by Maggie Painter, Linda Scrivner and Sarah Smith


            MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – The 29th annual International Grand Championship Performance Walking Horse Show held another extremely successful show with 543 entries in the three-day event. In 2006 there were 573 entries and 506 entries in 2005. This show is always one of the top showcases for Tennessee Walking Horses in the country and was held Sept. 27-29 in the fabulous Tennessee Miller Coliseum. Many of the horses in competition were reigning world champions and world grand champions.

            Show Manager Tommy Hall stated that a win at the International is one of the most prestigious titles a horse can earn. “Many International Grand Champions have gone on to be World Grand Champions first, that’s the caliber of horses we have here,” Hall said.

            This year’s International featured 51 classes, 11 of which were WHTA Riders’ Cup classes. The International always has outstanding prize money to draw the best in the industry. The International Stake awarded a total purse of $11,250.

            Judges for this year’s event were Wayne Dean of Lewisburg, Tenn., Tommy Howell of Shelbyville, Tenn., and Dee Dee Sale from Lewisburg, Tenn. These judges were elected by the owners of horses shown at last year’s show. They had the difficult job of working and selecting the top horses from the extremely competitive classes.

            On Saturday evening, the spectators were treated to several exhibitions featuring 2007 World Grand Champion Master Of Jazz, 2007 15.2 and Under Owner Amateur World Grand Champion The Phantom Menace, 2007 Four-Year-Old World Grand Champion Jose’s All Pro and 2007 Two-Year-Old World Grand Champion Arm’s Deal For Real.

            Five outstanding entries answered the gate call in this year’s stake competition to vie for the coveted tricolor ribbon and floral horseshoe. They worked hard to earn the impressive title of International Grand Champion.

            The stake entries were called in one-by-one with the crowd’s cheers and approval for their favorite. This year’s stake entries included World Grand Champion Santana’s El Nino and Link Webb, World Grand Champion Private Charter and Knox Blackburn, World Grand Champion Star and Jackie McConnell, World Champion Busting Special and Jimmy McConnell and ADA2D and Bill Bobo.

            The judges’ selection for the top honor was the crowd-pleasing team of Santana’s El Nino and Link Webb. Reserve in this competitive class were Private Charter and Knox Blackburn. The third position was awarded to Star and Jackie McConnell.




            Thursday evening of the International started off with a bang. The Riders’ Cup classes were brimming with talented horses with hard-riding trainers trying to earn those last minute points in the final shows of the year.

            The first show of the evening was the 17-entry Riders’ Cup Two-Year-Old Mare and Gelding class. John Allan Callaway directed Jose’s Ritzy Doll to make the victory pass for C & C Stables, LLC. Underlined and Philip Trimble were reserve for Jody and Kim Jacobs.

            Next came the Adult Equitation Canter class. After the entries worked each way of the ring, Mikenzie Brown was called from the line up to accept the blue ribbon awards. Alex Bumpus also made a superb show to exit with the red streamer.

            The Walking Pony Amateur Riders 18 and Over Specialty class was next to enter the ring. The ring was full of head-shaking and talented ponies. The team of I’m Packin A Pistol and Charlene Gibson were selected unanimously for the blue. Jeff Hatcher proudly trains this talented stallion that currently leads the WHR High Point Stake division. The second place ribbon went to Jacked Up and Lee Wall for Wall and McGartland under Formac Stables’ guidance.

             Current World Champion Zulu and Suzanne Moore were outstanding and claimed the blue ribbon ride for Bud Moore in the 16-entry Ladies Amateur Show Pleasure class. Knox Blackburn prepared this team for the winning ride. Editorial Page and June Hawkins accepted the red streamer under the guidance of Rollie Beard Stables.

            Jackie Byrom directed JFK’s Top Aide down victory land in the Open Park Performance Specialty class following a superb ride for Dan and Sally Reilly. Graciously accepting the second place award were Jeff Green and Poor Boy’s Pusher for Dean and Ann Barnes.

            The next class of the evening was the 26-entry WHTA Riders’ Cup Three-Year-Old Mare and Gelding class. Jackie McConnell directed Ozone Magic to the blue for Beverly Sherman. Second place was awarded to My Reckless Endangerment and Knox Blackburn for 4-J Land and Cattle Co.

            Kelly Sherman and World Grand Champion Papa’s Smoking Pusher captured the coveted ride to the winner’s circle in the 13-entry Amateur Ladies Mare and Gelding class for Floyd Sherman. Triple C Stables prepared this great team. A close reserve in this great class went to Market Watch and Cindy Sullivan for Rick and Cindy Sullivan.

            Capturing the blue in the WHTA Riders’ Cup Four-Year-Old Mare and Gelding class was the team of Grand Sweepstakes and Herbert Derickson. The Alan Riddley family are the proud owners of Grand Sweepstakes. Second place went to Cashin In At Sundown and Mike Civils for James and Betty Corlew.

            Walking away victorious in the 12-entry Novice Amateur Specialty class was Firestone’s Choice, directed by Mike Hooper for the Firehouse Gang. Capturing the reserve honor was the pair of Don Diego and Lorraine Rosbury for Keith and Lorraine Rosbury under the David Landrum Stables banner.

