by Jennifer Maack-Condren

SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. - The 34th annual Ozark Festival Charity Horse Show was held in Siloam Springs, Ark., May 10, 2008. The beautiful Equestrian Bridges at Twin Springs facility was the host for this show that has traditionally been held in Bentonville and later Fayetteville. The Northwest Arkansas Gaited Horse Club’s members donate many hours to organize and participate in this show. Walking horses, racking horses and Missouri Foxtrotters made up the entries for the two-performance event. Benjie Wagoner from Bethel Springs, Tenn., took on the task of judging the walking horses.

A drastic reduction of entries was noted due to the rainfall that occurred earlier in the week as well as the weather threat that existed on Saturday. But for those who did brave the elements, it was well worth the trip.

The ribbon tally was pretty evenly dispersed with the Leonard’s Stables of Huntington, Ark., McDougal Stables of Lowell, Ark., Brad Huffman Stables of Billings, Mo., and Jim Huffman Stables of Ozark, Mo., all taking a trio of blue ribbons home. Ted and Glenda Nichols earned a pair of blues. Phillip Curlee earned an individual blue in walking horse classes but dominated the racking horse classes.

The final gate call of the show was for the Walking Horse Championship class with PJ’s Pusher and Brad Huffman emerging victorious for their third win in as many shows for owner Dean Scott.

Raincoats at the Ozark Festival are becoming as much of a tradition as hats are at Derby Day. But the rain and severe weather threats didn’t dampen the feelings of accomplishment by the show management and members of the Northwest Arkansas Gaited Horse Club. This is one of the most active horse clubs on the Midwest circuit and they should be proud of their accomplishments with this fine show. They are currently making plans to expand this event back into a multi-day show.

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