(Editor’s Note: The following speech was read by announcer Mark Farrar on Friday evening during the Riders’ Cup Award Presentation.)

Since it’s inception in 2005, the Riders’ Cup program has grown to be a highly competitive and respected program. To date, close to $1,000,000 has been paid out to dedicated trainers who continue to bring top horses to shows all across the country. At the beginning of 2012 the decision was made by the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association Riders’ Cup Committee to implement a pleasure division into the program to encourage trainers to bring talented stock in all divisions. Continuing with tradition in the past, both the pleasure and performance divisions were highly competitive to the end with many trainers traveling great distances to get those final Riders’ Cup points.

The winner of the 2019 Riders’ Cup Performance Division Overall title is no stranger to the show ring, winner’s circle or this title, having won it three times before. Jimmy McConnell showed in 115 classes and amassed a total of 43,390 points. We are pleased to present Jimmy with a check in the amount of $13,144.31. Coming in second and just 6,090 points shy of first was Charlie Green, the winner in 2014. Green showed in 96 classes and earned a total of 37,300 points.

The 2019 Riders’ Cup Pleasure Division Overall honor goes to Robert Nelms. He entered the ring a total of 80 times and amassing a total of 30,540 points, traveling to shows far and wide to claim the title. For his efforts, determination and persistence, we are pleased to present Robert with a check in the amount of $6,665.54. Also trekking far and wide to battle for the top position, second goes to Laurie Toone with 29,920 points.  

Next we would like to call all of the Riders’ Cup divisional sponsors to the stage for a group presentation to honor you with a token of appreciation and to applaud you for your generous support. Without each and every one of you, this program would not have been possible.

Baum Equine 
Bling Tie Affair and Patti Pollack
Circle T Stables 
Dale Steinmetz and La Patrona 
Etta James By TJB and the late Kathy Zeis
Keith & Lorraine Rosbury and Gen’s Black Maverick 
Kyle Bush & Joe Lester Stables
LaRue, Ann & Bart McWaters – Triple M Farm 
Maury County Horseman’s Association
The Andrew Waites Family
The Bob Nelms Memorial
The Celebration
The Howell Family and Southridge Farms
The Molly Walters Family
The Roberts Family
The Walking Horse Trainers’ Auxiliary
Walking Horse Association of Alabama
Winner’s Circle

The Two-Year-Old Open division was sponsored by the Andrew Waites family for the 10th year in a row.  Jordan Howell and Southridge Farms pledged their sponsorship of the Three-Year-Old Open division for the seventh year. 

Once again, the Molly Walters family sponsored both the Four-Year-Old Mare & Gelding division and the Four-Year-Old Open division. They have been a consistent part of the program since 2008.

Once again, the 15.2 & Under division was sponsored by the Walking Horse Association of Alabama in their fifth year as a sponsor for the program, while the Celebration was the sponsor for the Stake division for the 10th year.
 Keith & Lorraine Rosbury and their World Grand Champion, Gen’s Black Maverick are in their ninth year as sponsors of the Two-Year-Old Mare & Gelding division. 

Sponsoring the Three-Year-Old Mare & Gelding division this year was The Roberts Family. This is their fourth year as a sponsor for the performance division. 

FAST came in as a sponsor this year and took on three categories sponsoring the Aged Mare & Gelding division, the Lite-Shod Five & Under and the Western Park Pleasure divisions.

Winner’s Circle was happy to again sponsor the Open Specialty division. This was their fifth year as a Riders’ Cup sponsor.

The Maury County Horseman’s Association was back sponsoring the Open Show Pleasure division for their fifth year. 

The Park Performance division was sponsored for the third year by Baum Equine.

Also for the third year in a row, the Walking Horse Trainers’ Ladies Auxiliary graciously sponsored the Young Trainers/Experienced Trainers division.

Circle T Stables once again pledged their sponsorship of the Lite-Shod division. This was their fifth year to sponsor.

The Park Pleasure division was once again sponsored by Patti Pollack and her company Bling Tie Affair.

The Five & Under Trail Pleasure division was sponsored by Kyle Bush & Joe Lester Stables, while Dale Steinmetz & La Patrona sponsored the Model division. This was the third year for these sponsors.

Etta James By TJB and the late Kathy Zeis sponsored the Two & Three-Year-Old Trail Pleasure division.

For the second year in a row, the Weanling division was sponsored in Memory of Mr. Bob Nelms. Triple M Farm, LaRue, Anne & Bart McWaters sponsored the Yearling division for the second year.

Thank you to each and every one of you for helping make this program the success that it is.

Finally, we would like to call each of the Riders’ Cup divisional winners to the stage one at a time to recognize the great achievement.

Mr. For Real
I’m Pushin N Line
Jose Cold Chills
Hawk’s Miss Carmelita
Jose’s Solid Pusher
My Gin And Roses
Cash Reaction
Really Coach?
My Black Cadillac
Double Shot Of Cash
It’s Gametime
Hey Charlene 
Carolina Chrome
A Titleist Masterpiece
Everybody Calls Me Sir
A Mission Impossible
One Breath Away
A Big Reputation
The Market Maker

TUA MCF won the Two-Year-Old Open title. He was shown by Tim Smith in six Riders' Cup classes this season for Keith and Lorraine Rosbury. The team had an undefeated year winning all six performances, including the Two-Year-Old Stallions Division A World Championship to amass their point total.

Papacito, owned by Bill and Karen Bean, won the Three-Year-Old Open division. He was shown in Riders' Cup classes by Charlie Green, Jimmy McConnell and Sam Martin 10 times this season. 