            Walking their way to the winner’s circle in the WHTA Riders’ Cup Two-Year-Old Stallion and Gelding class of 20 entries was the newly purchased Armed And Electrifying with Mickey McCormick in the irons for Michael and Becky Coleman. Walking away with the red streamers was Show Of Jazz with Joe Martin aboard for Gus King.

            Next on the agenda was the Owner Amateur Rider Specialty class where great entries competed for the International blue ribbon. Emerging from the line up with the unanimous blue ribbon win was the trio of Cavenar, Wilsene Moody and Whitney Davis. Cavenar is trained by Whitter Stables. Second place was awarded to Bold’s Atlantis and Ricky Manser for Andy and Lynn Rippy.

            The Park Performance Four and Under class proved to be an exciting class with 11 top entries. The pair that was awarded this honor made an outstanding ride to claim the title. Current World Champions Silver On The Line and Spencer Benedict were called from the line up to receive their awards unanimously for Austin Benedict. Second place went to Cash In On Major and Robby Black for Evergreen Walking Horse Farm.

            In the WHTA Riders’ Cup 15.2 and Under class, Jose’s Emblem and Herbert Derickson claimed the victory unanimously for Pleasant Hill Farm. The runners up in this class were Skywatch’s Masterpiece and John Allan Callaway for Bill Hill.

            Dr. Jim Baum directed High Jacked to a unanimous victory pass in the Men’s Amateur Specialty Mare and Gelding class for Lisa Baum. Barbie and Chuck Cheek showcased their talent to get the red ribbon for Donna Burnham Thompson.

            The WHTA Riders’ Cup Junior Stallion and Gelding class is always a popular class. After working both ways of the ring, Command Again and Knox Blackburn were the duo that captured the title for What A Blessing Farm. Let’s Rumble and Joel Weaver were reserve for Rising Star Ranch, LLC.

            I’m Infamous and Jack Heffington made the trip into the winner’s circle for the Amateur Specialty Stallion and Gelding class under the Link Webb Stables’ banner. Escalade and Wilsene Moody were reserve for Opal Moody under the guidance of Whitter Stables.

            A Dangerous Decision and Jimmy McConnell made the unanimous victory pass in the 20-entry WHTA Rider’s Cup Three-Year-Old Stallion and Gelding class for Wall and McGartland in the final class of the evening. Jose Picasso and Link Webb were second for James and Peggy Vernon.






The Friday evening performance proved to be yet another exciting one filled with large classes of very competitive and top quality entries. The judges made four unanimous ties during the night.

            The first class called to the ring was the Two-Year-Old Amateur Mare and Gelding class. It was the team of Madamosielle Pusher and Michele Mercier that was called to the winner’s circle. Madamosielle Pusher is owned by Melton and Latithia Oran. Reserve in the large class went to A Major In Business and Pam Betts. Latithia Oran also claimed an International Blue ribbon on Friday night riding her World Champion mount, Sensational Premier to the blue in the Amateur 50 and Over class. Command And Control and Sheryl Crawford were second.

Reigning Fine Harness World Champions, Good Time Freddie and Justin Harris claimed yet another blue for Jeanne Harrison in the Open Fine Harness class. Scott Beaty drove Clutch’s Power Play to the red award.

            Kelly Sherman and He’s Out A Sight claimed the blue in the Three-Year-Old Amateur Stallion and Gelding class. A Dangerous Decision and Lee Wall were the reserve winners in the class. Next to the ring was the Amateur Gentleman Show Pleasure. Pushin My Pride and Jack Bolozky were called to the winner’s circle. Reserve honors in the class went to the team of Beamin Dollar and Gene Means.

Paige Bennett showed off her perfect equitation form to claim the blue in the Youth Equitation 17 and Under Canter class. Stephanie Smith rode to the red award. Dr. Jim Baum and The Ultra Doc claimed the top award in the Amateur Owned and Trained class. Pushin Pickle and Jerry Graves were second.

            Knox Blackburn directed Silverado Spirit to top honors in the Open Specialty class for David and Erin Graf. Jackie McConnell and Escalade claimed the reserve tie in the class. Gin And Juice carried Miles Irby to the blue in the Two-Year-Old Amateur Stallion and Gelding class. Riding to reserve was Jose’s Mucho Lucho and Jerome Cole.

Gen’s Color Me In and Bill Bobo claimed top honors in the Aged Mare and Gelding class for the Dr. Jim Baum family. The Family Jewels and Buck Williams were second in the large class. Greg Cass rode Gunboat to the blue in the Four-Year-Old Mare and Gelding class. Stacey Blackburn and The Provider were awarded the red ribbon.

            The WHOA Youth Challenge brought six top entries to the show ring. Pushover’s Dreamaker and Jacob Kelley made the victory ride for Linda Atkinson. Riding to the second place tie was I’m Casanova and Amy Nesius.

