Editors 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, over $900,000 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 2018 Riders’ Cup Performance Division Overall title is new to the program and has definitely put in the miles to earn this honor. Clayton Davis showed in 148 classes and amassed a total of 51,630 points. We are pleased to present Clayton with a check in the amount of $12,953.38. Coming in second and just 3,800 points shy of first was Jimmy McConnell the winner in 2017. McConnell showed in 119 classes and earned a total of 47,830 points.

For the fifth year in a row, the 2018 Riders’ Cup Pleasure Division Overall honor goes to Jeff Laughlin. He entered the ring a total of 81 times, almost double the number of classes it took to secure the honor in 2017, traveling to shows far and wide to claim the title. For his efforts, determination and persistence, we are pleased to present Jeff with a check in the amount of $6,164.62. Showing in just one fewer class than Jeff, and also trekking far and wide to battle for the top position, second goes to Robert Nelms with 34,010 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 
Circle T Stables 
Dale Steinmetz and La Patrona 
Keith & Lorraine Rosbury and Gen’s Black Maverick 
Kyle Bush & Joe Lester Stables
Main Gait Farm
Maury County Horseman’s Association
Quality Exteriors Construction & Jordan Howell
The Andrew Waites Family
The Celebration
The Harold Roberts Family
The Molly Walters Family
The Walking Horse Trainers’ Auxiliary
Walking For The Angels
Walking Horse Association of Alabama
Winner’s Circle

The Two-Year-Old Open division was sponsored by the Andrew Waites family for the ninth year in a row. 

Quality Exteriors pledged their sponsorship of the Three-Year-Old Open division for the sixth 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 fourth year as a sponsor for the program, while the Celebration was the sponsor for the Stake division for the ninth year.

Keith & Lorraine Rosbury and their World Grand Champion, Gen’s Black Maverick are in their eighth year as sponsors of the Two-Year-Old Mare & Gelding division. 

Sponsoring the Three-Year-Old Mare & Gelding division this year was the Harold Roberts family. This is their third year as a sponsor for the performance division. 

Walking For The Angels Horse Show was back for their fourth year sponsoring the Aged Mare & Gelding division.

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

The Columbia Spring Jubilee Horse Show was back sponsoring the Open Show Pleasure division for their fourth year. 

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

For the second 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 fourth year to sponsor.

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

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

Main Gait Farm sponsored the Two-Year-Old Trail Pleasure Division in their second year as Riders’ Cup sponsors.

This year the Weanling Division was sponsored in Memory of Mr. Bob Nelms. Triple M Farm, LaRue, Anne & Bart McWaters stepped up to sponsor the Yearling Division. Also a new sponsor this year was Kathy Zeis and her multi-titled Champion, Etta James By TJB, they sponsored the Trail Pleasure Division.

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.

• Coach Belichick, owned by the Roberts Family

• Streamlined, owned by Ann & Chris Mills

• Fly Dragonfly, owned by Barnes & Farris

• I’m Pushin N Line, owned by Joe Fostek

• Master’s Razzle And Jazz, owned by the Alan Riddley Family

• HRH Princess Charlotte, owned by Jerry Knotts

• Beiga Cheval, owned by McGee & Dickerson

• ICloud, owned by Danielle Ricker

• Extra Special Jose, owned by Sammy & Gayle Cagle

• I’m Handsome Jimmy Valiant, owned by Ronnie & Beth Reed

• Title Sweepstake, owned by S & P, LLC

• Samsung, owned by Don & George-Ann Pratt

• Dulcinea, owned by Chris Hutchinson

• Lil Wayne, owned by Jeff Gillespie

• Dose’, owned by the Roberts Family

• Eye On The Title, owned by Lisa Baum

• Blacklist, owned by Kathy Zeis

• Carolina Chrome, owned by Sophia Borg

• Boston Bay, owned by Jeff Gillespie

• A One A, owned by Brad Tuttle

• Ten Times Your Money, owned by Denise Smith

• Pistol’s Senorita, owned by Vickie Penick

• After Party, owned by Maria Redmond

Coach Belichick won the Two-Year-Old Open title. He was shown by Blaise Broccard of Chad Williams Stables in eight Riders' Cup classes this season for the Roberts Family. The team captured three wins and four reserves, including the Two-Year-Old Stallions Division C World Championship to amass their point total.

Streamlined, owned by Ann and Chris Mills, won the Three-Year-Old Open division. He was shown in Riders' Cup classes by Dale Watts of Dale Watts Stables 10 times this season. They walked away with a wins at the FAST Spring Showcase and the Cajun Classic and were reserve at three other shows during the year. 

Next up, Fly Dragonfly captured the Four-Year-Old Open division. Jimmy McConnell and Sam Martin of Formac Stables shared the reins to earn a total of 4,370 points in nine show ring appearances. Owned by the partnership of Barnes & Farris, Fly Drangonfly was called to the winners’ circle at the Columbia Spring Jubilee, Cornersville Lions Club, Money Tree Fall Classic and the Alabama Jubilee.