Mr. For Real captured the Four-Year-Old Open division. Jimmy McConnell and Sam Martin shared the reins to earn a total of 3,170 points in nine show ring appearances. Owned by Meadows & Myers, Mr. For Real was called to the winner’s circle at the Spring Fun Show and Walking for the Angels show.

I’m Pushin N Line topped the 15.2 & Under division this again year. Tim Smith showed the grey stallion five times and amassed a total of 3,170 points. Wins for this team came at the Trainers’ Show, Spring Fun Show, Christmas In July and the Celebration. The duo also repeated their 15.2 & Under Stallions World Championship performance. I’m Pushin N Line is owned by Joe Fostek.

Jose Cold Chills won the Stake division. He was shown in a total of eight Riders’ Cup classes this season by Jimmy McConnell. Jose Cold Chills closed out the season with the championship title at the Liz’s Kids show and is owned by LaRue, Ann and Bart McWaters of Triple M Farm.

Hawk’s Miss Carmelita topped the Two-Year-Old Mare & Gelding division for owner Maureen Kesselring. Clayton Davis and Herbert Derickson shared the saddle time showing six times in Riders' Cup classes in 2019. Hawk’s Miss Carmelita walked away with wins at the Trainers’ Show, Belfast Lions Club and the North Carolina Championship.

Jose’s Solid Pusher, ridden by Jimmy McConnell and Sam Martin, won the Three-Year-Old Mare & Gelding division for owners Wayne and Debbie Simons. Jose’s Solid Pusher showed in a total of 10 Riders’ Cup classes in 2019. 

Winning the Riders’ Cup Four-Year-Old Mare & Gelding division is the team of My Gin And Roses and Casey Wright. This team showed in four Riders’ Cup Classes this season. Sammy and Gayle Cagle proudly own the champion.

Topping the Aged Mare & Gelding division is the team of Cash Reaction and Brad Beard. This duo closed out their season with eight performances and a total of 2,510 points in this division. Cash Reaction is owned by Kim Widner.

Really Coach? topped the Open Specialty division for owners Russell Enterprises and Carol Missildine. Rodney Dick showed the champion four times in Riders’ Cup Open Specialty classes. 

Benelli and Clayton Davis topped the Show Pleasure Division. The team earned this honor with two wins and four reserves this season. Benelli is owned by Champion Stables.

Samsung topped the Young Trainers/Experienced Trainers list for the second year in a row. He was shown by Bill Callaway in three Riders' Cup classes this season. Wins were earned at the Trainers’ Show, Spring Fun Show and the Celebration with a World Championship. Don and George-Ann Pratt are the proud owners.

Dulcinea won the Park Performance division for Chris Hutchinson. This is the second win in a row for Dulcinea, having claimed this same title in 2018. Dulcinea showed in Riders' Cup classes this year a total of nine times and accumulated a total of 3,760 points.

My Black Cadillac topped the Lite-Shod division for ThorSport Farm. Laurie Toone and My Black Cadillac showed 10 times in Riders' Cup classes in 2019. They ended their season with six wins.

Double Shot Of Cash won the Park Pleasure title. He was shown in eight Riders' Cup classes for Liz Gassaway. Laurie Toone directed the champion to a Reserve World Championship at the Celebration as well as six wins throughout the season.

It’s Gametime earned the Classic Park Pleasure win. Don Crum showed the champion for owner, Tammy Crum.
Hey Charlene won the Miscellaneous Pleasure division for proud owner Lindy Holt. She was shown twice this year by trainer Joe Lester to capture two blues at the Germantown Charity Horse Show.

Carolina Chrome and trainer Laurie Toone topped the Riders’ Cup Model division for the second year for proud owner Sophia Borg. This team showed 14 times and made trips to the winners’ circle two times throughout the season including a world championship.

A Titleist Masterpiece topped the Western Park Pleasure division for Champion Stables. Howard Hamilton and Patrick Thomas showed the handsome grey two times in Riders' Cup classes in 2019, walking away with a world championship.

Everybody Calls Me Sir and Robert Nelms showed six times in 2019 to claim the Weanlings division for owner Gus Richards. The duo topped the competition five times, which includes a TWHBEA National Futurity title.

The Yearlings division was won by A Mission Impossible and Marty Warren for owners Steve and Denise Smith. A Mission Impossible made nine show ring appearances and earned 4,390 points and was the 2019 Yearling World Grand Champion.

The Trail Pleasure title goes to Luciano. Owned by Lindy Holt and under the direction of Joe Lester Stables, Luciano and Bailey Momb showed in four Riders’ Cup classes to earn a total of 2,770 points.

One Breath Away and Carrie Martin showed 12 times in 2019 to earn the title of Five & Under Trail Pleasure Riders’ Cup Champion. The duo had wins at the Southern Championship Charity, Cornersville Lions Club and Wartrace shows. 

Patrick Thomas directed A Big Reputation to a win at the Trainers’ Show and a reserve world title at the Celebration to claim the Five & Under Lite-Shod title. Early in the year, the talent was owned by Justin and Amanda Manis, but finished the season under the ownership of Kimberly and Perry Walden.

Our final Riders’ Cup division is the Two & Three-Year-Old Trail Pleasure. The Market Maker claims this one with four show ring appearances in Riders’ Cup classes in 2019. Shelly Herman rode the young talent to wins at the FAST Spring Showcase and Germantown Charity. 

The final Riders’ Cup divisional award goes to the Trail Pleasure champion, After Party. After Party was shown four times by Trainer Mackenzie Morgan and is owned by Maria Redmond.