I’m Packin A Pistol carried Charlene Gibson to their second International blue in the 15.2 and Under Amateur Specialty class. Highway Robbery and Betty Corlew rode to the reserve award. JFK’s Top Aide and owner Sally Reiley made the victory pass in the Amateur Park Performance class. Central Command and Jimmy Reddy were second.

All In and Mike Inman continued to rack up blues in the Four-Year-Old Amateur Stallion and Gelding class. Simply José and Debbie Myers claimed the red ribbon.        

            David Landrum and Virginia Stewart shared the reins aboard Brother Splash to earn the blue in the Pro-Am class. New York New York with Terry Lowman and Brad Davis, each working one way of the ring, claimed second. World Champion, I’m Louie Armstrong and proud owner Cena Martin closed out the Friday evening performance with their victory pass in the Three-Year-Old Amateur Mare and Gelding class. Go JoJo and Sarah Moersch were reserve.









            The final performance of the International Grand Championship Horse Show began with a large class of excited stick horse entries. Two lead line competitors earned blue ribbons in the second class of the night.

            The first official class of the evening was the Youth Equitation 11 and Under. Kaitlyn Rippy was selected unanimously to exit the ring following an excellent performance.

            Ben Harrell drove current World Champion Clutch’s Power Play to the Amateur Fine Harness unanimous title under Scott Beaty’s guidance. Touch My Way and Sheila Bullington claimed reserve in the class.

            The 11-entry James Corlew Chevrolet WHTA Riders’ Cup Two-Year Old Championship was the next group of exhibitors to make the gate call. Jackie McConnell and Cash In Motown claimed all the honors. Out All Night and John Allan Callaway made the reserve victory pass in the talented class.

Rae Shumate Tyson walked to the winner’s circle aboard Jose’s Vengeance in the 16-entry Youth 11 and Under Championship under Finish Line Farm’s banner. Benjamin Bowen rode current World Champion Sanman to the red award. Webb Stables prepared this team for the show ring. 

            World Grand Champion The Great Escape and Jackie McConnell earned the top award unanimously in the 11-entry International Show Pleasure Specialty Championship just as he did in 2006 for owner Camille Akin. Freak Design and Leigh Bennett took home reserve honors. 

Bebopper and Patti Gray claimed an International blue ribbon in the Ladies Auxiliary class with 10 top teams. Hydrostatic and Rhea Ellen Webb walked away with the red ribbon for Jim and Sharon Richmond.

            The team of Absolute Proof and Bill Callaway walked their way to the Waterfall Farms WHTA Riders’ Cup Three-Year-Old Championship tricolor ribbon and roses. Cadillac’s Bum and Jimmy McConnell were crowned reserve champions in the class. Paige Bennett made her presence known in the Equitation Canter Championship as she unanimously won her second blue of the show. Stephanie Smith claimed reserve.

            World Grand Champion Master’s Gunsmoke and Jacob Baum repeated their 2006 victory and won the Youth Ponies class for Dr. Jim Baum. Raise A Ruckus and Caitlin Koszuta made the reserve ride in the class. 

Straight Line carried Jeff Green to the winner’s circle in the Park Performance Specialty Championship for Carolyn DeLeon. King George’s Dollar and Philip Trimble earned reserve honors in the class for Dwayne Sullivan.

            Barracuda and Mary Medina unanimously captured the Amateur Specialty Three Riders To Judge class under the Formac Stables’s banner. Major Miss Understood and Chris Harwell claimed reserve honors for Neill, Harwell, West and Womack.

The International Youth Championship was the next class to enter the show ring with 12 teams answering the gate call. Chad Cotten directed Pusher’s Midnight Delight to the blue under the direction of Landrum Stables. Cotten was very proud of his first set of roses. Lilly Waites and The Dance Hall Doctor were named reserve champions under Rising Star Ranch’s banner.

            Jazzed Up and Brenda Bramlett were named International Amateur Specialty Champions unanimously for Bramlett and Wilson. Papa’s Smoking Pusher and Kelly Sherman were crowned reserve champions from Triple C Stables at Backward S Ranch.

Knox Blackburn and The Who made the victory pass in the Hartland Farms WHTA Riders’ Cup Four-Year-Old Championship for the Anthony Joseph family.

            World Grand Champion Zulu and Suzanne Moore made the victory pass in the Amateur Show Pleasure Championship unanimously for Bud Moore and trainer Knox Blackburn. The Lieutenant Colonel with Lou Anne Jennings was reserve.

            Empire Maker and Cindy Sullivan won the roses in the International Amateur Canter Grand Championship under the guidance of Link Webb Stables for Gradie Thornton. Watch For Glory and Erica Derickson were second for Erica and Maria Derickson.

            The final class of the evening brought top entries to the show ring. The team of  World Grand Champion Santana’s El Nino and Link  Webb were crowned Young Motors WHTA Riders’ Cup International Grand Champions for Michael and Ann Jones. World Grand Champion Private Charter and Knox Blackburn received second for Bud Moore. Current World Champion Star with Jackie McConnell in the irons claimed third for Opal Moody.

            Complete results follow and can be viewed at