson Stables, Robert Nelms and Tommy Warren of Trimble Stables.

Under the direction of Bill Cantrell, Miss Silver Mtn. and Torie Jeffcoat are making quite a name for themselves. Jeffcoat followed up her two-year-old amateur win at Starkville, Miss., with another victory on Friday night in the same division. The gray mare, sired by Silver Design, returned Saturday night with Cantrell in the irons to make the victory pass in the WHTA Riders Cup Two-Year-Old Mare and Gelding class.

Jeffcoat returned Saturday evening aboard Kevlar and won the 11-entry 12-17 Youth Specialty title, also. It was hard to tell who was more excited, her parents, Torie or Dee and Bill Cantrell.

Jimmy Grant also captured the blue in the 15.2 and Under Amateur Specialty class aboard his entry, George Walker Bush. Also hailing from Cantrell Stables, Dr. Linda Jones and Mighty Brew made one of their best shows to date. They claimed the 10-entry Ladies Amateur Specialty class title.

With his riders taken care of, Cantrell created a little excitement of his own. Cantrell won the very competitive WHTA Riders Cup Three-Year-Old Stallion class aboard Impressive Motion. During this class, the rail was packed several deep and everyone was on the edge of their seats from start to finish.

Tim Smith Stables' four blues included the championship stake. The other three blues were from Friday night. Sarah Smith claimed the Alabama Ladies Auxiliary Specialty blue with Himself. Himself, who is big roan gelding, is one of her (and her students who ride him) favorites. One of the most talked about horses at the show was Dr. In Command. Red Etheredge directed her to the top of the 10-entry Three-Year-Old Amateur Mare and Gelding class.

The show pleasure classes were the two largest classes of the show. Tim Smith directed Titanium Touch to the blue in the 15-entry Show Pleasure Specialty class for owners G.L. and Beverly McNeill. They added this victory to their win last week at Starkville, Miss.

Nathan Clark-trained horses won a trio of blues in Andalusia. The final class Friday evening was the 10-entry Open Specialty class. Clark directed Major Cigar to the victory pass for Ronnie and Jennifer Woodward. Major Cigar is known mostly for his many wins with Barclay Woodward in the juvenile classes. Woodward was there cheering his trainer on during this class.

Hot & Busted and owner Kelly Lokey were the number one team in the Four-Year-Old Amateur Specialty class under Clark’s guidance. The team's third blue was won by Clark in the WHTA Riders Cup Three-Year-Old Mares and Geldings aboard Nashville Skyline. This was Nashville Skyline’s debut performance.

Megan Mozeley claimed the first of the three blues for Webb Stables in the Youth Walking Pony Specialty with Pusher’s General. On Saturday night, Webb won dual blues himself. He proudly won the highly anticipated WHTA Riders Cup Two-Year-Old Stallion class aboard Contendo for happy owners Bob and Linda Ramsbottom. Webb later directed current world champion Sanman to the blue in the Aged Mare and Gelding class.

On Friday, Doug Barnes claimed the Park Pleasure Specialty title with Hermano Gold. Bob Lawrence returned with him to win a second blue in the Park Pleasure Amateur Specialty class.

Spencer Benedict made the long trip from Glasgow, Ky., and returned home with two blues. Once again, Benedict and Spirit’s Gem claimed a Limited Performance Specialty class victory. Newton Park catch rode Prime’s Rainstorm for Benedict on Saturday and won the 15-entry Amateur Show Pleasure Specialty title.

Jamie Bradshaw always does a great job with Randall and Martha Ferguson’s horses. Friday night, he directed current world champion Jose’s Intimidator down victory lane in the Four-Year-Old class. Whitney Ferguson made everyone proud when she captured the blue in her show ring debut. She claimed the championship in the Youth 11 and Under with Wire Me Up.

Watch For Glory claimed dual blues for the Herbert Derickson Training Facility. Erica Derickson first garnered the TWHBEA Youth Medallion class Friday night, followed by Herbert Derickson's victory in the WHTA Riders Cup 15.2 and Under Mare and Gelding class Saturday evening.

Robert Nelms always has top stock in the halter divisions and it looks like he’s starting 2005 where he left off in 2004. He made a clean sweep of both of the halter classes; he first won the Weanling with Jolie Jolie. Two classes later, Nelms returned with world champion Aerial Assault to take top honors in the Yearling class. Both colts are owned by Mitzi Butler and Lisa Teel of Andalusia, Ala.

A Golden Dollar made a debut performance with Jeff Mitchell up in the Three-Year-Old Amateur Stallions. Tommy Warren of Trimble Stables trains A Golden Dollar, a.k.a. “Train Wreck." Train Wreck was seriously injured when he was younger and at one point, they were not sure he could even be ridden or shown. But there he was, with a scar or two from his injuries, making a glorious victory pass. Clay Sanderson and Pride’s Touchtone rose to the top of the Open Amateur, Canter class, under the guidance of Warren.

The remaining blues were won by many hard working individuals. Brianna Hawk and Eb’s Mean Machine were crowned Local All Breed Pleasure champions.

The Trail Pleasure Specialty was won by Rocky Top Rainbow and Jean Brannon.

Twelve entries answered the gate call in the Men’s Amateur Specialty class. John Furline and his Elvis Pusher rode away with the blue in this class.

Poison At Midnight and Melissa Tittle added another Amateur Specialty Lite-Shod title to their resume.

Bonnie Powell and Shez 24-Kt Gold were victorious in the Amateur Specialty 50 and Over class from Taylor Farms.

Greg Pate, who was on crutches for part of the show after diving from the fence to assist a rider, won the WHTA Riders Cup 15.2 and Under Stallions class aboard Generator’s Mountain.

Bart McWaters directed Dollar’s Lady In Black to the top of the Lite-Shod Specialty class with a flawless show.

Newton Parks took time from his job and his twins to win the Amateur Owned and Trained Specialty class aboard Gen’s Thundermaker in a very nice class.

This concludes the highlights from the first South Alabama Charity Horse Show. Plans are already under way for 2006 and show management hopes to see even more exhibitors next year.