by K.C. Hensley

TAMPA, Fla. - On Oct. 17-18 the Florida Walking and Racking Association held their annual State Championship Horse Show. The judge for the evening was Leigh Bennett of Alvaton, Ky. The show benefited the Hillsborough Rough Riders Handicapped Riding Program. In the two days of the show an amazing 89 classes were scheduled. Several of this year’s classes were won by amateur owned and trained combinations. Although the majority of the show’s exhibitors were from Florida, a combination of the states was represented with horses from Georgia and Tennessee. Push My Score, a 2003 world champion, and Jeanette Kuszlyk topped the charts in Tampa by winning the Park Pleasure Grand Championship.

Walking away with the most blues from this year’s Tampa horse show was the prestigious Hard Rock Farm with trainer Sheryl Skala-Carl of Willston, Fla. Hard Rock Farm's total number of blues came to a phenomenal 15 class winners. Oz, Your Wish Is My Command, Pro-Stock, Courageous and I'll Take Manhattan are just a few of the talented horses that made up Hard Rock Farm's line-up. Of the 15 classes that Hard Rock Farm won, five of those classes included championship roses!

Rebecca Reynolds of Jupiter, Fla., was responsible for taking home eight blues from the Florida State Championships. The two horses that Reynolds did most of her competing on were Generator's Code Blue and Genius In Motion. Generator's Code Blue and Rebecca Reynolds did win the Western Lite-Shod Specialty class along with several reserves and other top ribbons.

The McKeehan family also left their mark in Tampa by taking home seven blues. This family showed definite diversity of breeds during the show. From walking to racking to spotted, the McKeehan family did well overall. Threat's Banchee, one of the family's racking horses, surpassed the competition in the Trail Pleasure Racking class. The Grave Digger was victorious in the Model Stallions class for the McKeehan family.

Blue Ribbon Stables of Shelbyville, Tenn., probably came the farthest to the show this year. They also got to haul five blues and two sets of roses all the way back to Tennessee.

Mr. Burl Dale of Delray Beach, Fla. also won his fair share of the blues. He took home four blues and one set of championship roses. Dale's set of roses was actually won by Courtney Thomas aboard Double Dare Ya in the Youth Trail Pleasure class.

Tracy Pinson of Bushnell, Fla., walked away with four blues. Pinson was one of the most versatile exhibitors at this year’s Florida State Championships competing well in a variety of classes including different divisions. Pinson competed in Racking Flat-Shod classes, Walking Trail Pleasure classes, Lite-Shod classes and even the Water Glass class.

Trainer Wayne Conkle of Bushnell, Fla., captured three blues during the competition. Conkle's wins included the Walking Show Pleasure Specialty with Misty Arm's Triple T and Weldon Vineyard, the Western Plantation Pleasure Specialty with E-Z Rider and Henry's Walking Tall and Kathleen Hetherman.

Owner/rider Darren Gray exhibited well enough to go home to Clermont, Fla., with three additional blues to his career list of wins with Mr. Reach and The Eliteist.

Anita Rees of Fort Valley, Ga., also earned her own bragging rights to take back to the Peach State. She won three classes including the Amateur Owned and Trained Lite Shod Specialty class with Gen-U-Wine Power.

Matthew McMurtrey of Orlando, Fla., did well in the competition. He also captured three blues under the Hard Rock Farm banner.

Trainer Henry Johnson of Wacissa, Fla., was victorious in Tampa snagging a trio of blues. Owner/ rider duo Sharon Tondreau of Masaryktown, Fla., and Lacy’s Desert Storm captured two blues almost back to back on Saturday morning.

Winning single blues at The Florida State Championship Show were trainer Danielle Osborne of Loxahatchee, Fla., with Generator’s Code Blue and Rebecca Reynolds of Jupiter, Fla. Also with a blue was Taylor Harkness of Winter Haven, Fla., with Pride’s Dark Angel.

This concludes the coverage of the Florida Walking and Racking State Championship Horse Show. Complete results follow and can also be viewed at