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Retirement Ceremony in Celebration Style

On Sept. 11, 2010, at the 84th annual Bland County Fair Horse Show, once again the Speed Racking Class was won by Mr. Bocephus and Eric Johnson, rider and trainer, for owner Garnie Kennedy.

Immediately following his final win, the Kennedy and Johnson families announced the retirement of Mr. Bocephus from speed racking. After receiving his blue ribbon, a Celebration style retirement ceremony commenced, that had Kennedy, Johnson, their families and fans wiping tears, Mr. Bocephus made his final walk around the big oval ring wearing a beautiful red sequined cooler with his name in white on a blue background. As Mr. Bocephus was led by Johnson and followed by Kennedy and his granddaughter Kayla, show organist Jane Frye played “Memories” as show announcer Gene Frye read the following about the horse:

“Garnie Kennedy, Eric Johnson and their families would like to announce the retirement of Mr. Bocephus from Speed Racking. He is now 22-years-old and they feel it is time for a break from the more intense performance classes. Mr. Bocephus was born on the Kennedy farm on June 1, 1988 and that has remained his home, except for being kept at Johnson Stables during the show season.

It has truly been a pleasure for owner Kennedy and rider/trainer Johnson, to show Mr. Bocephus in speed racking. Kennedy and Johnson would like to thank all the fans for their support and compliments over the years as they have cheered his performances at the Bland County Fair Show.
Johnson has been showing Mr. Bocephus for about 17 years and won blue ribbons too numerous to count in Virginia and the surrounding states of West Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee. They were speed racking champions in shows at Java, Chatham, Figsboro, Ivanhoe, Fries and the Tazewell County Classic in Virginia as well as Spanishburg and Peterstown, W. Va. and Sparta, N.C. He also won the Virginia Walking & Racking Horse Show in New London and was the Reserve World Speed Racking Champion at the United Racking Horse Owners & Exhibitors Association World Champion Show at White Pine, Tenn.

Kennedy, Johnson and their families would like to thank God for blessing them with such a wonderful, one-of-a-kind horse. Kayla Kennedy will take up the reins and continue to show Mr. Bocephus in other classes. In future annual Bland County Fair Horse Shows a Speed Racking trophy will be presented to the winner in honor of Mr. Bocephus. Thank you.”

This is the first retirement ceremony ever held in the history of the Bland County Fair Horse Show.


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