I’m Pushin’ N Line topped the 15.2 & Under division this year. Tim Smith of Legacy Stables showed the grey stallion five times and was undefeated in the 15.2 & Under division this season for a total of 3,400 points. Joe Fostek is the proud owner.

Master’s Razzle And Jazz won the Stake division. He was shown in a total of six Riders’ Cup classes this season by Herbert Derickson of 4 The Glory Farm. This team had championship wins at the FAST Spring Showcase, Christmas In July, North Carolina Championships and was the Division B Aged Stallion World Championship at the 2018 Celebration. The Alan Riddley Family owns this championship contender. 

HRH Princess Charlotte topped the Two-Year-Old Mare & Gelding division for owner Jerry Knotts. Clayton Davis of Abernathy Stables and HRH Princess Charlotte showed nine times in Riders' Cup classes in 2018, walking away with wins at Laurel Charity, FAST Spring Showcase, Spring Fun Show, Christmas In July and the WHTA Thanksgiving Classic.

Beiga Cheval, ridden by Herbert Derickson, won the Three-Year-Old Mare & Gelding division for owners Tommy McGee and Carol Dickerson. Beiga Cheval and Derickson showed in a total of 11 Riders’ Cup classes in 2018. 

Winning the Riders’ Cup Four-Year-Old Mare & Gelding division is the team of iCloud and Herbert Derickson. This team showed in seven Riders’ Cup classes this season for proud owner Danielle Ricker.

Topping the Aged Mare & Gelding division is the team of Extra Special Jose and Casey Wright of Wright Stables. This duo closed out their undefeated season with four wins and a total of 2,800 points in this division. Extra Special Jose is owned by Sammy and Gayle Cagle.

I’m Handsome Jimmy Valiant and Brad Beard of Brad Beard Stables topped the Open Specialty division for the second year in a row for owners Ronnie and Beth Reed. This team showed eight times in Riders’ Cup Open Specialty classes. 

Title Sweepstake and Tim Smith topped the Show Pleasure division. The team earned this honor with four wins and three reserves including the Show Pleasure Mares & Geldings World Championship. Title Sweepstake is owned by S & P, LLC. 

Samsung topped the Young Trainers/Experienced Trainers list. He was shown by Bill Callaway of Callaway Stables in three Riders' Cup classes this season. Wins were earned at the Spring Fun Show, Tunica Fall Classic and at the Celebration with another world championship title. Don and George-Ann Pratt are the proud owners.

Dulcinea won the Park Performance division for Chris Hutchinson. Dulcinea and Clay Sanderson of Trimble Stables showed in Riders' Cup classes this year a total of 11 times. The duo had wins at the Alabama Summer Classic, Parker’s Crossroads and the Tunica Fall Classic and accumulated a total of 4,600 points.

Once again Lil Wayne topped the Lite-Shod division for Jeff Gillespie. Jeff Laughlin of Finish Line Farm and Lil Wayne showed 11 times in Riders' Cup classes and ended their season with six wins.

Dose’ won the Park Pleasure title. He was shown in six Riders' Cup classes for the Roberts Family. Patrick Thomas of Southern Serenity Ranch directed the champion to a world championship at the Celebration as well as wins at the National Trainers’ Show, Spring Fun Show and Woodbury Lions Club.

Eye On The Title won the Miscellaneous Pleasure division for proud owner Lisa Baum. He was shown only one time this year by trainer Hannah Myatt of Myatt Manor to capture the blue at the North Carolina Championships.

Blacklist topped the Four & Under Trail Pleasure division for owner Kathy Zeis. Carrie Martin of Carrie Martin Training rode Blacklist to six Riders’ Cup blues this season, including a divisional world championship and reserve divisional world grand championship.

Carolina Chrome and trainer Laurie Toone of Circle T Stables topped both the Riders’ Cup Model division and the Four & Under Lite-Shod division for owner Sophia Borg. In the two divisions, this team showed 15 times and made trips to the winner’s circle six times throughout the season and competed in six different states to earn these honors.

Boston Bay topped the Western Park Pleasure division for owner Jeff Gillespie. Jeff Laughlin and Boston Bay showed two times in Riders' Cup classes this season, walking away with a world championship title.

A One A and Robert Nelms of Nelms Training Center showed five times in 2018 to claim the Weanlings division for owner Brad Tuttle. The duo topped the competition three times, earned a reserve TWHBEA National Futurity title and a reserve world championship.

The Yearlings division was won by Ten Times Your Money and Marty Warren of Ravenswood Farm for owner Denise Smith. Ten Times Your Money made nine show ring appearances and earned 4,670 points, more than 2,000 points ahead of second place.

Vickie Penick’s, Pistol’s Senorita and Jeff Laughlin showed four times in 2018 to earn the title of the Two-Year-Old Trail Pleasure Riders’ Cup Champion. 

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.